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Frederick Umhey was born in New York City in 1895. Unlike most officials in the ILGWU, Umhey was never employed as a garment maker. He began working in the office of Morris Hillquit, the labor lawyer, while still a teenager, and remained there until Hillquit's death in 1933. The following year, ILGWU President David Dubinsky appointed Umhey to the newly-created post of Executive Secretary. In that role, he served as administrator for such ILGWU programs as the Union Health Center, Unity House, and the death benefit fund. He also served as secretary to all of the standing committees of the union's General Executive Board. Frederick Umhey died in office in 1955.