Harold Woods, longtime Knoxville labor leader and Democrat activist, dies aged 74

From the News Sentinel:
Harold G. Woods, retired longtime president of the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Area Central Labor Council, active Democrat and community leader, died early Monday at his home of complications of liver cancer.

He was 74.

Mr. Woods’ wife, Sylvia, said he was diagnosed with bile duct cancer in September 2011. After it was removed and he had radiation and chemotherapy, he was declared cancer free in April 2012. But the following July he was told he had liver cancer.

Mr. Woods tried various therapies and finally had to make a decision about whether to continue them. He decided not to, which gave him a better quality of life, his wife said.

During his 24 years as Central Labor Council president, he represented the United Steelworkers Local 309, which was at the Alcoa Inc. plant where he was employed. He continued to join union members there after he retired when they picketed over company plans.

..Mr. Woods also briefly was president of the state AFL-CIO, and organized labor representatives to lobby the state Legislature, she said.

Besides the United Way, he was active in Boy Scouts, Child and Family Service, Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Adopt-a-School and the Community Action Committee.

Among awards he received were the national Joseph A. Beirne Community Services Award by the United Way of America’s Volunteer Leaders Conference, the highest award the United Way grants a labor leader. Mr. Woods was the first in the Southeast to receive it. He also received the Jayne Thomas Grassroots Volunteer Recognition Award given by the National Association of Community Action Agencies.

Mr. Woods and his wife, also long associated with the labor movement, were honored during the Truman Day dinner of the Knox County Democratic Party in September. He was a longtime member of the Tennessee Democratic Executive Committee and had hoped to seek re-election.