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Thomas Kennedy

Born: 2-Nov-1887
Birthplace: Lansford, PA
Died: 19-Jan-1963
Location of death: Hazelton, PA
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, St. Gabriel's Cemetery, Hazleton, PA

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic [1]
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Labor Leader
Party Affiliation: Democratic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: UMW President, 1960-63

Born into a mining family, Thomas Kennedy's father was killed in a mining accident in 1903, when Thomas was 16 and already working as a miner as well. He became active in union politics by 1905, and at the age of 22 he was chosen President of UMW District 7, one of the three Pennsylvania districts. Although lacking formal education, he was unanimously selected UMW Secretary-Treasurer, for a time served concurrently as Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania, and upon becoming Vice President of the UMW in 1947 was groomed as President John L. Lewis's replacement. Upon the resignation of Lewis, the UMW Executive Board selected Kennedy as replacement, and he ran for and won the Presidency in his own right in the 1960 UMW election. Almost immediately, a new law forced disclosure of UMW finances, revealing for the first time the union's assets to be above $110M, not including a retirement fund of similar size -- probably the richest union in the United States. He was, unfortunately, a benign but weak President and was plagued by health issues. Vice President W. A. Boyle became acting President in 1962, and Kennedy died the following year, with Boyle replacing him for the next decade.


[1] St. Gabriel's Roman Catholic Church, Hazelton, PA.

Father: Peter Kennedy (d. 1903 mining accident)
Mother: Mary Boyle
Wife: Helen Melley (m. 23-Jul-1912, d. 12-Dec-1953 heart attack, one son, one daughter)
Son: Thomas, Jr.
Daughter: Mrs. Thomas Noonan
Wife: Evelyn Summers (secretary, m. 12-Nov-1959)

    United Mine Workers of America President (1960-63)
    United Mine Workers of America VP (1947-60)
    Lieutenant Governor of Pennsylvania (1935-39)
    United Mine Workers of America Secretary-Treasurer (1925-47)
    United Mine Workers of America President, District 7 (1910-25)
    United Mine Workers of America Executive Board, District 7 (1908-10)
    United Mine Workers of America Secretary, Local 1738 (1903-08)
    American Academy of Political and Social Science
    American Association for Labor Legislation
    Fraternal Order of Eagles
    Friendly Sons of St. Patrick
    Knights of Columbus
    National Catholic Welfare Council


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