This morning, our State lost an irrepressible, gregarious, compassionate, and tireless advocate for working people and humanity at large.
Lettie Oliver passed at 7:58 a.m. this morning at Community East Hospital due to complications from an asthma-induced cardiac arrest.
Ms. Lettie served as the Associate Director for AFSCME Local 62, but anybody who knew her understood that, while she loved her job, she was more than her job title.
In 2007, the Indiana Commission on Women gave Lettie its Torchbearer Award, noting:
Lettie Oliver represents 10,000 public workers in central Indiana in her role as Associate Director of Council 62 of AFSCME (Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees). Considered a “voice of organized labor” and a strong advocate for women workers, Ms. Oliver has been named to a number of prestigious boards and committees including Mayor Bart Peterson’s blue-ribbon Advisory Panel to comment on Indianapolis Works.
Ms. Oliver serves currently on the Board of Directors of the Indianapolis Private Industry Council, a premier workforce development entity. While Lettie Oliver represents organized labor well in the Board room and committee table, she always has time for her members and is know for her inclusiveness of all persons.
Ms. Oliver has continued to be a strong force in the labor union even during a personal family crisis. She has made it her life’s work to educate the women of AFSCME Council 62 in the areas of politics and organizing and has been a powerful force in sharing her knowledge with others for the betterment of all. Ms. Oliver is on the steering committee of the Indiana Chapter of Women Work, an organization dedicated to gaining equitable economic opportunities for women.
She might have met her maker as we all do in death, but did she ever meet her match in life? I seriously doubt it.
City-County Councillor Maggie Lewis stated, "Death is a part of life, but this pain, this sting, will be felt in our community for a long time."
I am certain I cannot do justice to Ms. Lettie, and I invite you to post your best memory or fondest sentiments.
The viewing for Ms. Lettie will be at Crown Hill Memorial Chapel on tomorrow, March 4, from 5 pm to 8 pm (700 W. 38th Street). The service will be at Eastern Star's main campus, 5750 E. 30th Street, with doors open at 10:00 a.m. and the service starting at 10:45 a.m. The burial at Crown Hill will be private, but repast will be at the IBEW 481 Union Hall at 1828 N. Meridian Street from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Those who would like to share a memory of Lettie will be able to speak from the podium.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the “L. Oliver Family- Memorial Trust” and addressed to Council 62 at 1424 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis 46202 or Tehea Harding’s home address (6114 Cheshire Rd, Indpls., 46241).
Congressman Andre Carson offered the following tribute: "Lettie was a great leader and freedom fighter in the traditions of Fannie Lou Hamer, Shirley Chislom, Julia Carson and countless others."