Saturday, June 29, 2024

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave unexpectedly dies Friday morning

From The Journal

Ryan Patterson

RACINE — Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave died unexpectedly Friday morning.

Delagrave was first elected county executive in 2015.

County Executive Jonathan Delagrave


County Board Chairman Tom Kramer will assume the duties and responsibilities of county executive until the position is filled, according to a Racine County statement.

In the statement, Racine County expressed “deepest sorrow and profound compassion” at the death of the “beloved” Delagrave.

“This tragic loss has left our community in a state of great sadness, as we mourn the untimely departure of a remarkable leader, devoted public servant and cherished friend,” the statement reads. “Jonathan’s unwavering commitment to improving the lives of all those within our county was truly inspirational, and his compassionate approach to governance touched the hearts of countless individuals. In this difficult time, our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with Jonathan’s family, friends, colleagues, and the entire community.”

The county statement asked for privacy for Delagrave’s family members “as they navigate through this tremendous loss.”

Delagrave was born and raised in Racine County and lived in the area his entire life. He began working for Racine County in 2003.

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave hands out flags during Racine's 2023 Memorial Day Parade. Delagrave died unexpectedly Friday morning.

In a statement, Racine Mayor Cory Mason said he has known Delagrave since they were 14 years old and Case High School classmates.

“As mayor, it has been an honor to serve alongside him in his role as county executive,” Mason wrote. “Jonathan was an amazing leader for Racine County. We are all at a loss from his passing. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.”

In a statement, Assembly Minority Leader Greta Neubauer, D-Racine, said she was “devastated” by Delagrave’s death.

“I am heartbroken for his family, friends, loved ones, and especially his two children,” Neubauer wrote. “Throughout his service to our community, he has been an incredible leader and champion for Racine County and its residents. I was lucky to have a personal friendship with Jonathan and to be able to collaborate over the years — I will deeply miss him. His impact will be felt around Racine County for years to come. We will all remember him as a community leader, public servant and friend.”

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave delivers his 2023 State of the County address. Delagrave, who was born and raised in Racine County and lived in the area his whole life, died unexpectedly Friday morning.

State Sen. Van Wanggaard, R-Racine, wrote on Twitter that Delagrave was like a little brother and had “a great, positive spirit.”

“It was never ‘can’t do’ with Jonathan, it was always ‘how can we do,’” Wanggaard wrote. “The emphasis was on the ‘we.’ I will miss you, my friend.”

Ritu Raju, Gateway Technical College president and CEO, said in a statement that the college community “is deeply shocked and saddened” by Delagrave’s passing.

“He worked closely to collaborate with Gateway on many different programs and was a champion for education,” Raju wrote. “I personally appreciate his work with myself and the college, and he will be deeply missed by all.”

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave speaks in support of wetland restoration at the project's launch in August 2023 at Cliffside Park. 

Delagrave, who died unexpectedly Friday morning, was first elected county executive in 2015.

State Rep. Robert Wittke, R-Racine, said in a statement that he was “deeply saddened” by the death of Delagrave.

“Jonathan was an honorable man who served the residents of Racine County very well for nearly a decade,” Wittke wrote. “I appreciated his governing style and certainly each and every discussion we shared about the needs of Racine County and its residents. He will be missed. My deepest condolences to his family during this time.”

David DeGroot, Mount Pleasant Village Board president, said in a statement that Delagrave’s “visionary leadership” will be missed.

“Jonathan was not only a trusted advisor, collaborator, partner, and friend of the Village, but was personal friends with many of us as well,” DeGroot wrote.


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