Hotel Voice, Fall 2023

We remember our Union brothers and sisters who have passed away, their hard work, and inspiring spirits.

Yvonne Smith, Hilton Albany

The Union mourns the passing of Yvonne Smith, who was a Front Desk Agent at the Hilton Albany for over 20 years.

“Back in 2017 during the Hilton Albany contract fight, Yvonne was a staple on the picket line despite dealing with an ongoing health issue,” said Union HEAT Organizer Tyrone Connell. “She was fearless and never afraid to let management and her coworkers know how strong a union supporter she was.”

Yvonne, known by many as Ms. Yvonne or Mama Yvonne, was loved and respected by everyone at the hotel. She offered steadfast support to her coworkers every single day, through her positivity and willingness to go the extra mile. “I have had the privilege of knowing Yvonne over the last 20 years as my beloved friend and work sister,” shared Shirin Mistry, fellow Front Desk Agent. “We could all count on Yvonne to remind us wisely not to take ourselves too seriously. She often reminded us of the importance of shaking off stressful moments whenever she burst into timeless songs. She sure got us laughing each time she did. She had that remarkable gift of making the hours and days lighter for everyone around her who had the privilege to be in her supportive and generous presence.”

Yvonne made a lasting impression on everyone she came across. Our Union was better for her dedication, courage, and heart. “As Yvonne would often say to me, ‘I take one day at a time.’ These simple words hold the practical wisdom she would remind us to live by. Her joyful spirit and rare strength will continue to inspire me and all who were blessed to know her,” added Shirin.

Yvonne’s daughter Tiera also emphasized her mother’s devotion to all things family: “My mom loved the holidays more than anyone and that’s because it meant more time spent with those she cared about the most. Her laughter filled the room with so much warmth.” Yvonne’s most pride-filled moments were born from the accomplishments of her grandchildren, Myles and Malychi. She cherished every moment spent with them.

So much was special about Yvonne: she was the world’s #1 Dallas Cowboys fan; she was fascinated by strange foods, interesting rocks, and roosters; she loved music, and was always the first to get on the dance floor and the last to leave.

Yvonne’s passion for life will live on through her daughter Tiera, her grandsons Myles and Malychi, and many more loved ones.

Michael Endifru, Thompson Central Park

The Union mourns the loss of Michael Endifru, who worked as a Bell Person at the Thompson Central Park for 35 years.

Michael served our union faithfully, dedicating his time, energy, and care for his coworkers as a Delegate for nearly 20 years. “Michael was a great Union member, Delegate, friend, and just a truly good person. He was such a gentleman, and always had a smile no matter what. We’ll all miss him,” remarked Business Agent Joe Messineo.

Michael was valued deeply by his coworkers at the Thompson. “He was a good man, a family-loving man,” said coworker and friend Miguel Caraballo.

“Michael was a great friend, great delegate, and great father — a great family man,” echoed Eric Rivera, another coworker and friend. "He was a big asset for the hotel and most of all, loved his Union HTC. He will be missed dearly. He was my brother.”

“He was an amazing husband and father, with a strong moral compass, a great example to his sons David and Yared,” shared Michael’s wife Abby. “We will miss him and always love him. Life is not forever but love is.”

Michael will be greatly missed by his beloved family and the countless friends he made in this life.