Former UH Mayor Beryl Rothschild dies at 88
Beryl E. Rothschild (née Shapiro), who served as mayor of University Heights from 1978 to 2009, died on Friday, Nov. 25.
According to University Heights Mayor Susan Infeld, Rothschild “had not been in good health of late and was recently in hospice.” The former mayor’s husband, Edmund Rothschild, pre-deceased her in 2015.
Funeral services were held on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 10 a.m., at the Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz Memorial Chapel, 1985 S. Taylor Road in Cleveland Heights. Following the funeral, mourners processed through University Heights, en route to Mayfield Cemetery, where Rothschild was interred.
The family will receive friends at Geraci’s (2266 Warrensville Center Road, University Heights) immediately following the service, and then at O’Rielly’s Pub (13149 Cedar Road, University Heights) later that evening, 7–9 p.m. More information on the funeral procession route, and additional calling times and locations, can be found on the Berkowitz-Kumin-Bookatz website.
Mayor Rothschild served 42 years as an elected official for the City of University Heights. She was mayor for 32 years, and a member of city council for 10 years.
In a Nov. 28 letter, Mayor Infeld noted that Rothschild was “one of the first women mayors elected in the State of Ohio and was also one of the longest-serving mayors in the State.”
“She served on numerous boards and commissions regionally and statewide and was very well-respected among her peers,” Infeld wrote of her predecessor. “Her civic legacy was far-reaching and prolific. Her interest and care for University Heights was evident in her work as a 42-year elected official. . . . We have all benefited from her wisdom and years of service.”
According to Cleveland Jewish News, Rothschild was a 1947 graduate of Cleveland Heights High School. She moved to University Heights in 1951.
In a salute to Rothschild’s longtime service to the city, University Heights officials paid tribute to her at an October 2009 Civic Awards Program and Retirement Gala, naming her the city’s 2009 Citizen of the Year.
In a November 2009 Heights Observer article, Rothschild looked back on her years of public service to University Heights, and pointed to the development of Purvis Park and its pool, the City Beautiful Commission, and the city’s EMT program as highlights of her tenure as mayor. She expressed particular pride in the city’s diversity program, which lasted 10 years, and helped members of the city’s diverse cultures (by her count, 39 of them, speaking 11 languages) understand one another and work together.
In a 2008 letter, Rothschild praised the founding of the Heights Observer as a citizen-led news project. "We support your initiative in concept and extend our support to the extent possible,” wrote Rothschild. “We trust the project will provide incentive for the residents of our two cities, Cleveland Heights and University Heights, to fulfill your objectives of preserving, enhancing, and building community. We wish you much success."
Condolences can be sent to Mayor Rothschild's family: Brian and Margaret Slesnik, 4463 High Ridge Trail, Akron, Ohio, 44333.
Andrea C. Turner and Kim Sergio Inglis
Andrea C. Turner is the Heights Observer's managing editor. Kim Sergio Inglis is its editor-in-chief.