(AUD) is a pro-labor, non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the principles and practices of democratic trade unionism in the North American labor movement.

In Memoriam: Lucille Dames

AUD is saddened to announce the passing of Lucille (Lucy) Dames, our founder Herman Benson’s partner of many years and a Clarion supporter — contributing $1000 or more yearly to AUD — since 2005.

Lucy was one of those idealistic young people in the 1930s who decided to join the working class in the hope of creating a new world of social justice. She was, quite literally, one of the Rosie the Riveters of World War II. She actually bucked rivets at North American Aircraft in Los Angeles in the early 1940’s. After taking a course in machine shop, she worked for a while as a lathe operator and then as a sheet metal layout worker in the shipyards. When the war ended, she returned to New York as a waitress, then a proofreader, then on the staff of the International Rescue Committee which provided asylum for European refugees. At that point, she served on the executive board of the new Community and Social Agency Employees Local 1707 of DC 37.

She took a few years off for motherhood, only to face the lingering illness and tragic death of her young husband, leaving her to support and raise two children by herself. She returned to school, got a degree in math, and went to work for the UFT welfare fund in 1971 as a computer specialist, a job she held until semi-retirement in 1985.

How could she afford to become a Clarion supporter? Pure luck! In the years of her bereavement – and that was over 30 years ago – she scraped together her husband’s insurance money and made the down payment on a small house on the proper side of the main highway in East Hampton. It was cheap in those days. When she finally sold it, there was surplus enough to finance the annual $1,000 plunge.

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