DETROIT (WXYZ) — The Detroit Public Schools Community District and the city have lost a man who dedicated his life to giving both a brighter future. Tyrone Winfrey died on Saturday at age 63.
Winfrey started Le Tour Detroit, a tour company that taught visitors about famous people from the city, architecture and history. He used it to elevate the city. He also worked in education.
After working with universities to recruit students, he returned to Detroit Public Schools Community District, previously as school board president and currently as executive director of Community Affairs.
“He would push universities to open their doors to DPSCD students,” said Nikolai Vitti, Detroit Public Schools Community District superintendent.
If he saw potential in a student and a college didn’t admit them, Winfrey would fight the decision and often win. His wife says for him it was more than work, it was a calling.
“That was his medicine. With pain of a level of 10 in his body, he got up and went to work every day,” said Janice Winfrey, Tyrone’s wife and the Detroit city clerk.
Janice Winfrey says he lived to inspire others and help them overcome obstacles. It made her believe that Tyrone Winfrey, his three children and four grandchildren would witness him overcome his own obstacle.
“We fight together, right? We fight for our students. We fight for Detroiters. We were going to get through this,” she said.
The fight against prostate cancer lasted about five years, with wins where it appeared he had beaten it and gone into remission, only for cancer to attack his neck, liver and back.
As she grieves while running the election in Detroit, she says she is focused on carrying on her husband’s legacy of serving the public.
“Keep going. Keep going. Don’t stop. Keep the work going,” said Winfrey.
“Tyrone’s life is the perfect example of what public service should look like. It is with a deep love and passion that he went about his work. It was never about money. It was never about a paycheck. It was how could he take his life and the opportunities he had to create more opportunities for the children of Detroit,” said Vitti.