We write today with sad news. Our friend and former colleague Maria De Leon passed away in a car accident at the age of 64.
Maria diligently served our union as a national organizer from 2002 until her retirement in 2016. She helped our Membership & Organizing Department recruit and organize members throughout the federation, but primarily in District 10. People who worked with her praised her tireless work ethic on behalf of our union.
“Maria was one of the hardest working national organizers in AFGE. She was truly an asset to AFGE and District 10,” said National Vice President for District 10 Cheryl Eliano. “We were saddened to hear of her sudden death. We will sorely miss her. Our prayers go out to the family and friends. May God forever comfort you all and give you peace.”
“She had an exemplary work ethic and was a true trade unionist,” said M&O Deputy Director Thyressa Williams.
Maria worked on many of our campaigns, including the largest to date – the TSA campaign in which we successfully pushed for collective bargaining rights for TSA officers and subsequently won a union election to represent these officers in 2011.
“We both worked the TSA campaign as Regional Coordinators; Maria in Districts 9 and 10, and me in Districts 4, 6, and 14,” recalled District 4 National Representative Kevin Droste. “This was really the culmination of all our hard work together over the nine years we were at AFGE. In February 2011, the entire TSA team met at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md., as we prepared to set out to finish the campaign. We spent some time talking and reminiscing, wished each other well, and went off to bring home a winner. I miss my friend. I will keep a good thought for her and her family.”
Our thoughts and deepest sympathies are with the De Leon family.
Those wishing to share a memory of Maria or send condolences to her family can do so by clicking on her tribute page here.