The Village Hall municipal building will be renamed in honor of former Dolton Mayor and community leader, Thomas E. Harper during ceremonies set for this December, 2001.
Harper, who passed away on Jan. 10, 2001, served as mayor for one term, and also as the village police chief and as a local magistrate.
Harper, born in Dolton on May 27, 1911, worked for the Acme Steel Company in Riverdale in 1933. He helped to organize a union (known at the time as CIO) at Acme in 1937. He served on the union’s Legislative and Safety Committees and served five years as Vice President and six years as President of Chapter 31, District 5, Local 1053.
The Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) honored Harper on Dec. 16, 1991 with the USWA Union Pioneer Award. His name was placed on the “Pioneers Wall of Fame” in the United Steelworkers hall in Pittsburgh, PA. Harper was active in the founding of SOAR and served as the group’s first president of the local chapter.
Harper also served as a Justice of the Peace in Thornton Township for four years. He was elected for two six-year terms as Park Commissioner for the Dolton Park District. An opening became vacant for Police Magistrate in the Village of Dolton and he successfully filed for the position. He was nominated and elected, serving four terms (16 years).
Harper also served as a volunteer fireman for Dolton for 25 years. He joined in 1937 and was active until he was elected mayor, at which he had to step down from the volunteer force. He remained a member until his death.
Harper is survived by his wife, Margery Putnam Harper, two daughters and son-in-law, Sylvia Nelson and Helen and Larry Millar, and his grandchildren, Sara Millar and Andrew and Jennifer Jacobs Nelson.
Mayor William Shaw and members of the Village Board of Trustees will preside over the dedication, naming the municipal hall in honor of this longtime Dolton public servant.
“Mayor Harper was more than just a mayor. He was an inspiration to everyone in this village. He worked in many capacities to serve the people and he is admired as a role model for all of us,” Shaw said.