February 2014
February 05, 2014

Passings

Source: NYSUT United

Ruth DworkinRuth Dworkin

Ruth Dworkin, a longtime leader of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers, died Jan. 3. She was 89.

Ruth began her teaching career in 1962 and quickly became involved in the union, serving as a building representative. She was later elected elementary vice president and served in that position until her retirement in 1989. Notably, she served on the interim board of directors during the merger of United Teachers of New York and the New York State Teachers Association, NYSUT's predecessor organizations.

In retirement she served as vice president and president of NYSUT Retiree Council 15-16. She was also NYSUT At-Large director for Districts 51, 52, 53 until 2011.
In 2003, she was the first recipient of the NYSUT Retiree Member of the Year award. In 2010, she received NYSUT's prestigious "Not for Ourselves Alone:" The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award.

Ruth was predeceased by her husband, Lawrence, and their daughter, Susan. She is survived by her daughter, Nancy (Jerry); son, Greg (Denise); son-in-law, Les; and six grandchildren.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Susan Levering Social Justice Endowment at Adelphi University, or the American Lung Association.

Pete Seeger

Legendary folk singer and labor activist Pete Seeger died Jan. 27; he was 94.

Initially interested in a career in journalism, he left an indelible mark on the labor, peace and civil rights movements through song. Over his career, Pete marched and performed at hundreds of rallies for different unions.

Once a member of two influential folk groups, he wrote or co-wrote several popular songs, including "If I Had a Hammer," and "Turn, Turn, Turn." He was also responsible for making a slight change in a song that would later become the anthem of the civil rights movement, "We Shall Overcome."

Pete received several honors over his career, including the National Medal of Arts, induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Grammy Awards and the Kennedy Center Honor.

Georgia Allen | Nov. 23
United Federation of Teachers

Georgia began her teaching career in the New York City public schools in 1983, and became a member of the PS 214 community in 1985, where she remained until her retirement in 2011. She was a strong supporter of the United Federation of Teachers as shown by her attendance at numerous rallies and events throughout her career. Her heart was filled with love, patience and understanding which was evidenced by her long career as an early childhood educator. Georgia believed that children deserve a chance and that it was her responsibility to give them that chance. After a brief illness, Georgia passed away on Nov. 23, 2013.

She is survived by her parents George and Joyce Allen, brothers George, Jr. and Garfield, numerous aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews. 

Minnie Ophelia Washington Bee | Oct. 30
United Federation of Teachers

Jason DeJoy | Jan. 7
Pittsford District Teachers Association

Maurice Gumbs | Oct. 13
United Federation of Teachers

Maurice Gumbs - United Federation of TeachersMaurice Gumbs, 73, of Boynton Beach, Fla., died Oct. 13. Gumbs was an English teacher at Franklin K. Lane HS in Brooklyn, 1969-1983, and was chapter leader during his last six years at the school. It was commonplace for him to challenge and write colorful exposes of supervisory abuse. In 1980, Gumbs was appointed to the United Federation of Teachers Executive Board.

Maurice is survived by his wife Sherry Zekowski. Even after they retired to Florida, he continued to pursue his love of people, travel and gardening. He remained active in many political circles and charities focused on underprivileged children. 

Kathy Lattimore | Dec. 31
United University Professions

James K. Lavali | Sept. 12
United Federation of Teachers

Lori Lynn Moseley | Sept. 12
Carthage Teachers' Association

Marilyn Pedersen | Dec. 1
New Paltz United Teachers

Sara Alicia Sutley | Sept. 22
United Federation of Teachers

Sara Alicia Sutley, 88, died Sept. 22 in Hillsborough, N.J. She taught junior high school Spanish at JHS 226 in South Ozone Park, Queens for over 15 years, and was an active member of the New York chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese. Sara was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and came to the U.S. in the 1950s. She completed her undergraduate studies at Queens College and obtained a Masters in bilingual education at St. John's University.

After her retirement, Sara split her time between Hampton Bays, N.Y. and Pelican Cove, Sarasota, Fla. She was active in the community, volunteering at the Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, N.Y. and at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Sarasota, Fla., among other places. She was also a translator for the health department in Sarasota. Teaching continued to be a part of her post-retirement life: Sara taught Spanish to adults in both New York and Florida.

 "She really enjoyed teaching, and it was very important to her that she taught people a second language," said her daughter Suzanne Sutley, who teaches 8th grade math at IS 125 in Woodside, Queens. Sara traveled often to Argentina, enjoyed cooking Argentine dishes and educating people about the country of her birth.  

Sara is survived by her husband of 57 years, Bruno, daughters Suzanne and Nancy, son Steven and grandson Nick. 

Obituary policy

Obituary submissions for publication in NYSUT United must include decedent's full name, union affiliation and date of death, and telephone number or email address of the person submitting the information.

You may fax submissions to 518-213-6415; send to Andrew Watson, NYSUT United, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY 12110-2455; or email awatson@nysutmail.org.