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Businesswoman Gretchen Carhartt Valade dies aged 97

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Gretchen Carhartt Valade, Metro Detroit entrepreneur, philanthropist and

Metro Detroit businesswoman, philanthropist and patron of the arts Gretchen Carhartt Valade died at age 97 on Dec. 30 at her home in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Granddaughter of Carhartt, Inc. founder Hamilton Carhartt, Valade served as President Emeritus of the workwear company, still family-owned in the Detroit area after 134 years.

She was also known among the regional arts community and beyond as “the angel of jazz” for her enduring contributions to Detroit’s arts and cultural scene, as well as the global jazz community. At age 74, she founded the jazz label Mack Avenue Records, which has subsequently won 11 Grammy Awards and more than 50 nominations. At age 82, she opened the Dirty Dog Jazz Café, an award-winning jazz club and dinner in Grosse Pointe Farms.

“We’ve lost an angel and the city’s greatest jazz champion,” said Rochelle Riley, director of arts and culture for the city of Detroit. “No one has worked harder or more elegantly to ensure that Detroit remains a global jazz capital.”