Trade Union Secretary dies aged 85

A trade union secretary died on Thursday aged 85 after a long battle with cancer.

John Purdy died in hospital at the Royal Alfred hospital in Melbourne, his wife Jane said.

He was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in 2013, aged 79, and had been undergoing treatment since that time, she said.

“It’s a very difficult time, a very tough time to be in,” she said, adding that he was “absolutely” grateful for the work his union had done in the past.

“The union was always the glue that held the whole union together,” she told ABC radio.

“But John had a wonderful sense of humour and he was a great guy and he just took care of everybody.”

The retired trade union director was the last person to speak to the media about his death, and it was not immediately clear how he died.

Mr Purdy had been a member of the Australian Federation of Trade Unions since 1976, and worked at the time of his death.

He had served as union secretary of the Trade Union and Labour Union of Australia (TRUWA), an organisation that represented about 25,000 members across the Australian economy, including construction and manufacturing.

He joined the organisation in 1972 and worked for more than 30 years.

“He was the only trade unionist I ever had to work with,” Mr Purdy’s son, Ian, told the ABC.

“There was no other person like him, there was no person like John Purdy in the union that I know of.”

Mr Pundy’s wife, Jane, said his wife was shocked to learn of his passing.

“She was shocked and saddened,” she explained.

“I don’t know how she could possibly comprehend how it has affected her and her family.”

“We just want to know where he is, and he is not coming back.”

Mr John Pundy died in the hospital at Royal Alfred in Melbourne.

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