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Well today was a mixed emotion day for me. My family and I went to Dolton, Il to the city hall where they were holding a ceremony to remember my Uncle Tom. Well Uncle Tom isn't truly accurate.. he was my Grandfathers Brother in Law.. but I always knew him as Uncle Tom. I remember many a vist to Uncle Tom's house in Dolton and helping him make his candles in the basement and Him helping me put the finishing touches on my PineWood derby car for Cub Scouts.
Well, cancer finally claimed my Uncle Tom this year and at his funeral the mayor of Dolton announced his, and the City Boards's intention to rename City hall The Harper Municipal Center.
Today was that day.. I felt a great pride for Uncle Tom that the city of Dolton was honoring him for all he did over the course of his 90 years there.. I was also a little sad becasue he wasn't there to share in it.
Anyhow.. Here's a little excerpt from the program pamphlet of the day..

<TABLE BORDER=0 ALIGN=CENTER WIDTH=85%><TR><TD><font size=-1>Quote:</font><HR></TD></TR><TR><TD><FONT SIZE=-1><BLOCKQUOTE>
Thomas Edison Harper, Jr. was born on May 27, 1911 to Thomas Harper, Sr. and Otillia Behrens Harper. He was one of five children, 3 sisters, Grace, Pearl and Gwen, and one brother, Clinton. In 1936 he married Margery Putnam Harper. They had 2 daughters, Sylvia and Helen.

Thomas E. Harper, Jr. began working for ACME Steel in Riverdale, Illinois in 1933. AMong his accomplishments, he helped to organize a union (known at that time as CIO)at ACME steel in 1937. He served on the Unions Legislative and Safety Committees and served five years as Vice President and six years as President of Chapter 31, District 5, Local 1053.

Thomas Harper, Jr. also served as a volunteer fireman for Dolton for 25 years. He joined in 1937 and was active until he was elected Mayor of the Village of Dolton.

A vacancy arose for Police Magistrate in the Village of Dolton and he filed for that office, was elected in 1949, and served four terms, a total of 16 years until 1965. He was also elected for two six-year terms as Park Commissioner for the Dolton Park District.
After the Police Magistrate Office was abolished, Thomas E. Harper, Jr. followed in his fathers footsteps and ran for and was elected Mayor of the Village of Dolton for a four year term (1965-1969). (Thomas Harper, Sr. served as village trustee from 1905 to 1907, and as Mayor from 1907-1911)

After his retirement from ACME Steel in 1978, Thomas Harper, Jr. continued to serve the Village of Dolton on the Civil Service Commission, rejoined the volunteer Fire Department, and served as Court Monitor for the Cook County Court Watchers. He was also the financial secreteary for his church for many years.

On December 16, 1991 Mr. Harper was awarded the USWA UnionPioneer Award by the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR). His name has been placed on the "Pioneers Wall of Fame" in the United Steelworkers Hall in Pittsburgh, PA. He was active in the founding of SOAR and served as the first President of the Local Chapter.
</BLOCKQUOTE></FONT></TD></TR><TR><TD><HR></TD></TR></TABLE>

Uncle Tom did all this a much more in his life and still when he was asked about it he still thought he didn't do enough. One of his only known regrets in his long and rich life was that he wished he had gotten more than a Elementary School Education.
Well, the clouds broke for the Building Benediction and ribbon cutting ceremonies and I like to think that Uncle Tom was looking down on all of us there today.

So.. Here's to you Uncle Tom! You earned it and so much more.. we miss you.

Blakwing
 

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I'm very sorry for your loss, Steve.

I'd say he's lived a very long and productive life. Not too many of those "been there, done that" types around anymore.

Again, my condolences.
 

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My condolenses. You were lucky to have such a wonderful and impressive person in your life.

Joyce
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanx for all the well wishes everyone.. it was a really good day for the family. All the good times remembered at the party afterwards. Uncle Tom was a really great man and did so much with his life. We need more people like him out there. I can only hope that I lead at least half as good a life as he did. He put forth a phenomenal example for all us "Youngsters" in the family as to the importance of giving back to the community and those around us.. As well as the difference "One Man" can make.
 
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