The Truth Staff
Family members, friends, elected officials and Pathway board members, staff and employees gathered at the corner of Collingwood and Hamilton Streets – in front of the Pathway headquarters building – to pay homage to Weldon Douthitt and witness the designation of Hamilton Street, from Collingwood to Bismarck Street, as Weldon Douthitt Way.
As noted in the City Council resolution honoring Douthitt that was promoted by City Councilwoman Vanice Williams, the late Douthitt was born in March 1933 and arrived in Toledo in 1954 to start his career in the building trades industry and ultimately join the Bricklayers Union when they opted to desegregate.
He also built “a legacy for fighting for the rights of minorities and the disadvantaged,” read the resolution, in addition his work in training young minority men and women, lending support to countless of individuals and helping to create thousands of jobs for young people.
Douthitt worked at the Economic Opportunity Planning Association (EOPA) (which was renamed Pathway, Inc, in 2013) for over 55 years, working to not only create jobs but also to help homeowners in disadvantaged areas with home repairs.
Among those who paid tribute to Douthitt during the ceremony were: Councilman John Hobbs, Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, Lucas County Recorder Michael Ashford, Pathway Board of Directors Chairperson Theresa M. Gabriel and Douthitt’s daughter Weldina Douthitt.
“Everyone who knows Weldon, loves him,” said Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz. “He was the most loving, sweetest man I’ve ever known. He will exist forever in our hearts.”
Douthitt was also a behind the scenes operative for the Democratic Party and an invaluable political mentor for numerous candidates for decades. He was particularly close to former Mayor Jack Ford, among others.
He was also a close friend over the years with Lucas County Recorder Michael Ashford. Douthitt was best friend during Ashford’s wedding in fact. Ashford spoke during the ceremony on Friday.
“Weldon was an advocate for all people,” said Ashford. “He was a cornerstone of this community for 70 years and his mission was about helping people … Weldon was a great person and a community servant.”