Passing of 5 Retired Journeyman Inside Wiremen

March 1, 2018

IBEW 569 Retired Journeyman Inside Wireman Robert (Bob) (Santa Claus) Leavitt passed on February 15, 2018. He was 70 years old, and had been a member of Local 569 for over 46 years.

After graduating from Mt. Miguel High School in 1965, Bob attended Grossmont College, and then San Diego City College for the next 7 years, and concentrated on math and electronics courses. By 1971, he became aware that IBEW Local 569 apprenticeship classes were also held at San Diego City College. Brother Leavitt applied, and by February 1972, he became a Local 569 1st semester Apprentice Inside Wireman.

During his apprenticeship, he worked for Foshay Electric, Perry Electric, Hardelco, S&M, Arrow Electric, and Bechtel (at San Onofre). Throughout his career, Bob lent his excellent craft skills, valuable organizational skills, and tenacious work ethic to Grove Electric, Bechtel (both Unit 1 and Units 2&3), Morrow-Meadows, SDG&E., Steiny & Co., Van Der Linden, Berg Electric (Union at that time), Hoffman & Son, and Fuller Electric. During the late 80s, when the construction trades endured a ‘downturn’ nationwide, Bob decided to follow up on a civil service opportunity, and was issued a Participating Withdrawal. Three years later, as our economy began to “come -back”, Bob came back to work through Local 569, beginning at Shasta Electric. A short call with GES, and then a “short” term (14 years!) relationship with Hedges Electric ensued, working at the Port of San Diego's Tenth Avenue Terminals, until he retired at the end of March 2010. Bob gleefully volunteered to serve as Local 569’s Santa Claus, which brought joy to our members’ children from 2004 to 2009.

In Maggie’s (his wife) words, “Bob was enormously proud of his 46 years as an IBEW 569 electrician! And he truly loved being Santa for all the kids, especially the fact that they could see and believe in the same Santa year after year. His passing has left an enormous hole in the universe and in our lives and hearts.” So true.


IBEW 569 Retired Journeyman Inside Wireman William McNeil, Jr. passed on January 15, 2018. He was 93 years old, and was a member of Local 569 and of the I.B.E.W. for over 66 years.

Brother McNeil proudly served our country during World War II. By 1951, he had gained enough experience to be dispatched as a journeyman inside wireman. He was dispatched to Holford Electric. Ensuing shops included: Ets Hokin & Galvin, Bush Electric (in Imperial Valley), and Franks Electric. At this time (the 50s) Imperial Valley had its own local, Local 447. Brother McNeil temporarily left San Diego to work through Local 447 in 1956. He returned to Local 569 in 1957, for dispatches to Pacific, and then Capitol Electric. By late 1958, William (Bill) transferred his membership to “greener pastures” in Local 413 (Santa Barbara). In mid-1968, Bill found his way back to San Diego, just as San Onofre was beginning to “come out of the ground”. After being dispatched to Bechtel, and then Amco Electric, Bill decided to appeal to our Executive Board, to transfer his membership back to Local 569. His transfer completed in March 1970. Since work was plentiful, Bill would spend the next several years working at: American, Universal Electric, Hardelco (2 separate dispatches), Bechtel Unit #1, and then Units 2&3 (successively), El Cajon Electric, Southland Electric, and Newbery Electric.

Bill retired in 1986. He was living in northern California, at the time of his passing.


 

IBEW 569 Retired Journeyman Inside Wireman Robert Stonehouse passed on February 3, 2018. He was 95 years old, and had been a member of Local 569 for over 64 years.

Brother Stonehouse came to Local 569 in 1953, with full journeyman marine electrical skills and a willingness to ‘Go Union’. In those years, shipbuilding work was plentiful, so Brother Stonehouse was dispatched to Martinolich Shipyard. By being a Journeyman Marine at the start of his Local 569 career, this Local was able to dispatch him to his first journeyman wireman position with La Jolla Electric, in late 1953. From that point, Robert never looked back. He continued working as a journeyman inside wireman, and was successively dispatched to: Siegel Electric, Atlantic, Ling Electric (2 separate dispatches), and Chula Vista Electric (in 1957). During Robert’s second dispatch to Ling Electric, the company went through some changes, became Ling/Oliver Electric, and then finally Oliver Electric. Robert would stay at Oliver for almost 21 years, and also pass his Journeyman Wireman exam during this ‘stint’, in April 1969. In September 1978, he was dispatched to Bell Electric, and then to (then Union) Berg Electric.

He retired in January 1985. After retiring, he moved to Utah, where he resided until his passing.


IBEW 569 Retired Journeyman Inside Wireman Edward M. Stringer, Sr. passed on February 4, 2018. He was 94 years old, and had been a member of Local 569 for over 68 years.

Brother Stringer grew up in Chicago, Illinois. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and after, from 1943 to mid-1946. By the time came to San Diego, he already had Local 569 ‘ties’. By late 1949, Ed had gained sufficient experience to work as a journeyman inside wireman. His first shop was Stringer Electric Works. Edward continued to gain a more varied work experience with Schmidt, Southern Electric, Wattier, Foshay, and Goodwin. By 1956, Brother Stringer went into/joined the family business. Ed ran Stringer Electric for 30 years, until he retired in 1986.

 

He filled his retirement time with his model train passion. Ed had two sons, who were Local 569 members; Ed, Jr., and Brent. Between the two, they were Local 569 members from the mid-60s through the 80s. Ed, Jr., pre-deceased his dad several years ago. Ed, Sr., is also survived by another son, Mitchell, and daughter Jolene Elliott. Ed’s son-in-law is Stephen Elliott, who is also a Local 569 retired Journeyman Inside Wireman. Ed’s progeny include 7 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Family services have already been held.


IBEW 569 Retired Journeyman Inside Wireman Freddie Cook passed on February 5, 2018. He was 80 years old, and had been a Local 569 and I.B.E.W. member for over 52 years.

As a young man, Brother Cook served in the U.S. Armed Forces, before putting his skills to use for the I.B.E.W. Local 245 (Toledo, Ohio). Three years later (late 1968), Freddie “traveled” to Local 569, with his Journeyman Lineman/Welder classification. For those who don’t know, since Local 569’s inception, we encompassed the Linemen unit, in order to supply experienced workers to SDG&E. As the 70s approached, less work was secured from SDG&E and many more welding positions became available at San Onofre. In December 1975, Freddie appealed to the Executive Board, and the transfer to his new home, Local 569, was completed upon final approval by the membership and the following General Membership meeting. From the mid-70s through the late 80s, Freddie mainly split his work time between Bechtel Unit 1 and Units 2&3. Contractors Fluor and Catalytic ‘popped in’ (short-timers) in 1986. Into the 90s, Freddie worked for GES, Chula Vista, Rosendin, and one last dispatch to Bechtel in mid-1991. He officially retired in May 1999. Even though he moved out of state, soon after he retired, he would “call the Hall” with a few questions, from time to time. He was always upbeat, and a pleasure to deal with.