VAN AKEN, WILLIAM J. (29 Oct. 1884-28 Dec. 1950), prominent real-estate magnate and mayor of SHAKER HTS. (1915-30, 1931-50), was born in E. Cleveland Twp. to John and Mary Dier Van Aken. He graduated from CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL in 1903, and immediately became an office boy for Natl. Malleable Castings Co, later rising to the position of accountant. In 1916 he entered the real-estate profession, joining the firm of Green, Cadwallader, & Long. Within the year, he left that firm and became an independent broker. In 1915, Van Aken, a Republican, became mayor of what was then the village of Shaker Hts. where he had previously served as trustee (1911) and councilman (1912). When the village became a chartered city in 1930, Van Aken became the first mayor of the city in the 1931, serving in that position until his death. Van Aken was active in many community organizations, including the Cleveland Chamber of Commerce and Knights of Columbus. He was also the director of the Cooperative Investment Co. Van Aken married Florence Swallow in 1911. The couple had 6 children: William R., Florence M., Marion L., Jean M., Margaret L. and Ruth.

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