The IAM Midwest Territory mourns the death of retired District 10 Directing Business Representative Richard “Dick” Presser. Presser passed away Thursday, January 21, 2016, at the age of 86.
Presser joined IAM Local 1862 while working at the Ladish Company in Cudahy, WI, shortly after high school in 1947. He left for a six-year stint to serve in the U.S. Army. Upon returning, he returned to Ladish where he served as Steward, Chief Steward, Secretary-Treasurer and Local Lodge President.
From 1967 to 1981, Presser served terms as a District 10 Business Representative and Assistant Directing Business Representative. In 1981, he was elected Directing Business Representative and remained in that position for 14 years until his retirement.
Presser dedicated many years of service to labor, government and his community. His leadership roles included being a member of the IAM National Planning Committee; President of the Midwest States Council; member of the IAM National Pension Review Committee; Guide Dogs of America Board of Directors; Executive Board member of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO; President of the Wisconsin Citizen Action Coalition; member of the Wisconsin Labor/Management Council; Care-Plus Dental Board of Directors; Blue Cross Blue Shield Board of Directors; the Prime Care Labor Advisory Committee; Acting Chair of the Private Sector Council, Member of the Wisconsin Unemployment Compensation Advisory Committee; and Advisory Committee Member for the School for Workers.
While Presser dedicated his professional life to improving workers’ rights and social justice, his true love and devotion was his family. He is preceded in death by his wife of 53 years, Mary, and survived by his six children and numerous grandchildren.
“Anyone who knew Dick knew he was at his happiest on weekends having his family over for swimming and barbeques,” reads an IAM District 10 statement. “Our condolences and thanks go out to the Presser family for having shared this remarkable man with the IAMAW for all these years.”
“Dick was a true trade unionist dedicated to the working families of the IAM and entire state of Wisconsin,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “He’ll be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”