The Rev. Emmitt Theophilus Caviness is shown here throughout the years with his friend the late and great giant political figure George Voinovich who died at the age of 79 on June. 12.
The Rev. Emmitt Theophilus Caviness, a former Cleveland City Councilmember and powerful Ohio civil rights activist, expressed his deepest condolences to the family of former Ohio Governor George Voinovich who died this week.
A former United States Senator and Cleveland Mayor, George Voinovich is being remembered as a champion for unity and compassion for all Ohioans. He was 79.
“My relationship with this man was an intimate kind of friendship that was second to none,” said Caviness. “I’m demoralized because of his significance to the total fabric to this nation and this society, Cleveland in particular. He was a giant of a man, compassionate, concerned and always interested in the best interest of others instead of himself. He was just a humble giving person who enjoyed the height of power and influence. For me to lose him was like losing a family member because he was just that close to me.”
Voinovich’s wife of 53 years, Janet, confirmed he died peacefully in his sleep, although the cause was not immediately known.
The Republican devoted 43 years of uninterrupted service to public office, serving as US senator for 12 years, governor for eight, and as mayor of Cleveland for 10. Proud of his frugality, Voinovich will also be remembered as a politician who ignored party labels, and instead led with compassion and conviction.
Caviness recalled having a picture in his office of a woman who started ministerial day care centers and Voinovich made sure that she started this day care center with $3 million dollars.
“That showed me that he was interested in people regardless of race creed or color. He was interested in young people, he was interested in children, trying to do the best he could to make sure this society would be better for generations to come,” added Caviness.
Caviness said that he wanted to become president of the board of education because he was interested in making sure that all children would have an opportunity to enjoy a quality education.
“You could not define George Voinovich by the big ‘R’ Republican, because I think his father was a Democrat and he had kind of a mixture party interest on both sides, but more than anything he was beyond a party. This man was more concerned about people.”