Mrs. Irene Weaver Johnson-Ware

Published 3:48 pm Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Mrs. Ware was born on April 24, 1935, to the late Everlean Williams and James E. Weaver in Blacksher.

She departed this life on April 21, 2020. She was 84 years old. 

She was a graduate of Josephine Allen Institute in Mobile.

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She had a long-standing illustrious career in Gospel radio, which started in 1961 in Mobile. Mrs. Ware began at WGOK as the host of the Mandy Show, now known as “The Brighter Day.” There, she rose to the level of general manager and enjoyed an unprecedented 37.5-year tenure.

Mrs. Ware exemplified the terms of empowerment, mentoring and networking, by positively impacting the lives and careers of women in the entertainment industry.

Her stellar career is evidenced by her numerous appointments and awards, including in 1966 – Open Mike Magazine’s Gospel Personality of the Year; 1967 – Record World Magazine, Top 10 Gospel Personality; 1975 – 1976 Who’s Who Among Black Americans; 1977 – Jack The Rapper’s Roy Hamilton Award; 1979 – Gospel Music Workshop of America’s Gospel Announcer of the Year; 1990 – Recipient of the NBPC’s First Heritage Award; 1990 – NBPC Gospel Announcer of The Year Award; 1992 – Urban network’s Living Legend Award; 1997 – PUSH Excellence Award in Communication, Marie V. Dixon Order of the Eastern Star #875, Humanitarian Service Award, General Manager of The Year, BRE Magazine, Two-time winner of the Thomas Dorsey Award, Midwest Radio and Music Association.

In 1992, Mrs. Ware was elected president of the struggling YBPC, Young Black Programmers Coalition, later renamed NBPC, National Black Programmers Coalition. Under her direction, the NBPC growth in industry visibility, membership and financial status was extraordinary. It was noteworthy as well as a dynamic increase in the national conference attendance and donations to the organization’s scholarship fund. Known for her “always put God first” lifestyle, Mrs. Ware was a faithful member of the Greater Mt. Olive Baptist Church No. 2, Mobile. She served as Counselor of the Matrons, a member of the HB Choraliers, and a member of the Trustee Board. She was also the vice president of R&B Promotion, Atlantic Records. She wrote articles for Black Radio Exclusive, Record World and Chest Records. 

Mrs. Ware always had words of inspiration and encouragement for all she encountered and inspired with her unrelenting drive to improve opportunities for Blacks in the music and entertainment industry. 

She was preceded in death by her husband, Fred E. Ware; parents, Everlean Williams and James E. Weaver; son, Ronald Johnson; and three brothers.

She leaves to cherish her legacy a son, Darryl Johnson; two grandchildren, Monique (Cory) Johnson Thomas of Mobile and Darron Johnson of Houston Texas; one great-grandchild, Chandler Thomas; stepbrother, George (Robin) Johnson; two godchildren, Tiffany Gholston and Alma Hickman; two devoted friends, Barbara Brown and Elizabeth Wright; and a host of cousins.