In Memoriam

AFT Michigan Members Lost to COVID-19

AFT Michigan will honor our members who have died by recognizing them in words, and by continuing our work for educational, racial, and economic justice.  If you know of an active or retired member who should be listed, please email

To read available obituaries, click on each person’s name in the list below.

Written by David Hecker:

For twenty years, John Elliott led the Detroit Federation of Teachers.  Last week John passed away, another victim of COVID-19. After rising through the ranks of the local, John served as president from 1981 – 2001.  He was an outspoken, smart, determined advocate for students, school communities, and, of course, the women and men who he was so proud to represent.  He led the union through contract negotiations, including strikes, was always in the center of the discussion concerning public education, and was a major player in the Democratic Party.

I can add other titles like AFT Vice President, Michigan AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer, Chair of the 14th District Democratic Party, member of the Michigan Employment Security Commission and many others.  But the titles, as impressive as they are, fall far short in describing the man. John understood that being the role of serving as leader of the state’s largest teachers’ local went far beyond making sure those he represented were treated right, as important as that is.  That his responsibilities included doing everything he could to protect and enhance public education. He understood that public education is the foundation of our democracy and that public education provides hope and opportunity for so many. That is why he was so active politically, as he knew that bargaining and dealing with workplace issues are just some of a union leader’s responsibilities.

I had the honor and privilege to work with John for many years, both during my time at the Metro Detroit AFL-CIO and with AFT Michigan.  Of many stories, there is one that, to me, says so much about who John was. Former DFT President Keith Johnson told me that when the DFT was bargaining, John would always remind his team that they had to “leave some money on the table for the support staff,” because after the DFT settled, the district would bargain with the support staff locals and they deserved raises as well. Thank you John, for all you have done for so many.

Obituary from the Eastern Echo:

Eastern Michigan Eastern Michigan University instructor passes away due to complications from COVID-19

In April 9th email to EMU students, faculty, and staff EMU president James Smith announced the death Marilyn Horace-Moore


In an email on April 9, 2020 to Eastern Michigan University students, faculty and staff university president James Smith announced the death of EMU instructor and advisor Marilyn Horace-Moore. Horace-Moore passed away due to complications from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Horace-Moore was a longtime instructor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminology. Prior to her passing her positions at EMU included lecturer I, internship coordinator, and undergraduate criminology and criminal justice advisor for the criminology and criminal justice program.

According her profile on the EMU campus directory her professional areas of expertise included law enforcement, courts and probation, racial issues, discrimination regarding race and females, and issues regarding prison reentry.

Horace-Moore was a graduate of EMU’s master of arts program in criminology, graduating in 1989. Prior to obtaining her master’s, she received a bachelor’s degree in 1978. After receiving her master’s degree she began a career with the police department of the City of Ypsilanti until she retired as a police lieutenant in 1994.

Since then she had taught courses at EMU in both criminology and sociology. Alongside being both an instructor and advisor, she worked with incoming students during fast-track orientation and was involved with the university’s athletic recruiting.

She is survived by her husband, two children and 11 grandchildren. A memorial for Horace-Moore has not yet been announced although it was stated that details regarding her memorial would be given by the university once they become available.

In an email to the university community on March 30, 2020 president Smith announced that the university would cease providing email notifications regarding individuals at EMU who test positive for COVID-19 cases unless recommended by the Washtenaw County Health Department. It was further stated that it was unlikely that campus-related spread of the virus was possible due to the majority of student and university employees having not been on the EMU campus since March 11, 2020.

In order to follow federal privacy regulations, particularly the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), no personal details or identifying information regarding individuals who test positive for the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus which causes COVID-19, can be released publicly by the university.

Obituary not yet available.

Obituary not yet available.

Obituary not yet available.