By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
LINCOLN PARK – Former Mayor Patricia Diaz Krause died of a sudden illness Friday morning while vacationing in Spain, city officials announced.
Krause, 67, was mayor of Lincoln Park from 2011 to 2013.
Details weren’t immediately available.
She leaves behind her sons, Adam and Ryan.
Funeral arrangements are not yet available.
Krause grew up in the city, was active in civic affairs for more than 40 years, and was its first female mayor.
Fred Wilson of Lincoln Park, who worked with Krause on the Downriver Cruise from 2004 to 2007, said she was a great friend who was always willing to volunteer her time to city causes.
He said Krause recently became the president of the Lincoln Park Historical Society, was secretary for the Farmers Market, a volunteer with the city Memorial Day Parade and park cleanups, and organized the Garden Walk sponsored by the Community Improvement Commission.
“She really loved the city,” Wilson said. “She had one of the neatest yards in the city, and was always making improvements.”
Wilson said that even though the mayoral job was considered a part-time position, she worked 40 to 45 hours a week, and would see residents without an appointment. He said he would see her working in City Hall on Sundays.
“She was one of the mayors that really took the job seriously,” Wilson said. “Wish we had more people here in the city like her.”
Lincoln Park Councilman Chris Dardzinski said he and other friends are in shock at her passing.
“It’s all pretty raw,” Dardzinski said. “She was my little buddy. I loved her. She was straight up good people.
“When you get older, you don’t think that really good people are going to come along, that you can have big, bonding friendships, but I liked Pat the first time I ever started talking to her.”
Dardzinski said they became friends before they both decided to run for mayor. He said she remained the same before, during, and after her tenure as mayor.
He said she knew he had a vision condition that prevented him from driving after dark, and she always offered him a ride home after council meetings so he wouldn’t have to walk home.
Dardzinski said that as a friend – not as a councilman – he hopes to spearhead a memorial to her – perhaps a tree at Council Point Park, or a memorial flower garden in a city park.
“We are going to do something for Pat,” Dardzinski said. “I’m not going to rush. I am going to take my time and I am going to talk to her sons, and get a bunch of her friends involved.
“I want to do something permanent for Pat because she touched the city like you can’t believe for over 40 years, and before she even became mayor, and that just can’t go unrecognized and forgotten.”
Jimmy Cargill of Lincoln Park said Krause brought a huge heart to the mayoral office, and was a great woman.
“She wanted to hear what citizens had to say, and took that thought process home with her,” Cargill said. “Ten days before she passed, I asked her if she would run for mayor again. She laughed, and asked me if I would be her campaign manager.”