Ambassador Marilyn Ware, 2017


Marilyn Ware, 74, passed away on December 14, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. She was surrounded by the love of her family in the last days of her life. Born in Philadelphia, she was the daughter of the late Marian Snyder Ware of Lansdowne, PA and the late Honorable John H. Ware III of Oxford, PA. She served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Finland from 2005 to 2008. Ambassador Ware maintained a home in Denver, Colorado and Strasburg, Pennsylvania. A voracious reader and skilled writer, Ambassador Ware was a freelance journalist, public relations consultant, and small newspaper owner early in her career. Always interested in politics, she began her long and successful political career as a county chairperson in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where she helped win twelve of the thirteen county offices in her first year. Ever the trailblazer, she was the only woman in America at the time to have led two gubernatorial races in one of the five largest states when she served as Chair to Tom Ridge’s successful gubernatorial campaigns. Between 1988-2003, Ambassador Ware served as Chair of the Board of American Water Works Company, a New York Stock Exchange company and the largest investor-owned water company in the United States. During this period, she led the company in devising and implementing a highly successful growth and consolidation strategy, prior to its sale in January 2003. Throughout her career, she served on the boards of CIGNA, IKON Office Solutions and PPL Corporation, all Fortune 500 companies. Ambassador Ware’s business acumen dovetailed with her patriotic dedication. She was recognized as a leader in advancing security within both the national and international water sectors. In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed her to serve on the National Critical Infrastructure Advisory Council, a position that she held until her appointment as U.S. Ambassador. As a diplomat, Ambassador Ware found an immediate connection with the Finns and admired their strength and fortitude. In addition to her foreign relations responsibilities, she immersed herself in learning about the people of Finland; taking a particular interest in the Lotta Svärd, the womens’ auxiliary corps of the Finnish war effort of WWII, and uncovering the connection between the Finns and John Morton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence of Finnish descent, who, coincidentally, represented the same area in Chester County, PA that Ambassador Ware’s father would represent in Congress over 200 years later. In addition to business and political accomplishments, Ambassador Ware was well known for her vast philanthropic interests including: Alzheimer’s research, medical ethics, American history, assistance for abused women and children, farmland preservation, early childhood education, the free enterprise system, the fundamentals of democracy, domestic and international security, water supply issues, and substance use recovery. Never one to sit on the sidelines, Ambassador Ware sparked numerous initiatives. She was the founding member and Honorary President of WaterAid America; a founder of Janus School, a private day school for children with learning disabilities; and co-founder of Lancaster Farmland Trust in PA, the most successful farmland preservation trust in the nation. In 2008, she produced the award-winning documentary The Surge: the Untold Story which portrays the successful historic impacts of the troop surge in Iraq, as told by top U.S. and Iraqi military commanders and Iraqi citizens. A longtime trustee of the American Enterprise Institute, in 2012 she established the Marilyn Ware Center of Security Studies which supports and advances America’s historic role as a beacon of freedom and a leader in security and defense worldwide. Ambassador Ware also contributed her service to various nonprofit boards and committees as a way of giving back to her community and country: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Medicine Trustee Board in Philadelphia, the Eisenhower Fellowships in Philadelphia, the Pew Oceans Commission, the National Council of the Conservation Fund, the International Democrat Union, and the Human Freedom Advisory Council of the George W. Bush Institute, just to name a few. Ambassador Ware was a thoughtful neighbor in her quiet country home in Strasburg, PA. She supported many local organizations including the Clinic for Special Children that focuses on the medical care of Plain Sect Amish children with hereditary diseases. She carried on her mother’s long-time support for Canine Partners for Life, a nearby non-profit that trains service dogs to enhance personal independence for people with physical, developmental and cognitive disabilities. She also championed a very special non-profit, near and dear to her heart. The Phoenix, founded by her son Scott Strode, supports individuals with substance use disorders to find long-term recovery through an active community. She truly believed people can rise from the ashes of addiction, so she earnestly cheered on every Phoenix member in recovery. Ambassador Ware’s personal interests were wide and varied. She loved the opera, theater, travel and books. Most of all, she loved people. Her extraordinary ability to connect with people from all walks of life and from every corner of the globe was one of her greatest gifts. To know her was to have an enthusiastic, unwavering friend in your corner. Throughout her distinguished business, political, and philanthropic life, Ambassador Ware was the recipient of numerous awards for leadership and service, but her proudest achievement was the loving bond she shared with her three children and four granddaughters. To many she was known as ‘the Ambassador.’ To her family she was simply ‘Mimi.’ She is survived by her children: Mark Strode of Napa, CA, married to Lisa Strode; Amyla Lavric of Chapel Hill, NC; and Scott Strode of Denver, CO; four grand-daughters Isabella, Matea, Julia and Vivian; her brother Paul Ware; and sister Carol Ware. In lieu of flowers, contributions to support Alzheimer’s Research at Penn Medicine may be made to the Marilyn Ware Memorial Fund. To make a credit card gift online, please visit You may also send a check, payable to ‘Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania’ to: Penn Medicine Development, Suite 750, 3535 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104. On the memo line, please indicate that the gift is made in memory of Ambassador Marilyn Ware. Services: Celebrations of Ambassador Ware’s life will be scheduled in the new year in Denver and in the Philadelphia area.


Source:  Denver Post, The (CO) – Monday, December 18, 2017

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