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Page 39
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Arthur "Ben" Chitty, 1947-2024

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Arthur Benjamin Chitty, III, "Ben," died February 11, 2024, at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, New York. Born August 28, 1947, in Sewanee, Tennessee, Ben was the first of four children born to Arthur Benjamin Chitty, Jr. and Mary Elizabeth Nickinson Chitty. He attended Sewanee Public School and with his brother John became an Eagle Scout, like their father. Attending Indian Springs School near Birmingham, Alabama, he skipped his senior year and in 1964 entered the University of the South, where he became a member of the Sigma Nu fraternity.

In 1965, defying his father's cautionary pleas, he took part in the March from Selma to Montgomery led by Dr. Martin Luther King. The same year, he was drafted and enlisted in the US Navy, eventually serving two tours in Vietnam as an electronics technician aboard the Richmond K. Turner. After his service, he graduated from Swarthmore College (1972), then earned a BA (later an MA) from Keble College of Oxford University in 1974, followed in 1978 by an ABD in English and an MLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 1980 he became the computer systems librarian at the main branch of the Hamden Public Library in Hamden, CT, was quickly elected president of the library's chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and soon after became an AFSCME representative on Greater New Haven's Central Labor Council. In 1984 he joined the staff at Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY), as an assistant professor and later taught at the college's Graduate School of Library and Information Studies. With the opening of the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library in 1988, he transitioned to an administrative role as the library's computer systems officer, where he remained until his retirement in 2023.

At Queens College, he also became active in his union, the Professional Staff Congress (PSC), taking on many grassroots leadership roles over the years. His proudest achievement was pulling together the Queens College Unions Joint Committee on Quality of Work Life, the sole multi-union committee in CUNY, which has convened monthly since 2006. For his work on this front, Ben was honored by the PSC's parent union, NY State United Teachers, which gave him its "Unsung Hero" award in March 2011.

Working with his wife, Priscilla Murolo, Ben co-authored a widely read and praised survey of US labor history, From the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend: An Illustrated History of Labor in the United States (2001; rev. 2018).

He was a leader in the anti-war movement as a member of both Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace and published numerous articles in VVAW's newspaper, The Veteran. He attended Christ Church Bronxville. He is predeceased by his parents and his younger brother, John Abercrombie Merritt Chitty, and is survived by Priscilla, his stepsons Max and Tony Schultz, his sister and brother, Em Turner Chitty and Nathan Harsh Brown Chitty, and their families. His ashes will be interred in his birthplace, Sewanee, Tennessee, along with those of his brother and parents.

Very near the end of his life, Ben signed up for a lifetime membership in VVAW, as a statement of enduring solidarity. There's a full video of Ben's memorial at www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NuRIyUJXtM.

Memorial donations may be made to Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

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