William F. “Bill” Fogle, a longtime union representative for the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, died Friday at his Toledo home. He was 74.
Mr. Fogle died of cancer of the lungs and bones, said Janet Fogle, his wife of 48 years.
He was given a diagnosis of cancer in June, and, in a testament to his large and loving personality, celebrated his life on July 30 with toasts, roasts, and skits in the company of nearly 100 friends and family members.
He wanted the celebration — complete with happy, sad, and funny moments — instead of funeral services, his family said.
“We celebrated his life while he was alive,” said Mrs. Fogle. “That’s how he chose to do it.”
Mr. Fogle was born July 14, 1938, in Tyrone, Ky. He later moved to Lynchburg, Ohio, where he graduated from high school. Mr. Fogle and his wife met through friends and were married in 1964.
He did construction work and also worked in a shoe factory as a young man. His day job at the factory spurred his interest in the union, and he spent evenings working a union job before he was hired by AFSCME, Mrs. Fogle said.
In 1969, he joined AFSCME as an international representative serving locals in Ohio, and worked for the organization’s Ohio Council 8 from 1978 until 2009.
“He loved it in every way. He loved the working-class people, and he just felt that he was doing something that needed to be done for these people, and it was just such an important part of his life,” Mrs. Fogle said.
Mr. Fogle’s enthusiasm spilled into politics. He volunteered for the Democratic party and worked on campaigns, including the first congressional campaign of U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo).
The two remained in contact, and Miss Kaptur presented Mr. Fogle with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol before his death, his wife said.
Daughter Kristin Moore of Raleigh, the youngest of his three children, recalled her father’s love for politics, to which he introduced her as a child. She recalled participating as a youngster in marches in Washington, campaigning door-to-door with her father, and calling voters to encourage turnout.
“Politics were ingrained — making sure that you voted for something [with] workers’ rights in mind,” she said, adding that everywhere he went, her father made connections and stopped and talked to workers.
His family also described him as loyal, loving, hard-working, kind, and dedicated to not just his job but his family.
“If he believed in something, he worked himself to death for it, but he was always there for his family — just a nice balance, and we were very lucky,” Mrs. Fogle said.
Mr. Fogle loved unconditionally and was the kind of person with whom “you couldn’t help but be in a good mood,” his daughter said.
In his final months, he continued to live with zeal. He took a hot-air balloon ride in October in North Carolina and rode his motorcycle until Thanksgiving. His motorcycle and the group of friends with whom he regularly rode were a source of relaxation, Mrs. Fogle said.
Surviving are his wife, Janet; sons, Thomas and David Fogle; daughter, Kristin Moore, and two grandchildren.
The family suggests tributes be made to organizations of the donor’s choice.
Contact Vanessa McCray at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6065.