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
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
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.
UE News - 04/00