The last time I talked with Althea she was yelling at me.
It wasn't me, it was something happening that wasn't right. That was her way, sometimes. She had an immense amount of life's wisdom. She was a passionate person who loved her family and was so loyal to her friends. I think sometimes "conservatives" and Republican leaders (certainly) don't have the loyalty that is so evident in union leaders. When there is trouble...a friend has your back. Althea always had my back. She is a person I loved, respected, and will miss.
On the surface I am sure we were an unlikely pair. But, every so often there is a mutual respect that comes together. I will be speaking about her on Saturday night at the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. Her picture will sit on my desk.
Mrs. Althea (Jones) Lute was born February 5, 1951, in Seattle, Washington to the union of Josh and Josephine (Robinson) Jones. Althea was preceded in death by her parents and oldest sister Hattie Mae. She accepted Christ as a child and was christened at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church.
Althea attended Garfield High School; and enjoyed playing basketball and baseball. She married and had three children. In 1972 she began working the night shift at University of Washington while attending school during the day. She obtained her diploma at Seattle Central Community College, and continued her education and later earned an AA degree. While working at the UW, Althea quickly became a shop steward for Local 1488 of the Washington Federation of State Employees/AFSCME Council 28, AFL-CIO; later becoming president; After years as a Local 1488 activist, vice president and president Althea won election as WFSE/AFSCME's statewide vice president in 1992. She was the first African-American elected to hold that post. Always involved in numerous job actions and rallies, Althea managed to meet and marry John Lute, the love of her life, and to this union came one child.
Althea was later employed at Harborview Medical Center as a patient registration representative. She stepped down from this position to take a position as an organizer with WFSE/AFSCME. She eventually became organizing director and then legislative and political action field coordinator.
In 2006 Althea retired from the union and at that time she stated: "I never say Goodbye, I just say see you later."
Althea was a member of Ebenezer AME Zion Church, she grew to love the word of God. Throughout her life she displayed empathy and compassion towards children
by reaching out to help them. Althea professed faith and hope in Christ and during her final days she expressed a desire to go home to be with the Lord "where the street of the city is pure gold, as transparent glass." She departed this life, June 22, 2011, surrounded by her devoted husband and loving
family at Swedish Medical Center.
Althea leaves to treasure her memory her loving and devoted husband, John David Lute, children; Michelle Antoinette, San Diego, CA, Willie Franklin, Jr., Seattle, WA, Nathan Andre, Tukwila, and Laura Joshett, Auburn, WA, Julian David, George Lee, Jr., Israel, Francis Xavier; Seven grandchildren; Christiana Marquedda, Christopher Jr. Layonna Neiyeera, Santino Vohari, Jeremiah David Andre, LaClyra Antoinette, Kingg LaRae; and one great grand daughter; Aliciana
Marie. Four sisters: Brenda Ann, Gloria Jean, Esther Mae and Pamila Lee, all of Seattle, WA, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and God children.