There are six branches to supplement the work of the parent organization in the Forest City and its environs. The Lakewood branch, presided over by Miss Hirsching, is on Detroit Avenue, near Fry. It was established three years ago, [1912]taking over the charity work of the City of Lakewood. It has found a great field of usefulness and a large work needing careful and conscientious attention.





This article represents first public disclosure of a fourteen year old trust fund for use in covering expenses of Lakewood Hospital patients or other afflicted Lakewood residents who may lack financial resources to pay for costly medicines and special nursing and similar services not generally available to the financially handicapped, but which may speed recovery, make recovery more complete or even represent the difference between life and death. Known as the Cotabish Charitable Fund, the grant came into being in 1944 as an element in the trust set by Mrs. Vida (Cotabish) Logan, two years after death in July 17, 1942 of her father, Nelson C. Cotabish, who, for almost a half century, had a foremost part in fashioning the principles and policies which came into being as Lakewood's destiny became apparent and have continued, the community's code ever since.

Within recent months the Cotabish Charitable Fund, with government approval, was made an independent financial entity with the Cleveland Trust Co. as depository. With the fund now a permanent, irrevocable trust empowered to receive as well as disperse donation, there are indications that it may well become nucleus of an endowment to aid in realization and maintenance of a Lakewood Hospital addition or other public or private facilities for housing older people who require some degree of nursing and medical care. Lakewood has by far the largest percentage of older citizens of any comparable community in Ohio and there are indications that it will pioneer in a comprehensive Golden Age program which will include provision for chronic illness within the foreseeable future.


Although there is no indication of intention to publicize financial and operating statements beyond circle of those directly interested, it is known that the Cotabish Fund has substantial resources which have been augmented since its founding beyond the considerable disbursements both through accretion of investment and through repayment or partial repayments of expenditures of beneficiaries. Despite lack of publicity there have also been limited contributions from outside sources. Of particular interest to those concerned with the welfare of Lakewood's aging citizens is the Cotabish Fund's lack of red tape or limiting restrictions. Under terms of the Trust, complete discretion as to disbursements is, and will remain in three front rank Lakewood doctors with a representative of Mrs. Logan as business manager. Characteristic of the Fund, which will be extended through the indefinite future, is complete absence of publicity regarding its undertaking and accomplishments. There was no disposition to reveal names of Lakewood doctors in charge of disbursements when material for this article was secured nor did specific instances of benefits go beyond descriptions of anonymous individuals who were provided with expensive drugs or around - the - clock nursing care after serious surgery.

Mrs. Logan who is a member of the Lakewood Hospital Foundation, told the Post that her sole interest so far as the fund is concerned, is making immediately available resources to alleviate distress in Lakewood either on an independent, basis or in conjunction with any appropriate private or public agencies which might come into being. "My father and mother lived in Lakewood from earliest adulthood and loved Lakewood," Mrs. Logan said. "My dad was deeply interested in Lakewood Hospital and in spite of poor health during the last years of his life, he accepted appointment as a trustee of Lakewood Hospital and held that position when he died. I could think of no more appropriate memorial to my father and mother, who was deeply interested in all that interested him, than creating a fund which, would be made immediately available to Lakewood people without red tape or publicity.


Although Nelson Cotabish named no streets to commemorate himself nor sponsored institution or monument bearing his name, he was Lakewood's one founding father intimately associated both with progress of the National Carbon Co., actual factor which precipitated establishing of the community just as it later became cornerstone of Union Carbide, and the group of fortunate farmers and the real estate developers popularly credited with dreaming up this City of Homes. That the Charitable Fund, with its capacity for immediate service and its possibilities in conjunction with ultimate solving of Lakewood 's old age problem would have full approval of Mr. Cotabish is attested by his lifelong devotion to the useful; during his last years, Mr. Cotabish's abiding interest was the outsize tomatoes and towering corn he cultivated in a half-acre miniature farm immediately adjoining the much modified field stone Dutch Colonial Cotabish homestead at Cohasset and Detroit. The house, a landmark built to last for generations, was offered to Lakewood for use as a youth center by Mrs. Logan shortly after the death of mother, her father having died several years before. When officials were unable to vision need for a youth center in Lakewood but did offer to accept the home for use as a branch library, negotiations ended or, rather, didn't begin.


From the practical standpoint, Mr. Cotabish and Lakewood grew up together. Of Bohemian stock, death of Mr. Cotabish's father, when Nelson was 19, made wages the man earned as an iron worker a chief source of income for the family which included two other sons and five daughters. Mr. Cotabish was born in Cleveland on Nov. 5th 1867. He worked as a laborer in the now merged Otis Steel Co. and, in the Tyler Wire Works in the period 1881-52. His first white collar job was a stenographer for the still remembered Variety Iron Works in 1885 and, in 1886 he returned to Otis Steel in this same capacity. Although, Mr.

