Ernest B. Crofoot, 88, a union organizer who retired as international vice president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, died March 15 at his home in Annapolis.

He had heart disease and multiple myeloma, his son Ernest A. Crofoot said.

Mr. Crofoot, who lived in Bowie for many years, joined AFSCME in the early 1960s as an organizer in Baltimore. He later became a union council director and retired in 1986 as the union’s international vice president.

Throughout his career and in retirement, Mr. Crofoot served on many state health and insurance commissions as a representative of labor. He was a past president of United Seniors of Maryland, a senior citizens advocacy group.

Ernest Bayard Crofoot was born in Clarksburg, W.Va., and grew up in Rock Hall, Md. He was a machinist at the Glenn L. Martin aircraft manufacturing company in Baltimore from the early 1940s to the early 1960s. He was a union shop steward with the United Auto Workers.

Mr. Crofoot served on the board of Baltimore’s Lyric Opera and was president of the Maryland Water Bugs, a scuba-diving club. He also participated in civil rights demonstrations and, according to his son, was once arrested outside the South African Embassy in Washington while protesting apartheid.

His first wife, Mary Frances Snell Crofoot, died in 1976 after 30 years of marriage. A son, Timothy F. Crofoot, died in 1995.

Survivors include his wife since 1996, Michele Ryan Crofoot of Annapolis; five children from his first marriage, Carol Crofoot Hayes of Bluffton, S.C., Ernest A. Crofoot of Chestertown, Md., Gail Crofoot Mayer of Morristown, N.J., George Christopher Crofoot of Ellicott City, Maria Crofoot Bowling of Dublin, Va.; two stepchildren, Kimberly Ryan Winchester of Annapolis and Charles Ryan III of Largo; 10 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren.

— Matt Schudel