Henry J. Foner, the popular emcee at the reunions of the Veterans of Abraham Lincoln Brigade in New York City for many years, died on January 11 at age 97.
Mr. Foner who lost his academic job along with his three older brothers in the 1940s because of Communist ties, became a labor leader of Fur, Leather and Machine Workers Union.
A story about Mr. Foner was described in the New York Times (1/19/2017):
In 2008, the morning after he underwent hip replacement surgery, Mr. Foner was visited in his hospital room by his surgeon.
“I expected the routine inquiry about my condition,” Mr. Foner recalled, “and almost fell out of my bed when he asked me, as though he were talking to my body, ‘Which side are you on?’”
The question was not only surprising — coming from the surgeon who had only recently operated on him — but it also happened to be the title of an anthem of the labor movement.
Naturally, Mr. Foner pointed to his left side.
Read more obituary of Mr. Foner here.