Hillsboro’s longest-living resident and longtime Town Council member Belle Ware died this Sunday at the age of 82.
Mayor Roger Vance said that it was Ware’s ability to share her knowledge of the town’s history and bring clarity to difficult issues that made her so important to the community and inspired Vance and others in town.
“She was involved in everything we do around here,” he said. “She was so active and vital—it’s a big loss.”
Ware arrived in town more than seven decades ago, in 1945. Two years later, Ware’s mother, Evelyn Turbeville, was elected mayor. While that made her the first female mayor in Virginia, it also set the tone for Ware growing up.
In 1976, Ware founded the Hillsboro Community Association to save the Old Stone School by agreeing to lease the building from the county government in exchange for conducting major restoration projects.
In the early 2000s, Ware took over as the town treasurer for many years. In 2010, she was elected to the Town Council and served nearly four full terms and several years as vice mayor before stepping down nine months early this past February.
Ware was also one of the most notable decorators in the Christmas in Hillsboro Historic Homes Tour, was actively involved with the Hillsboro United Methodist Church and the Daughters of the American Revolution and, for the past three years, hosted the town’s New Year’s Day polar plunge at the pond on her property.
For her service to Hillsboro, the Town Council in February 2016 rededicated the Old Stone School’s upstairs room as the Tulip Ware Room. In January this year, the town also presented Ware with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
“She was a really progressive woman who worked and contributed and never really slowed down much,” Vance said. “She was always there at the forefront.”