CLEVELAND, Ohio — Richard Fleischman, a leading Cleveland architect who advocated a lean, glassy modernism, and who helped reshape design sensibilities in Northeast Ohio in the postwar era, died Saturday at age 91.
Fleischman died at the Village of St. Edward in Fairlawn after having suffered a recent stroke, his daughter, Kim Fleischman, said.
His family described Fleischman as “a man who was larger than life,” and who “left an indelible mark on Cleveland, the region, and every person he met.”
Fleischman led his own architectural firm for 57 years. He started the firm of Conrad and Fleischman in 1961 in partnership with Bill Conrad, the family said.
During his career, Fleischman earned 280 awards, including the Cleveland Arts Prize, the family said. He also created proposals for many unrealized projects, including a dense urban development around North Coast Harbor on the downtown Cleveland lakefront.
His completed projects include the Goodyear Polymer Science Building at the University of Akron, the Ohio Aerospace Institute at the NASA Glenn Research Center, the Breezy Bluff community of eight custom-designed homes in Bratenahl, and St. Paschal Baylon Church in Highland Heights.
His family said Fleischman credited his success to an uncle “who encouraged him to study architecture at a young age, the Ursuline Sisters of Holy Trinity School who taught him to think, and his teachers at East Tech High School who enabled him to earn a prestigious college scholarship.”
Fleischman earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University), in Pittsburgh, and a master’s degree in architecture at Columbia University.
He developed a philosophy of architecture as “the beauty of emptiness,” the family said, developing a “signature style is characterized by clean geometric lines, vast expanses of glass, and light-filled open spaces.”
Fleischman served on the boards of the Cleveland State University Foundation, Ohio Ballet, and Carnegie Mellon Distinguished Alumni, the family said. He also served for two decades on the Cleveland Fine Arts Committee, the predecessor to the city’s current design review committees.
Fleischman is survived by three daughters — Gayle Montalto of Cuyahoga Falls, Kimberly Fleischman (Paul Herold) of Akron, and Ann Fleischman Doles (Mark) of Lovettsville, Va., and four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his former wife and mother of their children Marlene Fleischman Porath (nee DeMore), and his wife of 26 years Helen F. Moss (nee Smith).
Calling hours will be Friday, June 26, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at St. Paschal Baylon Church, 5384 Wilson Mills Road, Highland Heights. Funeral Mass at St. Paschal will be Saturday, June 27, at 1 p.m. with viewing starting at noon. The interment will be private.
Flowers may be sent care of Ripepi Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture or the Cleveland Museum of Art. An online memorial is at www.ripepi.com/gallery/richard-fleischman.