Southfield Councilperson Joan Seymour Dies
(Compiled, Aug. 30,2017)
Southfield, MI- Southfield Councilperson Joan Seymour passed away according to State Representative Jeremy Moss, who posted on Facebook “As an activist in Southfield, she was instrumental in ensuring that our wetlands and nature preserves remained a focal point in the city. Her passion for environmental preservation during Southfield’s economic expansion led her to run for a seat on the City Council in 1993.
“When I was elected to the council in 2011, Joan had a prominent role in city government as Council President, and I served with her during the entirety of my term.
“At first, Joan and I had a tough time bridging our generational divide – I think being the youngest-ever and newest Councilman in a decade ruffled a few of the Council President’s feathers as she knew quite well the inner-workings of city hall. But whether we agreed or disagreed, I never questioned her desire to keep Southfield a safe community with quality neighborhoods.
“After serving with her for three years, Joan ended up being a strong supporter of my bid for State Representative in 2014 and we had a great relationship working together to benefit Southfield over the last several years. She was an especially helpful partner last year with her vocal opposition to the oil drilling at Nine Mile and Evergreen Road.
“She was due to retire from City Council at the end of this year before passing away. Her tenured service to the city deserves recognition and appreciation from every Southfielder. May she rest in peace.”
According to her biography on the City’s website:
“Councilwoman Joan Seymour is a long time Southfield resident, having moved here from Detroit in 1973. First elected to City Council in 1993. She has been Chair of the Council Finance Committee four times, Chair of the Legislative & Urban Affairs Committee, and twice chaired the Boards & Commissions Committee. She has also been a member of the Southfield Housing Authority. She has been elected City Council President two times and City Council President Pro Tem five times.
“With a background that includes over thirty years in corporate management, Councilwoman Seymour has always devoted significant time and energy to various causes that benefit youth, women’s issues, the environment and the arts. Her volunteer activities began when a teenager, and she has been active in many organizations, including as a Board Member of the Environmental Protection Council of Oakland County, as Chair of the Southfield Wetlands & Woodlands Preservation Council; Detroit and National Audubon Societies; National Wildlife Federation; Board Member of International Art Center/Institute; Michigan Wetlands Coalition; National Organization for Women as co-chair of the Detroit area employment committee; and as Vice President of Working Opportunities for Women.
“Long interested in environmental issues, she has been active in several natural areas preservation efforts in Southfield and, as a private citizen, led the successful effort to preserve a large wooded wetland in the path of the I-696 Expressway. Following that, she helped to form the Southfield Wetlands/Woodlands Preservation Council and, as its President, led the community-wide successful effort to enact both the Wetlands Protection Ordinance and the Woodlands Protection Ordinance. She has been active in gaining protection for several of Southfield’s special natural areas, including Lincoln Woods Nature Preserve, Horsetail Woods Nature Preserve and Carpenter Lake Nature Preserve, among others.
“Councilwoman Seymour is dedicated to keeping Southfield a vibrant, beautiful, and successful city and has always been an advocate for the neighborhoods, which she deems “the core strength of our community.” She is proud to call Southfield home and says the natural beauty of Southfield was a great selling point for her, but the vitality of the community is in its people and that Southfield’s residents are “the best.”
Former Council President Sylvia Jordan, on Facebook, said “My dear friend and former colleague Joan Seymour has passed away. We served as colleagues on the city council in Southfield for over 17 years, and 3 of which I was President and she was Pro-Tem. She was currently serving on city council. She was a fighter, and defender of the causes that were important to her. She was a true friend. She visited the church just a few weeks ago and my husband prayed for her. Rest in heaven Joan. You deserve it.”
This story will be updated with more information as it becomes available.
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