Anthony Joseph Salopek was born on June 9, 1904 in Duquesne, Pennsylvania, the third of seven children born to Mate and Jaga Salopek. When he was nine years old, Anthony’s parents uprooted their children and returned to their former home of Selo Salopek, near Ogulin, Croatia. In 1925, at the age of 20, Anthony returned to Duquesne and soon advanced to become a semi-skilled laborer at the Carnegie-Illinois Duquesne Steel Mill where his father previously had been employed.
Tony spent his life passionately advocating for the rights of laborers of all races and ethnicities living in the city of Duquesne. Anthony was an active member of the Croatian Fraternal Union and was one of the early activists in the formation of the Duquesne Lodge 187 of the Amalgamated Association of Iron, Steel, and Tin Workers. His deep commitment and enthusiasm led Anthony to become the first financial secretary of Duquesne Lodge 1256 of the Steelworker’s Organizing Committee which formed in early 1937.
Anthony cherished his birthright as an American citizen, and he used his outstanding organizational abilities to promote the Democratic party in a predominantly Republican community. Anthony chaired the 1937 mayoral campaign of candidate Elmer Maloy who became the first Democratic Mayor in the history of Duquesne, and Anthony later participated in Maloy’s successful reelection in 1941. Although Anthony himself was defeated in a 1943 race for Constable of Duquesne’s First Ward, in July 1948 he was elected Chairman of the Western Pennsylvania Steel Workers for Wallace, a Progressive Party candidate.
Anthony married Catherine Ann Kučinić on July 14, 1929 at the Sacred Heart R.C. Church in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. They were the parents of two children and eight grandchildren. Anthony Salopek died on October 28, 1968 in John J. Kane Hospital, Scott Township, Pennsylvania.