By KERRY SMITH, EDITOR, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS & REVIEW MAGAZINE
The construction industry in St. Louis and Kansas City, MO, Southern Illinois and beyond is mourning the passing of a long-time staunch advocate and true labor leader with a fierce work ethic, an outspoken nature and huge heart for supporting workers and their families.
Terry Nelson, former executive secretary-treasurer of the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, died Thursday, Jan. 3. Nelson, who was known for being frank, passionate and innovative, led the Carpenters for 22 years as its chief executive until his retirement in September 2015.
Nelson’s successor, Al Bond, said Thursday that Nelson’s legacy is profound and wide-reaching.
“Terry spent his entire career advancing the carpentry trade, from his early days as an apprentice (in the 1960s) to his two decades leading our organization,” Bond said. “He ushered our union through the Great Recession, sought pay increases for our members and developed innovative programs to keep our members and contractors leaders in the marketplace.”
Known for his outspokenness, Nelson was arguably the most progressive labor leader in the Greater St. Louis construction industry. But he was also widely known for his tireless drive and compassion in caring for Carpenters members and their families.
“Terry cared deeply for the St. Louis community as a whole,” said Bond. “He was involved in numerous ventures, trying to help improve the lives of the disadvantaged. More than anything, Terry will be remembered for his unwavering commitment to supporting working families and improving the lives of our members with fair wages, superior benefits and the ability to retire with dignity. Our entire Carpenters family mourns his passing, and our prayers are with his family and friends at this time.”