Tributes pour in for longtime Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware after her death

Jewel Ware was elected to the commission in 1994

Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware dies from heart attack

WAYNE COUNTY, Mich. – Tributes are pouring in following the death of Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware.

Ware was first elected to the commission in 1994. She died from a heart attack Tuesday morning at the age of 66.

“Jewel Ware exemplified a true public servant. She had a heart for public service and dedicated most of her adult life to either being an elected official or working with elected officials to better the lives of people in Detroit and Wayne County. Her leadership as Chairperson and Vice Chair Pro Tempore of the Wayne County Commission ensured the body was fiscally responsible while ensuring economic empowerment for their constituents. She was soft spoken but also a strong voice for people who are often unable to advocate for themselves. This was demonstrated by her passion for working with seniors and children. The Wayne County community has a lost a jewel whose presence will be missed for years to come,” said Stacie Clayton, Chair of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission.

Myself, as well as my colleagues, we are absolutely devastated by the sudden loss of our dear friend colleague Jewel Ware

Wayne County Commission Chair Alisha Bell

Wayne County Commission Chair Alisha Bell said Ware was more than a politician, but a champion for the people.

Ware served 25 years on the commission. She represented the 2nd Commission District, including Downtown Detroit. In the past year, Commissioner Ware sponsored a resolution calling for a ban on chokeholds and restraint by police.

READ: Wayne County commissioner calls for ban on chokeholds, additional police training

Her mentee, Toson Knight, said he just spoke with Ware two days ago. He said she was a people person.

“What stood out to me most was her care for senior citizens, like no matter when they called, no matter what no matter what happened she would always be there for them. They respected and loved her for that,” Knight said.

Tributes from all over poured in showing respect for Ware.

I am extremely saddened by the news of Commissioner Ware’s untimely passing. During her career, Ware dedicated herself to public service. In addition to the Wayne County Commission, where she served for a time as chair, she was on numerous civic and nonprofit boards. Her tireless work in the community for seniors, health care and children greatly improved the quality of life for Wayne County residents,” said Rep. Lawrence. My thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends and staff during this difficult time. As a dear friend and colleague, I know she will truly be missed by all.

Michigan Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence (MI-14)

I was saddened to hear of the passing of my friend and colleague, Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware, who died this morning unexpectedly from a heart attack. Jewel was a friend of mine for the better part of 30 years, and we worked together in several different capacities.

Over that period of time, I got to know her as a fiercely dedicated and no-nonsense public servant who always represented her constituents – especially her beloved seniors - to the best of her ability.

Jewel Ware was first elected to the Wayne County Commission in 1994 and served as Commission Chair from 2003 through 2008. Most recently she served as the Commission’s Vice Chair Pro Tem. She represented the second district, which included much of the East Side of Detroit and downtown, including the East Riverfront neighborhoods.

The issues she championed the most were issues important to seniors and children, including improved access to affordable health care and the development of recreational and park space along Detroit’s East Riverfront.

Commissioner Ware was a member of boards and commissions for numerous civic organizations, including: National Black Caucus on Aging Coalition of Labor Union; Mack Alive · Pittman Memorial Housing Development; Helping Our Prisoners Elevate (HOPE); Michigan Universal Health Care Access Network; Warren-Conner Development Coalition; Elks, Nettie Carter Jackson Temple, #1179; the NAACP; and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

My heart goes out to the friends and family of Commissioner Ware, as well as members of her staff and others who have worked with her and share this tremendous loss to our community. Her strength, experience and common sense will be sorely missed.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans

Commissioner Ware was a champion for the people of Wayne County. She worked tirelessly on behalf of the county’s most vulnerable citizens and was well known for her commitment to senior citizens, the underinsured and uninsured, and former prisoners. She was relentless in advocating for services that eased the lives of everyone in Wayne County. From her annual events like the Mitten and Socks Winter Drive for Children and her Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social & Legislative Briefing to her fight for ensuring that mandated services like public safety and criminal justice remain funded during tough economic times, Commissioner Ware never stopped working on behalf of her constituents. Her non-stop commitment to the county was unmatched. Our thoughts are with her friends and family and all of her seniors in Wayne County considered her family. May the legacy of her work on behalf of the people of Wayne County bring them peace. She will be greatly missed.

Michigan Democratic Party

It is with a heavy heart that I express great sadness over the passing of Commissioner Jewel Ware. It’s not often you meet someone as dedicated to serving the community as Commissioner Ware. She was more than a fellow elected official; she was a great friend. Commissioner Ware made it her priority to serve those who were often forgotten, ensuring everyone’s voice was heard. She represented the senior community in her district with great honor and expressed true love for them. She considered them members of her family. Her purpose was to serve, and her reach was vast. We can keep her memory alive by serving our community with the passion she so consistently displayed. My wife Badriyyah and I offer our thoughts and prayers to her family, loved ones, and her entire district.

Wayne County Treasurer Eric Sabree

About the Author:

Larry Spruill Jr. joined the Local 4 News team in January 2018. Prior, he worked at WJAX in Jacksonville, Florida. Larry grew up as a military kid because his father is a retired Chief of the United States Air Force.