Cotabish's formal education ended with eighth grade in the Cleveland Public Schools, he began young in life, to shoulder executive responsibilities. The first affiliation with the industry around which he was to build his career started as chief clerk of the Standard Carbon Co. ,forerunner of the National Carbon Co. of which he was made sales manager in 1890, and later became a member of the directorate serving in this dual capacity through the decades which preceded the merger, in about 1915, which made National Carbon a basic element in world-wide and world famed Union Carbide.


Actually interests of National Carbon were responsible for Mr. Cotabish's interest in Lakewood. Back in the early '90's National Carbon was pioneering with a branch plant a mile or so beyond end of trolley rails on the edge of what was then known as Rockport. A fire on the East Side suddenly accelerated development of the National Carbon installation which still stands at Madison and W 117th.

Meanwhile, on March 6, 1890 when Nelson Cotabish was 23, he married Ellen McBride Cotabish who, for some long forgotten reason, was always known as Mrs. Nellie Cotabish. With wife and infant daughter, Mr. Cotabish dared the rigors which establishing a home near his place of employment represented in April, 1963[sic].

First Cotabish Lakewood residence, which Mr. Cotabish had to discover during his lunch hours, was a shingled cottage still standing on Cove, just north of Detroit. From his first days in Lakewood, Mr. Cotabish found pleasure and exercise in his bicycle rides between his home and National Carbon, something of an athletic feat when inclement weather made the byways of that day rougher going than usual. But Mr. Cotabish received more than pleasure or exercise as he propelled his bicycle hither and yon in a personal survey of the emerging hamlet. First, byproduct of Mr. Cotabish's exploration which, through the years, was to pay frequent and handsome dividends, was discovery of a new dwelling for his family on Grace Avenue, north of Franklin in a new allotment developed by the pioneering Nicholson family. On the basis of his hard gained, intimate knowledge of every corner of the community Mr. Cotabish became an important Lakewood developer in his own right and, in later life, greatly expanded his real estate interests beyond Lakewood limits.


And, from his early years here, Mr. Cotabish devoted unstinted effort to community progress. He was elected to Council in 1906 and was elected mayor in 1910-11 when Lakewood attained city status thus, in reality, qualifying as the town's first chief executive despite maze of technical argument. Later he served a number of years as Director of Public Works and was Director ex-officio for two decades. He headed or actively participated in dozens civic movements and causes but, as was said in the story which appeared in The Post at the time of Mr. Cotabish's death in 1942: " His years of active interest in civic affairs were important in themselves ...but, vastly more importantly, they served as a basis for formulating the pattern which was to make Lakewood outstanding among cities of its type."

The notable fact regarding life of Mr. Cotabish was his ability to shoulder the overload of civic burdens through the years and, at the same time fashion a highly successful career at fast rising National Carbon. His affiliation with the forerunner of world prominent Union Carbide began in 1890; ended with his retirement in Jan. 1920. A reminder of his National Carbon career is Cohasset Avenue, named for a Boston suburb he encountered and liked while on business trips. Similarly a Cohasset prototype suggested architecture and materials incorporated in the Cotabish homestead.

Both Mr. Cotabish and Mrs. Cotabish, who died in 1944, remained modest, approachable, interested Lakewood residents to the ends of their lives. With the exception of trips to a Canadian fishing lodge now and again, Mr. Cotabish found a full measure of enjoyment in his home and its adjoining 'suburban farm". Freedom to wear a venerable and venerated felt hat and to skip shaving when he felt in the mood, were chief relaxation of his later years. And Mrs. Cotabish found the same degree of satisfaction in sharing these modest, domestic pleasures.


LAKEWOOD PRESS 3-7-1918, pg. 36

The work of the Lakewood Branch of the Cleveland Associated Charities was begun in 1912, with the formation of a local committee and the appointment of Miss Lula Hirsching, of 7904 Franklin Avenue, as secretary, working from the Associated Charities west side office at Franklin Avenue, and West 25th Street.

In January, 1914, offices were opened on Detroit Avenue near W. 117th Street. As the work grew other workman were added to the staff and a year ago the office was moved to its present quarters at 11737 Detroit Avenue. Miss Ada E. Anderson and Miss Anna B. Beattie are assisting in the furnishing in her work for the 119 families now under the care of the Associated Charities , Lakewood Office.

"In all seasons, families, because of the sickness, accident, desertion, old age or death of the bread winner, must look the Associated Charities for every kind of human helpfulness as well as for the very means of life itself. Of course at present, there is no lack of employment for the able-bodied, but except at times a great and industrial depression the able-bodied never constitute a large portion of those we serve, " says Miss Hirsching.

"Material relief is but one part of the plan for helping families back to independence. The most vital need may be medical assistance, locating a deserting husband, and seeing that he does his duty, suitable employment which has opportunities for advancement, temporary or permanent institutional care,

re-adjustments within the home, constant supervision, encouragement and inspiration . Different things are done for and with different people by cooperating with them to achieve at the same time their own and the nations betterment. The coming of war has but intensified the need for this service. The conservation of life, health and human energy is of paramount importance. Our task is to strengthen the second line of defense -- normal living, sturdy childhood, sound health and morals."