SVOBODA, FRANK J. (28 Nov. 1873-1 Mar. 1965), CZECH newspaper publisher (1899-1939) and state legislator (1943-60), was born in Bohemia, and came to the U.S. in 1884 with his parents, John and Mary (Marova) Svoboda. He left school at 14 to become a printer's helper, by 1894 opened his own printing office, and in 1899 began publishing a Czech daily newspaper, the American, especially popular among Czech Catholics. In 1908 the American absorbed the weekly Volnost (Freedom). Svoboda was sole owner until the Depression forced him to take on partners in 1932, when he became president and general manager of the American-Bohemian Publishing Co. Svoboda continued publishing the American until June 1939 when the paper was bought by the Svet (World) (see SVET-AMERICAN).
Svoboda served on the City Planning Commission 10 years and was also a leader in the local and state Townsend movement for an old-age pension (see TOWNSEND PLAN), including serving as president of the Fleet Ave. Townsend Club, resigning his positions in Feb. 1936 to run for U.S. Congress against incumbent ROBT. CROSSER in the May primary. In 1942, Democrat Svoboda won election to the Ohio house of representatives, serving 2 terms (1943-44, 1945-46); then was elected to 6 terms in the Ohio senate. When he retired in 1960, he was the oldest person to serve in the senate and had served the longest of any legislator elected from Cleveland.
Svoboda married Julia Holpuch in 1896. They had 5 children: Josephine, Elsie, Frank J., Marie, and Robert. Svoboda was buried in CALVARY CEMETERY.