Gerald “Jerry” Lantto, a retired assistant directing business representative for the International Association of Machinists (IAM)-Woodworkers regional council (now IAM District W24), passed away Sept. 19 at his home in Coos Bay while surrounded by his family. He was 85.
Before the International Woodworkers of America (IWA) merged with the Machinists to create W24, Lantto was the auditor at the IWA’s headquarters in Gladstone, in the same building as the union’s merged regional office.
Lantto served as president of the Southwestern Oregon Central Labor Council for nearly 12 years, and was a member of the Oregon AFL-CIO Executive Board through three decades starting in the mid-1970s.
He joined the Woodworkers union in 1958 after taking a job as a millworker at Coos Head Timber. Prior to that he worked construction and was a member of the Laborers Union. He put in 11 years at Coos Head, and then took a job in a Georgia-Pacific sawmill.
In 1970 he became a field representative for IWA Local 3-116, the Coos Bay-North Bend area’s biggest labor organization at the time, with more than 5,000 members. The local has undergone several mergers and today is Local Lodge W261 with offices in North Bend and Central Point.
During his years as labor council president he served on the Coos County government’s Budget Committee and was active in the Democratic Party, serving as a precinct committee person in the neighborhood where he lived.
After retiring at age 63 he continued to represent IAM-W261 as a delegate to the central labor council, state labor federation, and Oregon Machinists Council.
Gerald Roy Lantto was born July 12, 1935, in Calumet, Michigan. He was one of seven children. His family moved to Coos Bay when he was two years old. He attended Marshfield High School.
He and his wife Rosetta were married Oct. 5, 1957, and remained in Coos Bay where they raised their family.
Lantto is survived by daughters Tina George of Coos Bay, Karma Schellong of Coos Bay, and Sandra Tedford of North Bend; sons Jerald Wilson of North Bend, and David Lantto of Coos Bay; 11 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Rosetta, and daughter, Cinda Stott.
The family suggests memorial contributions to be directed to the Nancy Devereux Center of Coos Bay, Oregon, 1200 Newmark Ave, Coos Bay, OR 97420.
A private service will be held at the Sunset Memorial Park Mausoleum in Coos Bay.