(Plain Press, February 2017) Cleveland Housing Court Judge Raymond Pianka, age 65, passed away on January 21st.
Raymond Pianka grew up in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and continued to live and be active in the community throughout his life. Pianka served as a City Council Aide to Councilman Michael Zone from 1972-73. Pianka joined neighborhood residents to help found Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization in 1974. He then served as its first Executive Director. He later went on to serve in Cleveland City Council (1985-1995) and to serve as Cleveland’s Housing Court Judge (1995 to 2017).
At Cleveland Housing Court, where Pianka served since 1995, he worked hard to preserve Cleveland’s Housing stock while shaping an experienced staff and developing programs and policies to help in that effort.
Pianka had a love for neighborhood history and preservation of historic buildings. He often told Plain Press staff members he would like to find some time to write some articles for the Plain Press about neighborhood history.
In a memorial to Ray Pianka, the Cleveland Restoration Society noted his love for historic buildings. They noted his leading a campaign in 1978 to save the Gordon Square Arcade from demolition when part of the building fell onto W. 65th Street. Today the building is an anchor for the neighborhood.
The Cleveland Restoration Society also commended Pianka for his support of Cleveland Restoration Society’s efforts to preserve historic buildings saying: “Judge Pianka believed that extraordinary efforts were justified for certain landmarks even if they did not meet the ‘rational’ test for economic viability. He believed in his heart that, in some instances, the measure of historic significance was simply more important.”