Michael F. Widman Jr., 77, retired director of organization for the United Mine Workers who was credited with a leading role in organizing workers at the Ford Motor Co., died yesterday at his home in Silver Spring.
Mr. Widman, who had long been associated with John L. Lewis, the celebrated UMW leader, was loaned by Lewis to the United Auto Workers union to lead a drive to organize the Ford Workers. A union shop contract between Ford and the union was signed in 1941.
Mr. Widman was born in Danville, Ill., and went to work as a young man in the coal mines near his home.
He soon became active in union affairs and in 1927 was elected a subdistrict president of the mine workers' Illinois district. In 1936, he became the first director of organization of the union's district 50, which he helped found. It was set up to organize workers, in the coal byproducts industries.
During major labor organizing drives in the 1930s, Mr. Widman also served as director of the Committee for Industrial Organization in New England.
Later, as an assistant to Lewis, Mr. Widman served at the UMW international headquarters here, as director of research and marketing. While serving here he was named director of organization.
Mr. Widman, who retired in 1972, had been a member of several government-labor-management advisory committees, and was a founder and director of the old National Coal Policy Conference.
He was a member of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Norbeck.
Since retirement he had been living at Leisure World.
In addition to his wife, Delida, whom he married 58 years ago, survivors include a son, Charles L., of Bethesda, and three brothers, Willard, of Danville, Earl, of Crown Point, Ind., and Lawrence, of Detroit, and four grandchildren.