Montana AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Al Ekblad Remembers Brother Dan Newman

Brother Dan Newman passed away on May 14, 2020. Montana AFL-CIO Executive Secretary Al Ekblad reflects on his time with Brother Dan.

“Brother Dan Newman passed away on May 14th, 2020, in Elliston surrounded by his immediate family and his dogs; but Dan had another family and that was workers across the state.  Dan had been a member of several unions and an advocate for all workers throughout his life.

“I met Dan Newman when I first went to work for the Montana AFL-CIO in 1987.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure if he was the craziest SOB I had ever met or the smartest.  Turns out, he was both.  Dan was simply one of the most unique individuals I’ve ever known.  

“Dan was comfortable in any situation.  He could talk with business executives, political leaders and professionals, but what made him special was his ability to talk with and respect every blue collar worker he came in contact with.  To his very core, Dan respected the work that every worker did, and he believed we all brought value to our place in the world.  Dan was always ready with a word of encouragement, but he was also ready to tell you that you had screwed up when you did.

“Dan was also very competitive about everything he did.  It didn’t matter if it was fighting for funding to help workers or nerf basketball in the conference room of the Montana AFL-CIO.  He was even competitive about putting stamps on envelopes when we would do large mailings. Dan wanted to win.  He taught me to trust my instincts, to stand up when you needed to and to blow off some steam when you could.

“The greatest compliment I can give someone is, “you made a difference” during your time on this planet.  Dan, you always had a vision of how to make this place we call home better, whether it was a new employment and training program for workers or a golf course in Elliston.  Brother Dan—you made a difference!”

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