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Justin Ostro of West Hartford, CT, was a man of rock-solid integrity, principle, honesty, generosity, love for his family, and a life-long passion to fight to better the lives of working people. He lived a long, strong, vibrant, and healthy life. Justin passed away peacefully with his loving family by his side on June 16, 2022, at the age of 94.
He was a loving father to four children; Patricia King Mumford, Michael Ostro, Maureen Ostro, and John Ostro. A devoted grandfather to four grandchildren; Michael Tomeo, Kristen Helin, Bryan Davis, and Sean Ostro. And a caring great grandfather to five great grandchildren, Emma Tomeo, Michael Tomeo, and Alex Tomeo, Mikayla Helin, and Isabella Helin.
Justin created a special connection to every place he worked or lived, but none as much as his beloved Newfound Lake in New Hampshire. He always reverently referred to Newfound Lake as “God’s Country”. It was here that he initially retired, and this is where his newfound time was dedicated to his family. There were countless family gatherings on this lake where his children and grandchildren learned to swim, water ski, drive boats in the warm months – and to snow ski, and just walk across the frozen lake in the winter. At any time of the year, it was a place to just gather around for big, shared family meals overlooking this special lake. It was a place to have fun, recharge, relax, and really commune with the beauty of nature all around.
He later moved to The Villages in Central Florida – a big, friendly “Town-square” style community with lots of activities to do. The Villages served a new place for family to gather in the warmth and sunshine. One of his favorite times were getting together with his large group of friends (referred to lovingly as the “Happy Hour Gang”) in one of the town squares to eat, drink, and of course be merry. He cherished those extraordinary friendships.
After 17 years in The Villages, Justin decided to move closer to family back in Connecticut. He lived a very happy, healthy, and independent life at Seabury in Bloomfield, CT for nearly four years.
Justin Ostro was born in 1927 on the West Side of Manhattan. He grew up in a pro-union community and began his life-long journey in the union movement at 16 by becoming a member of the Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees Union, Local 6.
In 1943, at the age of 17, he joined the United States Maritime Service and the National Maritime Union – and served at sea as a Merchant Marine during WWII. He had been serving nearly a year in Europe when the war ended. He was an extremely proud and dedicated American. After leaving military service, he resumed his union life by working for Home Linen Supply and joining his first union – the Amalgamated Clothing Workers.
Justin’s entire professional life revolved around the union movement – always looking out for working people. His career started at Republic Aviation on Long Island, NY, as a structural aircraft mechanic, where he first joined the International Association of Machinists (IAM). Justin quickly became a union shop steward to speak for those with no voice. It was there and then that he fully embraced the union cause.
He worked his way up through the ranks and soon became President of his local union where he became a tenacious negotiator securing major contracts on behalf of the workers. As an elected leader of the Long Island Federation of Labor, he along with his group met with President Lyndon Johnson to discuss union matters. He also served on the New York State Council of Machinists.
In 1966, he relocated to West Hartford, Connecticut and became a Grand Lodge Representative of the IAMAW in East Hartford as chief negotiator for the workers at Pratt & Whitney. Here, he also served as President of the Hartford Labor Council, and Vice President of the Connecticut State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.
In 1977, Justin was elected as a General Vice President serving the U.S. Western Territories and moved to Southern California. Here, he negotiated major contracts with Boeing and Lockheed, continuing to help improve the lives of workers on an even larger scale.
As GVP in 1979, United Farm Workers President Cesar Chavez, was locked in a tough labor dispute after thousands of its union members demanded better pay from corporate lettuce growers in California. Justin and Cesar worked closely together as IAMAW members stood in solidarity. They supported the strikers by fundraising and offering donations.
Justin was also elected for several terms to the Democratic National Committee where he served as a delegate to many Democratic conventions. While in California, he served as Vice President of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO. He happily retired in 1992 to spend time with his loved ones.
Charitable donations can be made to:
THE MAYHEW PROGRAM
*click on link below*
under "Memorial Contributions"
Wednesday, June 22, 2022
4:00 - 8:00pm (Eastern time)
Mangano Family Funeral Home, Inc.
Thursday, June 23, 2022
Starts at 9:15am (Eastern time)
Saints Cyril & Methodius R.C. Church
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