Reuben Ash, 62, Baltimore Teachers Union official

July 25, 1998|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Reuben Ash, a former city schoolteacher and city teachers' union official, died Tuesday from a blood clot at Children's Hospital. The Northwest Baltimore resident was 62.

Mr. Ash was active with the Baltimore Teachers Union for nearly 30 years, helping to protect and negotiate the rights of teachers and paraprofessionals. He retired in 1996 as the BTU's director of organization.

"He was a real down-to-earth person and not one of those heady types," said Sharon Wilson, a BTU employee who knew Mr. Ash for more than 25 years. "He could really argue a point because he knew so much about school laws and union contracts."

Mr. Ash, who also helped establish guilds around the country, helped build and solidify the BTU with his knowledge of the school system's administrative policies, the school board's rules and the state's education laws.

He was past chairman of the union's sick-bank committee and the membership committee of the American Federation of Teachers Progressive Caucus. He was also a member of AFT's Black Caucus.

PTC A native of Danville, Va., Mr. Ash attended Virginia State University, Penn State University and the former Morgan State College.

He served in the Air Force before beginning his career as an administrator at the Johns Hopkins University in the early 1960s, and later taught at the old Margaret Brent Elementary School before working full time for BTU.

As a BTU advocate, he helped defeat an attempt to have an elected school board in 1984.

"What could an elected school board do in terms of funding education?" he said at the time. "They [board members] would )) still be at the mercy of the mayor and the City Council."

Mr. Ash enjoyed cooking, fishing, reading and sports.

Services are scheduled for 11: 30 a.m. Monday at St. Paul Baptist Church, 3101 The Alameda.

He is survived by his wife, the former Gloria Dockins, whom he married in 1974; two sons, Reuben J. Mahammad and Edward Foster, both of Baltimore; four daughters, Elvera Foster, Gloria Foster, Michelle Foster and Sonja Foster, all of Baltimore; his father, Melchior Ash Jr. of Danville; two brothers, Howard Ash of Danvilleand Melchior Ash III of Baltimore; and eight grandchildren.

Pub Date: 7/25/98

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