Dayton NAACP’s first lady dies after cancer battle

Jean Foward, known as the first lady of the Dayton Unit of the NAACP, died Thursday at Miami Valley Hospital after a months-long battle with cancer. She was 61.

Foward was the first and only adviser for the Littlejohn Junior NAACP Youth Council, starting in May 2005 and leading children ages 1 to 13. In that role, she helped develop leadership and community service skills in more than 500 youth members who joined the council.

“She has contributed greatly to the lives of many young people in her neighborhood and throughout the Dayton region,” according to a statement on the NAACP’s website.

Her husband of more than 20 years, Derrick, is president of the Dayton Unit. He survives, as do two sons and two daughters, plus three grandchildren and three godchildren.

Born Dec. 2, 1957, she was a Springfield native but lived most of her life in Dayton, attending Dayton Public Schools and graduating from Wilbur Wright High School.

Jean Foward joined the Dayton Unit NAACP in 2002, becoming a Diamond Life Member in 2017. She also received the President’s Award in 2011, the chapter’s highest honor, recognizing accomplishments on behalf of the residents of the community.

For nearly the last decade, she worked at the Pain Evaluation and Management Center of Ohio.

Derrick Foward said they learned in September that she had cancer.

“My wife was my everything,” he said. “She was selfless, she went out of her way to help others. She nurtured young people, not only our kids, but many Daytonians over the years.”

He said funeral services would be conducted at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 20, at Corinthian Baptist Church. Visitation for family will begin at 9 a.m. with friends at 10 a.m. that day.

“Jean, she’s loved by a lot of people,” Derrick Foward said.