La Vern Ware Gee made beautiful flowers grow to improve her neighborhood and made beautiful clothes to make people feel beautiful.
On July 1,Ware Gee passed at the age of 77, after a long battle with renal failure.
“My mother impacted many lives by instilling in them to believe in they we could do. She believed no goal was unreachable, if you had faith. Her determined attitude inspired neighborhood residents to take control of their neighborhood, by starting and heading the 2700 N. 7th Street block club for several years. She fought to bring attention to the ill conditions of the city’s North side inner city neighborhoods, which prompted local and state officials to take action,” her son Gregory (Toby) Ware said.
He added, “She was a lover of the earth, with a true passion for landscaping and gardening, she had earned the name…”the green thumb lady” on the block for her gorgeous and most attractive yard which features an ever blooming of plants and flowers for the seasons.”
This passion, earned her the Milwaukee’s Yard Beautification award presented by former Milwaukee Mayor John Norquist during the mid1990’s.
James Baxter, 59, lived next door to Ware Gee for 55 years. He said, “She kept an eye on things on the block since I was a child.” Neighbor and close friend since 1968, Hattie Polk, said, “I am going to miss meeting her at 6:00 a.m. to plant flowers and sharing coffee and breakfast. She cooked every Christmas for both of or families and I cooked every New Year’s Eve.” She also stated, “We played cards together, went on two-week shopping vacations for 15 years and worked at keeping our block quiet and safe.”
Ware Gee also left her footprints as one of the city’s best seamstress. For over 30 years she was the Master Seamstress for J H Collectables, Inc. (former Junior House). She was known for making special moments more special in a customer’s, family member’s, or friend’s life by providing one her fine designer creations. Pat Hilliard said that Ware Gee designed her stand-out prom dress and wedding dress.
Her son Gregory shared, “She had a warm spirit, with a down to earth, tell-it-like-it-tis attitude. Most folks, even staff at the nursing homes, and hospitals during her last challenging days, would be drawn to her, even after just meeting her for 5 minutes. Ware Gee spent her days at the Ballard Rehab Center in Desplains, Ill. She continued to share her homespun humor. She told her nephew the day before she died, who she thought looked handsome, “You cleaner than Clorox.”
Ware Gee was member of Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church for 59 years, long-time Girl Scout leader and bowling champion. Her son Gregory said, “To me, my mother was and still is, one of the greatest women I have ever known. She influenced me in so many ways I could never count them enough. As a single, divorced mother she taught me what being a Man is really all about. She molded me, guided me, and used God’s wisdom and teachings to elevate me, and all her children.”
Besides her son Gregory, Ware-Gee is survived by daughter Danita Ware; sons DeWayne Ware and John Gee Jr.; and three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
A Celebratory Memorial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, July 25 at Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church, 2432 N. Teutonia Ave., Milwaukee.