By John McNamara
Emma Pierce, matriarch of her family and a leader of boundless love, energy and spunk for Democrats and her New Britain community, died peacefully at home on Wednesday, January 29th at the age of 91.
For Democrats Emma has been “the life of the party” in so many ways. Having served with Emma on the DTC and as Party Chairman for more than two decades, I will forever miss her indomitable spirit, good humor and no-nonsense pursuit of winning elections for fairness and justice and in the best interests of her community. Let that spirit be an inspiration for others to carry on and to honor her memory.
Emma, with her union sister, the late Connie Wilson Collins, often at her side, represented her Church Street neighborhood on the Democratic Town Committee for decades. Many aspiring candidates for local and state offices were always wise to get the nod from Connie and Emma if they wanted to get endorsed and succeed. Their backing meant the support of a labor, broad-based coalition that was the heart and soul of the local Democratic Party for generations.
Emma Pierce rose up into leadership posts in the Democratic Party: DTC officer, state Central Committeewoman, treasurer of the state Federation of Black Women and eventually state Party Treasurer, taking on titles to match all the unofficial influence she exerted in the party through the years. In 2009 Emma was the first recipient of the state party’s Ella Grasso Award at the women’s leadership breakfast. In 2014 the William P. O’Neill award was bestowed on Emma at the annual CT Democrats’ dinner.
Married to the late Dallas Pierce, Emma worked and raised her family in New Britain. She is a beloved grandmother and great grandmother and renowned for her cooking at church, the Elks Lodge and Democratic Party events.
Those accolades and service to party sprung from Emma’s activity in the union movement.
In the United Auto Workers (UAW), she served as financial secretary of Local 133. She and her contemporaries carried their union’s commitment to economic and social justice to the workplace, the community and to party politics.
Services for Emma are incomplete at this time and will be announced. (1/30/2020)
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