By Paul Rozycki
There have been many official obituaries, tributes, and memorials written about Jack Minore, the offices he held, the causes he championed, and the commitment he had to the state of Michigan and the Flint community. Most political leaders in the area have spoken about his commitment to Michigan, Flint and a long list of causes—civil rights, women’s rights, labor and the environment.
But beyond those, I’d like to share some personal memories of Jack Minore. He was the first politician that I met after moving to Flint. Our first apartment was at 711 E. Second St. and he and Arletta lived around the corner on Avon, where Arletta ran a bed and breakfast for many years. The back yards of our residences adjoined, and I met Jack shortly after moving in. His campaign for the state Senate in 1970 was the first one I worked on in Flint. Whenever I introduced him as a politician he would correct me and say he was a ‘public servant’ or perhaps ‘statesman’ with a smile.
That was the start of a long friendship and many campaigns and causes which covered the last half century.
He served on the Flint City Council for 15 years, and I recall walking door-to-door in our ward dropping off campaign literature more than a few times. What struck me as we went through the routine of hanging his campaign lit on doors is that he seemed to know who lived in every house, and could share stories about their lives and families. Nearly everyone who answered the door knew him and greeted him warmly. I think we still have Jack Minore city council magnets, jar openers, and matches around the house.
When Jack moved to his current home, just a few blocks down from our house on the same street, we joked at Democratic Party meetings that we were ‘The Commonwealth Caucus’ as we often came in together, along with Steve Robinson, a Mott faculty member and MCC Education Association president, who also lived on Commonwealth.
In recent years, I’d pick him up at his home and we’d drive to ‘Club 225’, a Democratic Party luncheon group. Along the way we’d decide who was going to drop off the East Village Magazines for the group this month.
In 1996, we attended the Democratic National Convention together in Chicago and, as a delegate, Jack was more than generous in inviting me to any number of events that I wouldn’t have been able to attend otherwise. After the convention, we went to his first Chicago Cubs baseball game at Wrigley Field, where he bought a Cubs jacket that he wore for years afterwards.
Over the years, Jack would celebrate the ‘whatever’ anniversary of his 39th birthday, and Nancy would often find 39th birthday cards, and amend them to fit whatever age he was that year.
He was also an active member of the East Village Magazine, serving on its Board of Trustees and distributing the magazine to his neighbors. Usually, after our ‘batching day’ Jack’s house would be the first stop on my way home, to drop off the bundle of magazines for him to deliver.
Maggie Hart, who grew up in Flint, moved away and returned in 2012, was friends with Jack and Arletta for most of her life. She recalls that when she moved back, that Jack Minore was the one who suggested getting the East Village Magazine as a way of reintroducing herself to the neighborhood. She also told of the time when Jack and Arletta bought a home in the suburbs on behalf of an African-American couple, who wouldn’t have been able to buy it because of racial discrimination. They did it as means of promoting open housing in the region, one of Jack’s major causes in Flint.
Jack Minore’s political activity was central to his life. Long a champion of progressive causes, Jack ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for the state Senate in 1970 and the state House in 1974. In 1983 he was elected to the Flint City Council from the 7th Ward, which he held until 1998, when he was elected to the Michigan State House of Representatives. He served three terms in the state House, when he made a run for the state Senate in 2006.
Jack attended both Mott Community College (then Flint Junior College), and the University of Michigan -Flint, and was an ardent UM supporter. Anyone showing up in a Michigan State sweatshirt, or, God forbid, an Ohio State shirt, was likely to receive a teasing rebuke from him. He was a teacher in the Flint Community Schools and taught at Whaley Children’s Center. He later served as executive director of the Genesee County Bar Association.
He was also active the Sierra Club, the Flint Watershed coalition, the Friends of the Flint River Trail, Music in the Parks and the Flint Institute of Music. As an active member of the Friends of the Flint River Trail, he was part of their weekly bicycle rides every Sunday, leaving from the old Flint Farmers’ Market. He served as the board chair and interim executive director of the Flint Watershed Coalition and co-leader of the Flint River Trail Chapter. His love for music was evident when we’d see him at every Flint Symphony concert in his same seat along the right aisle.
He is survived by his children, Eric, Jennifer, Steffan and Jeffrey. Arletta Minore passed away in 2020 and was honored recently in a memorial service.
A memorial service is scheduled for Whiting Auditorium from 2 to 5 p.m. Oct. 3. The family has asked that instead of flowers they would appreciate donations to the Friends of the Flint River Trail, the Flint Watershed Coalition, Music in the Parks, the Flint Institute of Music, or the organization of your choice.
EVM Political writer Paul Rozycki can be reached at email@example.com.