Steelworker Ivory L. Dennis, 73


Ivory L. Dennis, a union official and former Steelworker, died Wednesday of collapsed lungs at Northwest Hospital Center. The Woodlawn resident was 73.

He retired in 1988 as a blast furnace worker at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s Sparrows Point plant, where he had worked since 1953.

Active in the affairs of Steelworkers Local 2610, he was elected shop steward in 1956. He also had been a grievance committeeman and chairman of the civil rights committee. He represented the union at international conventions and was a delegate to state and district conferences. In 1973, he was elected president of the local for a three-year term.

"He wasn't the regular type of union representative," said McCall White, who knew Mr. Dennis for 40 years. "He was special, very special. He distinguished himself in every union position he held. Wherever he went, he was respected."

Joseph Butler, acting president of Local 2610, echoed those sentiments. "He was a totally dedicated union member and union representative. He spent many hours of his own time trying to resolve the problems of our union members. It wasn't unusual to see him here at the union hall, which closed at 5 p.m., until 7 or 8 at night," Mr. Butler said.

Mr. Dennis was a native of Mobile, Ala., who was educated in schools there. He also studied at Dundalk Community College and at Pennsylvania State University.

He joined the merchant marine in 1935. During World War II, he was cited for bravery when a ship he was on was torpedoed and he saved the lives of 12 men. They spent nearly three weeks on a life raft before they were rescued.

"He came to Baltimore on a ship, liked the city and decided to stay here," recalled his second wife, the former Linda B. Cheatham of Baltimore, whom he married in 1988. His first wife, Essie Dennis, whom he married in 1935, died in 1981.

He was a member of the Union Man's Club, The Concerned Steelworkers, the Black Union Leaders Caucus and other organizations. Fond of traveling, he had been around the world five times.

Services were set for 11:30 a.m. today at the White Stone Baptist Church, 3005 Baker St., Baltimore.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Robert D. Dennis of Detroit; four brothers, Leo Dennis, Damon Dennis, Leonard Dennis and Clemmie Dennis, all of Mobile; and two sisters, Gertrude Jones of Prichard, Ala., and Rosilee Franklin of Mobile.

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