Downriver mourns loss of Trenton Mayor Kyle Stack

Kyle Stack

Paula Neuman

Kyle Stack, mayor of Trenton, a “visionary leader” for her community and for Downriver, died unexpectedly Nov. 29 after suffering two heart attacks. She was 62.

Stack lay is state at Trenton City Hall and her funeral service was Dec. 5 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Trenton.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, who called Ms. Stack a “visionary leader,” gave the eulogy for Stack during the visitation and service at Trenton City Hall. 

“Kyle leaves a deep hole in our community,” Dingell said. “Kyle was not just a close friend and advisor to me, she was a visionary leader of Downriver. She loved Trenton and devoted everything to see it through good times and bad. As a community we remember all she did and continue her work to make Trenton and Downriver a thriving community to live, work, and go to school.”

Other community leaders expressed shock at her death, and are mourning her loss and praising her life — a life that was dedicated to public service.

She served the city for 43 years — eight years working in the Parks and Recreation Department in Trenton, her lifelong home, 26 years as city clerk, and was elected mayor for the first time in 2011. City voters returned her to a third term in the four-year post in November.

Ms. Stack and her husband, William Jasman, were active in the Trenton Rotary and many other civic endeavors. She graduated from Trenton High School and attended Henry Ford Community College.

Riverview Mayor Andrew Swift said: “I was totally shocked and heart-broken when I heard Kyle had passed away. Of all the mayors Downriver, I’ve worked with Kyle the most. She had such a good heart and truly cared for residents. I will miss her conversations on a personal level and her input on a professional level. On behalf of our City Council, staff and residents, we offer our most sincere condolences to her husband, William, and her entire family. We also offer our best to her staff at City Hall and to all the residents of the city of Trenton.”

Wyandotte Mayor Joseph Peterson said: “I am so shocked. She was such a wonderful lady, so hard-working. She loved Trenton. She’s going to be missed terribly. She wasn’t just the mayor, she was Mrs. Trenton. She was doing a fantastic job. She finally got something moving on McLouth Steel. She put her heart into making something happen, and it’s finally happening.”

With other area leaders, Ms. Stack put countless hours into securing the ongoing demolition of the dilapidated McLouth Steel mill on Jefferson Avenue, its environmental cleanup and its future redevelopment.

Southgate Mayor Joseph Kuspa said: “The untimely death of Mayor Stack is truly sad for her family, her community and our Downriver area.  Kyle was a bold public servant who was not afraid to speak up for her constituency or the region that she cared so passionately about.  Her advocacy, experience and strong voice will be deeply missed.”

Wayne County Commissioner Joseph Palamara of Grosse Ile, whose district includes Trenton, Grosse Ile, Riverview, Southgate and Wyandotte, said: “It’s hard to believe. She was such a personal and professional friend that I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around that she’s not going to be there championing her community. 

“I have worked with a lot of local leaders over the years, and nobody was better than Kyle Stack at representing her community.

“She understood that there was a proper balance you need between economic development and a sound environmental stewardship. There couldn’t be a more respected individual in public service. She loved life and her community so much.”

Grosse Ile Supervisor Brian Loftus said: “I’m going to miss her. I loved working with her. I learned a lot from her. She certainly had an impact on improving Downriver. She made all of Downriver a better place to live.”

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said: “The passing of Trenton Mayor Kyle Stack is a great loss for Wayne County. She and I worked closely together on the redevelopment of the long abandoned McLouth Steel plant as well as improvements to Elizabeth Park and the nature preserve to strengthen Trenton and Downriver. 

“I knew her to be a tireless champion for Trenton residents. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones as we mourn her passing.”

State Rep. Darrin Camilleri, D-Browntown Twp., whose district includes Trenton and Grosse Ile, posted on Facebook that he had had breakfast with Ms. Stack the week before her death. At the meeting, she talked with excitement about new projects in the works for Trenton, and tried to convince him to move to her city because “it’s the best city around,” she told him. He praised her leadership and her friendship.

State Sen. Stephanie Chang, D-Detroit, whose district includes Trenton, Grosse Ile, Riverview and Wyandotte, also posted about Ms. Stack.

“She was a true public servant who was incredibly dedicated to the people of Trenton,” Chang wrote.

And Ron Hinrichs, president and CEO of the Southern Wayne County Regional Chamber of Commerce, posted, as well.

“She was one of my closest friends and mentors,” he wrote. “What she means to our Downriver community and the phenomenal leadership she has demonstrated has truly left a positive and lasting impact on every single one of us.… She was not only an amazing visionary, but a true leader who rolled up her sleeve and got the job done…. Kyle always thought of our region as a big family, and it’s time for us to come together and mourn this loss, but also to honor the amazing legacy Kyle leaves for us all.”

Trenton Mayor Pro-Tem Steven Rzeppa will take over as interim mayor.