Charles Scontras, 91, popular educator, author, Maine labor historian – Press Herald

8March 2021

Charles Scontras Maine AFL-CIO picture Charles Scontras, a recognized educator, author and Maine labor historian, passed away Sunday. He was 91. Scontras was a teacher at the University of Maine for 36 years and held positions in the modern society, history and government departments. He retired in 1997 and continued to act as a research study partner at the Bureau of Labor Education at UMaine.

His child, Dianna Scontras of Stow, Ohio, shared the news of her dad’s passing on Facebook.

“It is with excellent sadness and shock that our father died all of a sudden and unexpectedly the other day,” she composed. “He was a man of enormous understanding and knowledge, had a tremendously caring heart, and (was) a perpetual motivation to all.”

The Maine AFL-CIO provided a declaration Monday afternoon, keeping in mind Mr. Scontras’ devotion to sharing the history of Maine employees’ battles.

“Professor Scontras informed the stories of common Maine individuals banding together for dignity in the office and society, constructing organizations and permanently having a hard time for basic rights in the workplace,” said Matt Schlobohm, executive director of the Maine AFL-CIO, in a composed statement. “At an essential level, Charlie informed the ongoing story of daily working class Mainers fighting to end up being people in the work environment, not residential or commercial property. More than any other human being to stroll this earth, he narrated, catalogued, and kept alive the history of Maine employees, our unions and cumulative battles. He taught us our working class and labor history frequently disregarded in schools or books. We are all permanently grateful and much better for Charlie’s work. Our ideas go out to Charlie’s family, buddies and the many individuals he has actually touched through his work.”

Scontras was the child of Greek immigrants and spent his early years in Old Orchard Beach, according to his bio. His mother was a fabric worker in Biddeford and his dad was a shoe technician. Scontras followed in his daddy’s steps and ended up being a shoe service technician, however later on followed his enthusiasm for education and ended up being a teacher at University of Maine in 1961.

Andy O’Brien, communication director for the Maine AFL-CIO, posted a tribute to Scontras on the Maine Working People History Facebook page.

He said Scontras “looked for to comprehend and document the history of how Maine employees organized and resisted versus the tyranny of big business– from the first strike of fishermen on Richmond Island in 1636 … to the union drives of workers at the Portland Museum of Art and nurses at Maine Medical Center today.”

“An instructor to the very end, Charlie invested his life investigating the history of collective battles of Maine workers and he never ever stopped advising us about those who battled and compromised before us for much better salaries, working conditions, office safety, the eight-hour day and self-respect in the office,” O’Brien composed.

Scontras authored more than a dozen books and numerous pamphlets about Maine labor history including “Organized Labor in Maine: Twentieth Century Origins,” “Organizing Labor and Labor Politics in Maine, 1880-1890” and “Two Decades of Organized Labor and Labor Politics in Maine, 1880-1900.” He was almost ended up with his latest book on ideology when he passed away.

In 1997, the Maine Department of Labor sought advice from Scontras as it commissioned a mural highlighting Maine’s labor history. Scontras worked carefully with Judy Taylor, the artist who produced the 11-panel mural illustrating historic scenes of the labor motion in Maine and the nation.

The mural, currently on display at the Maine State Museum, includes images of Rosie the Riveter, a shoe worker strike in Lewiston, and of Scontras himself, teaching an apprentice how to hand-sew shoes.

The mural gained nationwide attention when previous Gov. Paul LePage bought it got rid of from the lobby of the Department of Labor in 2011, his first year in workplace. In a 2011 interview with ABC news, Scontras called the governor’s action an attempt “to erase part of our cultural history.”

“Everything in those murals is historically precise,” Scontras stated in the interview. “There’s no dispute about that.”

Gov. Janet Mills kept in mind Scontras on Monday as a male with a big heart, a precious teacher and true gentleman.

“He was passionate about the rights of working men and women, and he wove that passion into everything he composed and stated, from his frequent Facebook posts to large volumes on the history of the labor motion in Maine,” Gov. Mills composed in an e-mail. “I was honored to consider him a good friend and will miss our conversations and exchanges.”

Mr. Scontras was wed to Joanne Scontras for nearly 60 years. The couple resided in Cape Elizabeth and raised two children, Dan Scontras of Boston, and Dianna Scontras of Ohio.

Scontras was active on Facebook, publishing material on Maine history. The day before he died, Scontras posted a piece for Women’s History Month about ladies in the work environment and their struggles throughout the years for equal pay.

Hobbs Funeral Service House in South Portland is handling his services. A full obituary and service info will likely appear in Sunday’s newspaper.

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