November 16, 2007 Volume 108 Number 22

Hit-and-run driver kills Eugene labor activist

The labor movement mourned the loss of a Eugene activist leader last month. Lucy Lahr, age 45, was killed Oct. 18 by a hit-and-run driver as she was crossing a street in Eugene with her long-time partner Susan Wehner outside Sacred Heart Medical Center. Wehner was also seriously injured in the accident, but was released from the hospital after three days.

Lahr is described by those who knew her as an energetic figure who inspired others with her passion for justice. A 22-year employee of the Oregon Department of Human Services, Lahr was active in her union, the Service Employees International Union Local 503, and helped found the Eugene-Springfield Solidarity Network, which is now a chapter of the workers’ rights group Jobs with Justice.

Lahr was also chair of SEIU sublocal 205, and served as a labor representative on the local Workforce Investment Board.

Police arrested Robert T. Berryhill, 39, two days after the incident and charged him with felony hit-and-run and driving with a suspended license. Berryhill had earlier convictions of reckless driving and driving under the influence.

Lahr was born Aug. 23, 1962, in Bakersfield, Calif. She graduated from Southern Oregon State College in 1984. She and Wehner held a commitment ceremony in 1997, and exchanged vows on March 11, 2004, in Portland during the brief period of time when Multnomah County was issuing marriage licenses to same-sex partners.

Remembrances can be sent to the Lucy Lahr Memorial Fund at Oregon Community Credit Union.

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