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WARE MARILYN WARE, Ambassador (ret.) 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, 3rd 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 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. Celebrations of Ambassador Ware's life will be scheduled in the new year in Denver and in the Philadelphia area.

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Published in The Washington Post from Dec. 22 to Dec. 24, 2017.
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13 entries
May 7, 2020
Im very sorry to hear of Marilyns passing, I was the Chairman of IKON Office Solutions and served with Marilyn on our Board of Directors. She was truly a force of nature. It was an honor working with her.
Matthew Espe
December 13, 2019
Marilyn's example of service to government, to business and people......given with a spirit of joy and expecting no return.... is sadly missed.

David A. Rubino
David Rubino
April 3, 2018
Thank you for your strong support for the Finnish-American science cooperation and "making it always happen". Your work as an American Ambassador to Finland will be well preserved and commemorated. We are deeply missing your warm friendship we had a priviledge to enjoy here in Helsinki.
Timo Hellenberg
January 9, 2018
May the peace that surpasses all understanding be with the Ware family. 1Peter 5:6,7
January 8, 2018
Marilyn was a special woman and a special friend.

Please let me know when her "Celebration of Life" will be scheduled.

Thank you.

Msgr. David A. Rubino
David Rubino
January 6, 2018
2015 at the Lincoln Club of Colorado Luncheon featuring Senator Hank Brown.
Ambassador Ware was a very special lady filled with grace, beauty, poise and intelligence. I must admit that she reminded me of my mother more than any women I have ever met (save her sister Aulikki!) I will never forget her strong encouragement and support for my campaign for Adams County Commissioner back in 2012. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about her experiences as Ambassador to my mother's homeland - Finland. She made a very important movie which I have in my library called "The Surge - The Untold Story" all about President Bush's courageous and highly successful surge to win the against Islamic terrorists in Iraq. I will miss her greatly. Rest in Peace Marilyn!
Kaarl Hoopes
December 30, 2017
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow.
December 29, 2017
James A. Pollockj
Jim Pollock
December 23, 2017
A wonderful colleague on the AWW Board of Directors, a good friend of the University of Pennsylvania, and a marvelous conversationalist on some long bus roads visiting water companies around the country. Ross Webber
Ross Webbber
December 21, 2017
My deepest condolences to the family of Marilyn. She was a special person and friend. God bless her soul. Rest in peace.
Robert Buckley
December 20, 2017
A friend for many years via Franklin and Marshall College and our Republican Party affiliation, Marilyn was gracious, thoughtful, supportive and loving. One of a kind who will be sorely missed. May fond memories of times past comfort her family until they see her again, in eternity.
Kathy and Glenn Robinson
December 18, 2017
Marilyn taught me life lessons which I always held close to my heart. She said to walk tall, believe in yourself, keep learning, and she also was an example of kindness. She entrusted me with the care of her mother which I was grateful for. Sometimes she lived close to my home and other times she lived miles away, but I always thought of her as a friend. A classy friend. I dearly miss her.
Teresa Martin
December 16, 2017
As a classmate of Marilyn's at Oxford Area High School, her obituary stated: "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." That statement is so true and is how I remember Marilyn. She connected with all of her classmates. I have such fond memories of her. She was a breath of sunshine and always greeted you with a bright smile. She was a very kind and caring person. To her children, I am very sorry for your loss.
Sylvia Louise (Shepherd) West
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