Bill Fritz, 1945-2013


Bill Fritz

Longtime union activist Bill Fritz, the first coordinator of the Portland Center of the Labor Education and Research Center at the University of Oregon, died suddenly in his home in Portland on March 4. He was 67.

Fritz was born Oct. 18, 1945, in San  Francisco. He graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep in 1964. He studied internal relations at San Francisco State University; engineering economics at Santa Clara University; psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and speech communications at Portland State University.

Fritz is a former director of the Labor Studies Program at San Francisco Community College.

He moved to Portland in the late 1970s to work for the Oregon Federation of Teachers. He later worked for Oregon AFSCME Council 75 before taking the job with LERC.

“It was Bill Fritz who first recruited me to AFSCME in 1978,” noted AFSCME Council 75 Executive Director Ken Allen.

Fritz left LERC in 1994. He was succeeded at the Portland Center by Barbara Byrd, the current secretary-treasurer of the Oregon AFL-CIO.

Fritz then worked for Oregon Senior and Disabled Services before retiring in 2005.

Fritz was married to Nita Brueggeman, a former manager of the NW Joint Board of the Clothing & Textile Workers Union (which later merged with UNITE HERE).

In retirement, Fritz divided his time between his family, Oregon Democratic politics, and cultural activities. He loved the performing arts in Portland, and he and Nita volunteered at organizations such as White Bird, the Oregon Symphony, the Portland Jazz Festival, and ART.

Fritz is survived by his wife; step-son, Russel; step-daughter  Gayle; and four  grandchildren.

A memorial was held  March 10.

Donations in his memory may be made to any arts organization.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read more