Tragic Happenings

Laird Landis - Fall From Roof

11928 and 13123 Lake Shore Boulevard
Landis, Laird

Laird and Lotus purchased their Bratenahl home at 13123 Lake Shore Boulevard on January 28, 1972. Laird had done a lot of work on the house, and on Wednesday, October 1, 1980, Landis was staining shingles on the roof of his house. In the process, he slipped, fell to the ground, and died at age 79.

They had moved to 13123 from their 11928 Lake Shore Boulevard home on May 14, 1945. On December 16, 1961, at about 4:30 p.m., high winds swept through Bratenahl, blowing down a tree and knocking down power lines onto the roof of the Landis home, setting it on fire. Flames completely consumed the house.

James Harding, 97, and uncle of Lotus Landis, was sitting on the front porch when the fire broke out. Harding, who was hard of hearing, did not realize the house was burning until David Mackenzie, 13, of 12211 Coit Road ran up the driveway and helped Harding to leave.

Laird “Larry” Landis was born December 5, 1900, in Findlay, Ohio, to George Butts and Minnie Myrtle Landis. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in World War I, but was underage and was released when his mother found out. He went on to attend Oberlin College, Ohio State University, and Cleveland Law School.

Larry married Lotus “Judy” Judson. Judy was born on December 16, 1905. They had four children: Norris born on August 14, 1929, George Carothers born on August 14, 1931, Laird born on April 30, 1937, and Robin born on January 11, 1937. All four attended Bratenahl School.

Judy, a graduate of Hathaway Brown School, was a member of the Bratenahl Board of Education from 1954 to 1980, when the district discontinued after a more than a decade-long legal fight. She was president from 1966 to 1980.

Landis had worked for a Los Angeles newspaper when he started work with the Cleveland News in 1923. He was a beat man covering the police and courts, a general assignment reporter, rewrite man, feature writer, and assistant city editor.

The Cleveland News, being a Republican newspaper, loaned Landis to several Republican politicians as campaign or publicity manager. He directed Frances Bolton’s first campaign for Congress. He also worked for her husband, Chester, U. S. Supreme Court Justice Harold Burton, Mayor Edward Blythin, and congressional nominee Donald Gropp.

He was the acting city editor in 1943 when he left to become a special assistant to the president of the Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland. He retired from the bank in 1966 and continued to do freelance consulting.

Larry was a past president of the Northern Ohio Industrial Editors Association and the Cleveland chapter of the American Institute of Banking. He was a former member of Robert Morris Associates, the Cleveland Council of World Affairs, the Exchange Club ant eh City Club.

Co-workers from the News remembered him as a demon poker player, the only one of them with enough money to set up a bank account with his poker winnings during the Depression.

Lotus Landis died on January 28, 2002, and buried alongside Laird in Lake View Cemetery.