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Loretta Hopke Simmons,
Former UE Organizer,
Dies at 88


She traveled the country organizing for UE, and went to jail, at least once, as a result. Julius Emspak, a UE general secretary-treasurer, referred to her as "The Polish Lioness." Long-time friend Frank Rosen says "The world is a better place wherever Loretta passed through."

Loretta Hopke Simmons, 88, a former UE organizer and social activist involved in the civil rights, women’s rights and peace movements, died Jan. 28 of complications from a fall.

Born and raised in Chicago’s Bridgeport neighborhood, Simmons became involved with UE shortly after graduating from St. Mary’s High School. As her family recalls, he traveled the country during the union’s first two decades. "She was even jailed for it," says Jerry Ulane, her niece’s husband.

"I well remember her spirit, enthusiasm, wit, perseverance and street smarts," says Frank Rosen, retired president of District 11, and a former industrial worker and union organizer.

Loretta Hopke married Ted Simmons, a UE leader at International Harvester.

In later years, her work in the causes of peace and civil rights and for senior citizens was recognized by the late Mayor Harold Washington and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

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Home -> UE News -> 2000 Archives -> Article

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