Word began circulating Friday afternoon that Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave had died earlier in the day. It was most certainly a shock to those who knew him, and his passing will be felt by more than just his family, friends and constituents.

By all accounts, Jonathan was not only well-liked and admired, he was influential and impactful. His commitment to his community was evident in initiatives big and small that brought innovation and compassion to Racine County Government.  But his greatest contribution to civic life may have been his ability not let partisanship derail good works and to encourage and inspire others act in the same manner.

Make no mistake, Jonathan was a Republican, and a familiar face at GOP events in Racine and the surrounding area. He was close friends with a host of Republican officials like Speaker Robin Vos and Congressman Bryan Steil. But his sudden death is also mourned by prominent Democrats as well. 

Now, no savvy politician is going to speak ill of a peer at the time of his passing; but the deep, sincere tributes to Jonathan offered by politicos of all stripes is a testament to kind, positive and affable nature of Jonathan Delagrave. 

His passing is not only Racine County’s loss. The world needs more public servants like Jonathan. He will be missed.

Our thoughts are with his family and all those who knew him, and these tributes are today’s Key Reads.

Racine County leaders react to the sudden death of Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave | TMJ4

Racine County Executive dies at 51 | WPR

Governor orders flags to half-staff in honor of ‘exceptional leader’ Delagrave | Racine Journal Times

Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave dies suddenly, shocking community | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

It is with deepest sorrow and profound compassion that we share news of the unexpected passing of our beloved County Executive, Jonathan Delagrave, during the early hours of June 28th, 2024.

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. 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. We ask for privacy for the family as they navigate through this tremendous loss.

-Official Statement from Racine County

“Johnathan had so much life left to live and the shock of losing him still hasn’t set in. He was kind, caring, outgoing, and very generous with his time. He was someone I could always count on for advice and guidance.”

Speaker Robin Vos

“As mayor, it has been an honor to serve alongside him in his role as county executive. Jonathan was an amazing leader for Racine County.”

Racine Mayor Cory Mason

“That was Jonathan. It’s a yes until it’s a no. There’s a possibility to do anything,”

– County Board Chairman Tom Kramer

“Jonathan had the unique ability to bring people together to solve large problems to help everyone, no matter their station in life. It will be almost impossible to replace Jonathan, his positive impact on Racine County was that strong.”

State Senator Van Wanggaard,

“I’m incredibly grateful I had the privilege of knowing him and serving with him during our time in office together.”

Governor Tony Evers

“The nicest human being you’d ever want to meet. It was never about him; he was always trying to help someone or something.”

Racine County Board Supervisor Tom Roanhouse

“He was a great leader and friend who always put the needs of Racine County residents first. His voice will be missed by all who knew him.”

– Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow

“Jonathan willingly dove into problems and contributed greatly to finding solutions. But most importantly, he was a good man, and it was an honor to know him. May his family find comfort and peace in their memories and the support of all who loved him.”

Washington County Executive Josh Schoemann

“He enjoyed talking about his mission to make Racine County a fun place to work while also helping people, and that to me is his legacy in a nutshell. He will be greatly missed.”

Kenosha County Executive Samantha Kerkman