(WXYZ) — Wayne County Commissioner Jewel Ware, a Democrat from Detroit, has died of an apparent heart attack. She was the current Commission's Vice-Chair Pro Tempore.
Ware represented District 2, which included the Downtown, New Center, and areas near Belle Isle.
She was a former Chair of the Wayne County Commissioner, having first been elected to the body in 1994.
A certified social worker, Ware held bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Detroit.
Commission Chair Alisha Bell issued the following statement on Ware's death:
The Wayne County Commission family is devastated by the sudden passing of Jewel Ware this morning. Commissioner Ware was a trusted member of the commission family and her experience in county government and knowledge of county issues were immeasurable.
Members often referred to her as the dean of the commission and I was proud to nominate her as commission chair pro-tem during her most recent term, her 13th since being elected to the Commission in 1994. She was always a proud advocate for issues involving her beloved seniors and also was a strong supporter of programs aiding young people in the community.
Residents of the Commission’s 2nd District have lost a true champion and our heartfelt condolences go out to her loving family.
Wayne County Executive Warren Evans released the following statement on Ware's death:
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.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan issued the following statement on Ware's death:
Our city mourns the loss of one of Detroit and Wayne County's greatest champions and public servant's Jewel Ware, who passed away unexpectedly today. Jewel was my friend and colleague for 30 years, going back to her first time as Wayne County Commissioner and eventually Commission Chair. Throughout her career, she was a tireless advocate for the seniors in our community and always committed to good government. I've never seen a public official so deeply connected to her constituents and the community she served so well.
I have lost a dear friend and a trusted advisor. Please keep Jewel’s friends and family in your prayers