Gus Tyler, Labor Activist and Forward Columnist, Is Dead at 99

By Forward Staff

Published June 05, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Gus Tyler, a longtime labor activist and a Forward contributing editor, who wrote the newspaper’s “Der Yiddish Vinkl” column well into his 90s, died June 3 in Sarasota, Fla. He was 99.

Tyler worked for more than 40 years for the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union — serving in various capacities, including as political director, director of education and assistant president. A 1988 Newsday profile of Tyler said that his tenure at the ILGWU “helped make the union one of the most progressive and enlightened in organized labor,” and his prolific writing gave “labor and democratic socialism a cerebral underpinning that speaks louder than rants and posturing.”

Tyler began writing for the Yiddish Forward in 1932, leaving a few years later to take a job at the ILGWU; he started writing for the English edition of the Forward when it launched in 1990. Tyler penned “Der Yiddish Vinkl” — billed as “a weekly briefing on the mother tongue” — until 2006. He continued to publish opinion columns and “Tyler, Too” blog posts until 2008. Tyler was also a longtime commentator on WEVD, the radio station that was owned by the Forward Association.

Commemorating the Forward’s 110th anniversary in 2007, Tyler, in this column, recalled his mother’s anger when a fishmonger handed her a purchase wrapped in the newspaper. “My mother literally threw the package back at the fish handler. Startled, he said, ‘What’s the matter, lady?’ ‘It’s the Forward,’ she shouted. `If you have to wrap the fish in a paper, use The Times.’”

In addition to his work for the Forward, Tyler authored more than a dozen books, including a history of the ILGWU, and contributed to such magazines as The New Leader and Dissent.

Born Augustus Tilove to immigrant parents in Brooklyn, N.Y., he would change his last name to Tyler — in honor of Wat Tyler, the leader of a 14th-century English peasant rebellion.

Tyler, who lived for many years in Great Neck, N.Y., is survived by two children, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren; he was predeceased by his wife of more than 60 years, Marie Tyler.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.