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WVU alumnus Al Ware who had 'unwavering history of support' dies

Alfred “Al” F. Ware, a devoted West Virginia University College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences alumnus, died on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at the age of 93 after a short illness in Franklin, Tennessee.

Alfred “Al” F. Ware

Ware, of Rupert, and his late wife, Dolores “Dee” Ware, had an unwavering history of support for CPASS through their wide-ranging philanthropy and leadership roles.

“Al has displayed exceptional generosity, commitment and leadership and developed proven records of outstanding civic and charitable devotion to the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences and the University. Al is one of our most exceptional graduates. We have always been gratified of his many achievements. We are proud that the Ware name will be forever connected with our college through the Ware Distinguished Professorship. The College will remember him fondly and miss him greatly,” CPASS Dean Jack Watson said.

“Al Ware showed his love for lifelong learning through his steadfast support for West Virginia University,” President Gordon Gee said. “I am especially grateful to Al and his wife Dolores because their generosity established the Ware Family Art Gallery which brings unique creativity and beauty to Blaney House.”

Ware, born May 1, 1927, earned his bachelor’s degree from the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences (then the School of Physical Education) in 1950. He received his master’s degree in speech/communications from WVU in 1952.

Ware served on the CPASS Visiting Committee and is a former chair of the group. He was inducted into the CPASS Hall of Fame in 1999 (11th inductee class) and recognized with the CPASS Outstanding Alumnus award in 2003.

The Wares and the Ware Family Foundation supported a wide range of programs and initiatives at CPASS, including the Ware Distinguished Professorship in Physical Education, which is held by Eloise Elliott. In this role, Elliott provides leadership in childhood health and fitness to help reduce childhood obesity rates in the state. The Wares were leaders and benefactors in the development of the former WVU Stansbury Hall Fitness and Wellness Center. 

“For the past 11 years, I have had the honor to serve as the Ware Distinguished Professor in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences. In keeping with Al and Dee Ware’s wishes, I have worked to move the needle on children’s health through numerous outreach projects throughout our great state of West Virginia,” Eloise Elliott, Ware Distinguished Professor, said.

“Al Ware had amazing knowledge, tenacity and generosity that have contributed greatly to CPASS’s outreach and leadership in advancing the Mountain State’s culture of health. He was an incredible man who has been my supporter, advisor and dear friend throughout my tenure at WVU. I am honored to have the opportunity to serve CPASS, WVU and our state in his name,” Elliott added.

While in college Ware was a member of Delta Tau Delta, served as Cadet Colonel of Army ROTC, was captain of the Men's varsity debate team and letterman in both cross country and track.

In 1954, Ware began his professional career in the textile industry. For twenty years his administrative positions included vice president of Manufacturers Hanover Corporation, director of Manufacturers Hanover Trade Corporation, president of Burlington Industries International Division and CEO of Mitsubishi-Burlington, Ltd.

In 1977, Ware and his wife, Dee, 1952 B.S. Physical Education, organized and formed Amherst International, Inc. He later became managing director of Amherst Fiber Optics, overseeing Amherst markets, fiber optics sales and services, optoelectronics and allied laser products for telecommunications and cable companies.

Ware served as chairman of the Board of Directors of the American School in Japan, chairman of the Civic Affairs Committee for the US Chamber of Commerce in Japan, member of the International Committee of the US Chamber of Commerce and U.S./Japan Trade Council, Board of Directors member for the United Fund of New York City and Deacon of his local church.

Ware, Woodburn Circle Society charter member, earned numerous awards from WVU, including recipient of the Outstanding Philanthropy award from the WVU Foundation, Order of Vandalia and WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He served as chair of the WVU Emeritus Reunion.

The Wares also donated a piece of land along with funds to maintain a gateway plaza, serving as a marker for the historic downtown campus. The plaza is located at the intersection of University and Beechurst avenues.

The couple established the Ware Student-Athlete Scholarships, Ware Presidential Scholarship for Monongalia County, supported Blaney House renovations and the Erickson Alumni Center, where the Ware Family Alumni Walk is named in their honor.

“This is a big loss for our WVU Alumni family. Al was an inspirational alumnus who distinguished himself professionally and in service to our Nation, WVU, and his community.  If one ever wonders what it means to be a Mountaineer, they need look no further than Al Ware. Undoubtedly, Al was the best of the best and we will miss him dearly,” Sean Frisbee, president and CEO of the WVU Alumni Association, said.  

Dee Ware passed away in 2018. The couple was married in 1952, for 65 years.

Ware is survived by two children and their spouses: Brent (Judy) Ware, of College Grove, TN and Scot (Sharon) Ware, of Franklin, TN; and nine grandchildren. 

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