Theresa Samuelsen, longtime trade unionist from Brooklyn and mother of Transport Workers Union international president John Samuelsen, died Saturday. She was 84.
She suffered from multiple ailments and had been in declining health for some time, the union said.
Theresa Samuelsen passed away in the Gerritsen Beach house where she was raised by her mother, who emigrated from Ireland. Theresa and her husband raised five of their own children in the same home.
“She was both fierce and gentle, a classy blue-collar mom who loved her family and community,” her son John Samuelsen said. “She’s gone now to a well-deserved rest.”
A lifelong union activist, Theresa Samuelsen served as director of health and pension funds for the International Association of Machinists and the Teamsters before retiring.
Her husband, Warren (Bunky) Samuelsen, was a truck driver in the Meatpacking District and union activist who died in 2017.
Bunky and Theresa Samuelsen had eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
John Samuelsen credits his late parents with instilling him with working-class values during his upbringing in Gerritsen Beach.
“We knew our bread was buttered by the trade union,” John Samuelsen told The News in a 2009 interview. “We learned that from an early age.”
Once a subway track worker who worked the overnight shift, John Samuelsen became a shop steward in TWU Local 100 and was elected president of the union in 2007.
He served in that capacity until 2017, when he was elected head of the international TWU, representing 150,000 transit workers.
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