IN MEMORIAM: Longtime Illinois Labor leader Cecilia Fulte

Belleville, IL – Cecilia Fulte, a union activist and employee at Belleville Shoe Co. for 40 years, died Nov. 3, 2019 at the age of 97 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.

Sister “Celie” was a member of Boot and Shoe Workers Local 143, served as a trustee of the Belleville Trades and Labor organization, was an honorary member of the Southwestern Illinois Central Labor Council, Labor Woman of the Year in 1979, and president of the Union Label committee. She was also a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Belleville, for more than 50 years.

Sister Celie grew up on a farm west of Hecker, IL and married Raymond Fulte of Marissa in 1945 after he returned from serving in the Navy in World War II. They lived in Hecker and New Athens, then moved to Belleville in 1961. Raymond died in 1973.

A natural storyteller, she published the book, Memories of Cecilia Parker Fulte: In Her Own Words, in 2011. Sister Celie was cutting supervisor at Belleville Shoe, where she was a leader in the union. She retired in 1990 after 40 years.

Sister Celie is survived by her son Lonnie Fulte, daughter Lana Fulte Brede, three grandchildren, and numerous great-grand, step-grand, step-great-grand and step-great-great-grandchildren. She was the last survivor of 14 siblings.

A visitation and funeral mass were held at St. Augustine of Canterbury Catholic Church in Hecker.

The Southwestern Illinois Central Labor Council and East St. Louis Federation of Teachers extended sympathy to her family and friends. Memorials may be made to St. Augustine of Canterbury, 310 N. Main St., P.O. Box 126, Hecker IL 62248.

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