April 28, 2021

Honoring those we have lost

April 28 marks the observance of Workers’ Memorial Day in the United States. This day honors fallen workers and serves as a reminder that the fight for safe workplaces must continue. The last year has taken far too many from our ranks at AFSCME Council 31, from our entire nation. We honor their memory.

Click here for a list of Workers Memorial Day events around the state.

Take Action

Our union will continue to fight for safe jobs and stand united against the ongoing attacks on workers’ rights and protections. The PRO Act is a piece of national legislation that will empower workers to organize and collectively bargain and would hold corporations accountable for union busting. The House passed the PRO Act in March and it’s now before the Senate. President Biden has promised to sign the bill if it comes to his desk. Click here to learn more and help pass the PRO Act.

In Memoriam

If you know of an AFSCME Council 31 member who was mistakenly left off this list, please email us at

Cathi Gitchoff, AFSCME Local 799, April 5, 2021

Cathi was president of AFSCME Local 799 at Madison County and an AFSCME member and activist for 35 years. She died of injuries sustained during a fall.

Randy Hellmann, AFSCME Council 31, March 13, 2021

Randy was Council 31 staff representative and former AFSCME member and president of Local 943 at Pinckneyville Correctional Center. He died of COVID-19.

Rachel Vasquez, AFSCME Local 817, January 21, 2021

Rachel died in a car accident on her way to work at Dixon Correctional Center where she worked as a qualified mental health professional for Wexford Health Sources.

Fred Ripper, AFSCME Local 1110, January 3, 2021

Fred worked at Illinois State University and passed away due to COVID-19.

Mike Rauner, AFSCME Local 2515, December 12, 2020

Mike passed due to complications of COVID-19. He was a maintenance worker at Milestone, a community disability agency in Rockford, and served as Local 2515 president.

Mike Stroud, AFSCME Local 1909, December 5, 2020

Mike passed away from COVID-19. He was a lead locator with the city of Wilmington and an AFSCME union member for 24 years.

Terrance Young, AFSCME Local 785, November 29, 2020

Terrance passed away from COVID-19. He worked at Kiley Developmental Center.

Linda Savage, AFSCME Local 415, November 6, 2020

Linda passed away from COVID-19. A longtime caregiver and nurse, Linda worked for Wexford Health Sources at Vienna Correctional Center.

Nico Washington, AFSCME Local 3436, October 25, 2020

Nico worked at Illinois Youth Center Chicago as a Supply Supervisor. He died of COVID-19.

Donavin Enoah, AFSCME Local 2481, October 9, 2020

Donavin worked as a Recreation Specialist at Hope School.

Comfort Udochi Campbell, AFSCME Local 3534, July 25, 2020

Comfort worked as a DSP for 11 years at Glenkirk Association and died of COVID-19.

Linda Redd, AFSCME Local 448, May 30, 2020

Linda was a Child Protection Specialist in Rockford. She died of COVID-19.

Raul Mascote, AFSCME Local 791, May 21, 2020

Raul was the Assistant Groundskeeper at Joliet Park District.

Walter Veal, AFSCME Local 2645, May 16, 2020

Walter worked as a Mental Health Technician II at Ludeman Developmental Center. He passed away from COVID-19.

Jose Veloz III, AFSCME Local 2645, April 28, 2020

Jose worked as a Support Service Coordinator at Ludeman Developmental Center. He passed away from COVID-19.

Cephus Lee, AFSCME Local 2645, April 25, 2020

Cephus worked as a Support Service Worker at Ludeman Developmental Center. He passed away from COVID-19.

Faith Evans, AFSCME Local 2946, April 19, 2020

Faith was an Administrative Assistant 3 at the city of Chicago.

Rashaad Addison, AFSCME Local 779, April 17, 2020

Rashaad was a Juvenile Justice Specialist at IYC Harrisburg. He passed away in a car accident returning home from work.

Michelle Abernathy, AFSCME Local 2645, April 13, 2020

Michelle was a Residential Services Supervisor at Ludeman Developmental Center and previously worked as a Child Protection Specialist at DCFS as a member of AFSCME 2081. She passed away from COVID-19.

Alfred Adesemowo, AFSCME Local 2871, April 2020

Alfred worked as a DSP at Clearbrook. He passed away from COVID-19.

Michael Head, AFSCME Local 2806, March 27, 2020

Michael worked the front desk at the IDHS Woodlawn Family Community Resource Center as a Public Aid Eligibility Assistant. He passed away from COVID-19.

Thank you to members across the state who have let Council 31 know about these coworkers who have passed away this year:

Robert Jay Stone, AFSCME Local 2946, union steward for 25+ years, March 17, 2021 

Eric Grimm, former Illinois State Museum curator and world-renowned scientist, November 15, 2020 

Christopher Whitfield, AFSCME Local 1866, Stateville Correctional Center, 2021 

Darnell Hamlett, AFSCME Local 505, Department of Transportation, December 24, 2020 

Mustafa "Stan" Cadet Azeem, AFSCME Local 1891, Security Monitor at the Evanston Public Library, May 18, 2020 

Michelle Whitley, AFSCME Local 2971, Child Protection Specialist in the Charleston DCFS Field Office, August 19, 2020  

John Fugate, AFSCME Local 981, Food Service, November 15, 2020  

Michael “Ed” Ray, AFSCME Local 981, Building Services, May 8, 2020 

Ann Ghiotto, AFSCME Local 674, Human Service Caseworker, July 30, 2020 

Stacey Jones, AFSCME Local 3486, adult probation officer, October 13, 2020  

Kathryn “Katy” Pyer, AFSCME Local 3700, Office Support Specialist, December 11, 2020 

Stephanie Shonkwiler, AFSCME Local 3700, Special Event Facilitator 

Judy Mann-Hamden, AFSCME Local 505, Chicago Department of Public Health, February 2021  

Teresa Bradley, AFSCME Local 505, Chicago Department of Public Health, March 2020  

James RouchosAFSCME Local 505, Chicago Department of Public Health, April 2020  

Degen Sanders, AFSCME Local 1175, Menard Correctional Center, Correctional Officer, November 1, 2020 

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