A steelworker and activist who was committed to human rights

Victor M. Negron, 80, of Conshohocken, a steelworker, youth-sports official, and community activist, died of heart failure June 24 at Montgomery County Hospital in Norristown.

A native of Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, Mr. Negron became active in the Puerto Rican independence movement while attending the University of Puerto Rico. He and his fellow students staged a strike at the school to protest restrictions on freedom of speech.

Victor M. Negron

In 1948, he moved to the U.S. mainland, he later told a reporter, because he was disillusioned by repressions in Puerto Rico.

He became a migrant worker and planned to mind his own business, he said, but within a week he was organizing protests against the low hourly wages.

He worked for a time as an attendant at Norristown State Hospital, and then, for 27 years, he was a finisher at the Allenwood Steel plant in Conshohocken. He chaired the human-rights committee of the United Steelworkers of America, Local 9462.

In the late 1970s, he was laid off from Allenwood and eventually became a Montgomery County correctional officer. He retired in the late 1980s.

Mr. Negron was a Democratic committeeman for 40 years in Plymouth Township and was a member of the Montgomery County Democratic Committee.

He served on the board and was past treasurer of Acción Comunal Latinoamericana de Montgomery County (ACLAMO), which provides assistance to low-income county residents, especially those of Hispanic descent. In the 1970s, Mr. Negron took the first door-to-door census of the Latino community in the county for ACLAMO.

He and his first wife, Estelle Negron, had a son, Victor J., who died of cancer in 1973 at age 22. After his death, the couple helped establish the Conshohocken-Plymouth-Whitemarsh unit of the American Cancer Society, and coordinated transportation to hospitals for cancer patients. Estelle Negron died in 1985.

Mr. Negron became involved in youth sports in Plymouth Township when his son was growing up. He was a founding father of the Plymouth Township Little League in 1960, and was a coach on the township team that won the 1968 Pennsylvania State Championship. Later he was an umpire and served on the board of Pennsylvania Little League District 22. He was also a coach, referee and treasurer for the Plymouth Jr. ABA, a youth basketball program, and was a member of the International Biddy Basketball Tournament Committee in 1985 and 2005.

He was refereeing basketball games in his 70s, his friend Bill Samarin said, and umpired softball games until two years ago. He loved sports, his wife, Olga Negron said, especially Phillies baseball.

He and his wife were teenage sweethearts in Puerto Rico and rekindled their romance after their spouses died. They married in 1989.

In addition to his wife of 18 years, Mr. Negron is survived by stepsons Tito and Pin Sierro; five grandchildren; and 18 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 4 p.m. today at Plymouth Valley Community Church, where he was a lay teacher, 1090 Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting. Burial will be at 1 p.m. tomorrow in George Washington Memorial Park, Plymouth Meeting.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.