NORTH BERGEN, NJ – (October 7, 2020) Andrew Lee Laws, Sr. , who started his career as a longshoreman and member of the International Longshoremen’s Association in 1949, when Harry S. Truman was our U.S. President and Joseph Ryan led the ILA, and who would accumulate an amazing 70-plus years on the Texas waterfront, passed away on Sunday, October 4, 2020 at age 93.
A strong and steady presence at the ILA’s South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District headquarters for the past 30 years, Brother Laws has been a member of ILA Local 20 in Houston for nearly a half century. He originally joined ILA Local 329 in June 1949, days after completing a stellar high school career as class valedictorian and a stand-out basketball and track star. Later in 1949, he married Loyce (Lois) Mildred Nolan on September 17th and the couple would see their family grow, first with five children and expanding to today include 15 grandchildren; 33 great-grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren. Mrs. Laws passed away on November 17, 2007.
“Our ILA family has lost one of its most cherished gifts in Andrew Lee Laws, Sr.,” said International President Harold J. Daggett. “Brother Andrew was the consummate labor renaissance man, who could quote Biblical Proverbs as easily as contract provisions.”
“With his distinct and smooth baritone voice, Andrew Laws could raise it in solemn prayer before an ILA negotiating session, and then raise it again at the meeting fighting for an ILA member,” said Dennis A. Daggett, International Executive Vice President. “His accomplishments were great and his memory will endure.”
Brother Laws was born August 29, 1927 in Iago, Warton County, Texas, as the seventh of nine children.
At 17, he found the Galveston waterfront and the ILA. Less than two decades later, he would be elected President of ILA Local 329. His professional ILA career would see him occupy a number of important positions and serve on numerous ILA Wage Scale Committees.
At the ILA’s South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District convention in 1974, Brother Laws was elected Vice President. He later served on the Maritime-ILA PVW Board and served two terms on the Port of Galveston Wharves Board from 1999 to 2005.
Brother Laws joined the South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District Office in 1991 as a District Representative, a position he held until the time of his death.
Brother Laws received the Labor Leader Award from the ILA’s Civil Rights Committee in 2018 and previously was honored with an award presented by the NAACP.
Brother Laws held long-time membership in the First Union Baptist Church where he served as Deacon, Treasurer and Sunday School Superintendent.
Alan Robb, President of the ILA’s South Atlantic and Gulf Coast District will be organizing a Memorial Service for Brothers Laws in the near future. A private, family only Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, October 10, 2020 at the First Union Baptist Church, 1027 Avenue K., Galveston, Texas 77550.