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Remembering Eugene Driker

We are honoring Eugene Driker, a lifelong Detroiter and prominent attorney who served as a life trustee of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation since its founding. 


Image of Eugene Driker courtesy of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. 

Image of Eugene Driker, courtesy of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation

We are honoring the life of Eugene Driker, a life trustee of the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation (RCWJF) and prominent attorney in Detroit. Friends, family and community members gathered last week to honor Driker’s many contributions to Detroit and the state. He passed away at the age of 85.

The foundation paid tribute to Eugene on its website with a touching statement from their board chair.

“Ralph knew exactly what he was doing when he asked Eugene Driker to join us as one of the four life trustees to direct his foundation. Eugene brought wisdom, empathy and an incredible lived experience to every aspect of our work. His guidance in shaping the mission, values and direction of the foundation will live on through the foundation’s work and will continue long after the foundation closes its doors thanks to the impact that will be seen through our grantees and partners across our two regions. We are so blessed to have been given the gift of his love, friendship and humanity,” Mary Wilson, board chair and life trustee, RCWJF shared in a statement.

Eugene was named a life trustee of the RCWJF when it was founded in 2015. Ralph C. Wilson Jr. named Eugene as one of four lifetime founding trustees to help to develop the organization's mission to invest in ways to support communities in southeast Michigan and western New York.

He was a champion for the city of Detroit and helped mediate the city through its historic bankruptcy in 2013.  

Earlier this year, Eugene and his wife Elaine broke ground for the new Eugene and Elaine C. Driker Trail, a part of the first phase of the Ralph Wilson Gateway and Trail, that will allow visitors to walk from the Ralph Wilson Gateway into the more natural environment of the island.

“Eugene was a preeminent attorney, a lifelong and untiring advocate for his home city of Detroit, and a friend. He served with distinction as a Wayne State University governor and spent every day working to enrich and uplift his community. Eugene’s achievements in urban affairs, law, arts, and culture leave a legacy for every Michigander to carry forward. My thoughts are with Eugene’s family and friends,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said.