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Flo Ware Park
28th & S. Jackson, Seattle WA

WHO IS FLO WARE?
From the Leschi News, December 1982 by Carl B. Heller

At Jackson Street and 29th Avenue South there is a public mini park, that now features a sign naming it "Flo Ware Park". I knew Flo Ware.

She first came to my attention in the late 1960's. Those were the years when growing discontent in the black community of Seattle reached its zenith, and was expressed in direct confrontation with traditional political and business leadership.

Flo Ware was black, and she was there to speak of justice for black people. She spoke of her cause in articulate fashion, telling it like it is, to the discomfort of many a powerful public figure. I sensed unusual personal courage and conviction, and was struck at how open and approachable she was when I fell into conversations with her.

As the years went by, we encountered the Model Cities Program. The issues were changing somewhat then, and I was acquiring a deep personal appreciation for Flo Ware a truly individualistic person. Having unusual human experience and understanding, she was not limited to a single cause in a single period. The aspect I appreciated most about her public side was her unfailing capacity to face and express herself in clear, honest form on any issue, where others feared to tread. Here lies the true measure of her community service, a real heroine during times when heroes and heroines were in short supply.

By the late 1970's I had come to know Flo Ware very well. She was a leader in persuading the Seattle City Council to acquire the old Sunrise House Nursing Home for conversion to the Central Area Senior Center. It lay abandoned at South King Street and 30th Avenue South overlooking Lake Washington in the Leschi community. She spoke of how beautiful the site was to her. I volunteered to give a professional architectural evaluation to the City Council that supported suitability of the building for a senior center. After the City Council agreed to acquire the building, she advocated that I be selected as the architect for necessary remodeling. This she did at a time when it was not policy to use white architects for public works in the large black community.

From the time I was selected as the architect, I became close friends with Flo Ware through almost daily contacts regarding formation of the Senior Center. I learned about other sides of her nature she was a truly warm and compassionate person ~ very loyal and generous to her friends. She cared about the future of children, raised innumerable foster children, and gave commencement addresses at community schools. She held weekly broadcasts on a local radio station (KRAB), talking about community issues she cared about.

Flo Ware did not care much about pretension and personal ambition exhibited by people, and when she perceived it as working against the interests of the community, she was singularly direct in confronting it. There were some who felt stung by this.

To me she was my friend and she was very clear in showing that she cared about me. I shall always cherish being among the fortunate who have known and been touched by Flo Ware. I am pleased there is a Park to remember her by.

Flo Ware departed this Earth and her community on March 17, 1981 at the age of 68. The Park was dedicated in her name on May 8, 1982.

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Quotes on Flo Ware Flo Ware Day Proclamation
"Who is Flo Ware" from Leschi News by Carl Heller "Florasina Ware" by Mary T. Henry

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Contact us:  info@FloWarePark.org

Friends of Flo Ware Park - www.FloWarePark.org
P.O. Box 22391
Seattle, WA 98122-0319

 

Last modified: April 22, 2002
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