CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—Former president of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, Jim Bowen, has died.

According to a press release from the West Virginia AFL-CIO, Bowen died at the age of 87.

“I struggle to put into words how important Jim Bowen has been to the labor movement here in West Virginia,” said WV AFL-CIO President Josh Sword. “He was a mentor to me and so many others who strive to help workers secure good paying, safe jobs and have a powerful voice in the workplace.”

Bowen was president of the organization from 1997 to 2004.

“Jim Bowen was a force of nature,” said former WV AFL-CIO president Kenny Perdue. “He was known for his booming, deep voice that would not only be heard loud and clear among the countless rallies and protests, but also in the halls of the Statehouse, where he tirelessly fought for laws to protect and respect working people.”

Perdue was secretary-treasurer during Bowen’s tenure as president.