Tamara Grigsby (right) with State Rep. JoCasta Zamarripa at a rally for President Barack Obama in 2012.

With a heavy heart, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi has announced the passing of a trusted colleague and dear friend, Tamara Grigsby.

Grigsby passed away unexpectedly this week from health complications. She was 41 years old.

“Words cannot express our sorrow over Tamara’s passing or our respect for the life she lived,” Parisi said. “Tamara was a special human being whose sole motivation in life was to make a difference in the lives of others – a goal at which she excelled. She was a public servant to be emulated, but more than that she was our friend, and we will miss her so.”

A former State Representative serving in the legislature from 2005 to 2013, Grigsby had worked most recently as the appointed Director of the new Dane County Department of Equity and Inclusion. Prior to that, she worked as the Community Outreach Coordinator for County Executive Parisi. Grigsby was instrumental in developing a series of county public policy initiatives in 2015 known as “Access to Opportunity.”

Grigsby was a community leader, driven by a desire to ensure fairness and equality for all. She graduated high school from Madison Memorial, earned her bachelor’s degree from Howard University and earned a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Her family resides in Madison and respectfully requests privacy in this most difficult time. Private services for the family are pending. A public celebration of Grigsby’s life will be held at a later date. On behalf of her countless friends and colleagues, the County Executive asks the community to please keep Grigsby’s family in its thoughts and prayers.