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