Former United Steelworkers Local 1014 official and United States Steel Corp. retiree John Fritz died Tuesday after spending more than 60 years in various roles with the union and company.
Fritz, of Merrillville, was 87.
Fritz served in the U.S. Army during World War II, earning a Purple Heart and several other honors. Fritz started his career at U.S. Steel in the locomotive shop and was a locomotive repairman for many years, according to the USW Local 1014 website. He was elected recording secretary of the local in 1987 and served more than 20 years as its financial secretary.
"John was a very dedicated, hardworking union man over the recent years," said United Steelworkers District 7 Director Jim Robinson. "He will be missed."
Robinson said Fritz was dedicated to working not only on behalf of members of Local 1014, but with current and retired steelworkers from around the region.
Tony Rendina, owner of Rendina Funeral Home, said Fritz was "first class." Rendina said Fritz often worked to answer insurance or other questions for widows of retirees and provided information to funeral homes when they needed it.
Scott Cranor, grievance chairman for Local 1014, said he was a fixture at the union hall and remained active with the union until his death. He said Fritz was "quite a guy" as evidenced by him going bungee jumping at 70 years old.
Fritz is survived by his daughter Joanne (Edward) Johnson; granddaughters Kelly (Aaron) Hand and Geri (Tony) Luna; great grandchildren: Emma, Ben, and Sophie Hand; Sam and Claire Luna; brothers Rudolph and Edward Fritz; and special friend, Rose Beres.
A visitation will be held from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday at Rendina Funeral Home, 5100 Cleveland St., in Calumet Township. A prayer service will be held 5 p.m. Sunday and the Knights of Columbus will also lead an event at 6:30 p.m. at the funeral home. Funeral services will be held Monday at 10 a.m. at the chapel with Rev. Joseph Zuziak officiating. Burial will be at in Calumet Park Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a favorite charity in honor of Fritz.