I first came into contact with Fellow Worker Alan Curry in the late 1990s, not long after the early broadcasts of “The Labor Show” on WRPI-FM, which I hosted and produced. He phoned in to comment about a news story I had covered and did so several times in a short span of time after that. Soon, I began to encounter him at local labor events, often associated with the Capital District Solidarity Committee. It was logical for Alan to have gravitated to these rallies and protests, for he had been active in a similar group in Ohio before relocating to the Capital District of Upstate New York. It was back in Ohio where Alan also worked with peace and labor activist, attorney Staughton Lynd and Fellow Worker Ed Mann.

Alan worked in Youngstown, Ohio steel in his younger days and sustained a significant head injury which put him on disability. But his life’s work would be as a writer. He loved short story fiction and wrote it well. He would call and talk about writing and then began to share some pieces with me. Eventually, The Upstate N.Y. IWW Branch published his short story, “Apple Box”, as a recruitment pamphlet which tells a fictional version of the infamous IWW Free Speech Fights. He thought it was an honor and really enjoyed our use of it as union material. Another story which warns of the dangers of fascism will be published at a future date. He had some luck publishing other works of fiction with some literary journals, too.

It was an honor to get to know FW Curry, who eventually settled on the IWW as his refuge of world view. I recall a number of occasions where, in the days prior to his joining the IWW, he would often appear at local events where groups could set up literature tables, and his little card table had a small, hand lettered placard proclaiming, “Out Front with D.S.A. !” He had been active with the Democratic Socialists of America from his earlier activist digs in Youngstown. And I also had the honor of visiting Alan in a couple of the residences he maintained in Albany. His library of labor, socialist, radical history and anarchist writings was extensive. When he transitioned to assisted living, a big downsizing move, he gave away a great deal of his library, some of which now resides in the local Branch repository at the Social Justice Center in downtown Albany.

A shy and mostly solitary figure, Alan also enjoyed the idea he could pay his IWW dues to a living, breathing Delegate. I was lucky to have signed him up and collected his dues that way for over a decade. He was also a paralegal and had hoped to start to drum up some work in that area but didn’t have much success with it. Declining health did slow him down in his later years, so he was not seen at public events often due to mobility issues.

Alan had no family in the area and it is not known who may have survived him back in Ohio. We never learned much personal history but are proud to have known this stalwart defender of labor rights, the working class and an IWW member in good standing for 12 years before his passing in the fall of 2023.

I will never forget his gravelly, deliberate speech leaving messages on my answering machine. They typically were like this:

“Hello. This is me. I thought I’d check with you about paying some dues again because I think I’m behind again. Let me know. Goodbye.”

Rest in peace, rest in power! Fellow Worker Alan Curry, presente!

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