Brief obituaries of former Western Union employees who have recently passed away for which information has been provided by family or friends follow immediately below. A more complete listing of those who have recently passed on consisting of the name, location, and date of passing for former employees as obtained primarily from The Western Union Company can be viewed by clicking on Recent Deaths above.
Andrew A. Gianotti, Jr. -Chuck Ryan of East Haven, Connecticut, notified us that Andrew passed away on September 8, 2010 after a courageous battle with cancer. Andrew, a member of RWUEA, was a communications technician with Western Union from 1957 to 1984 and also worked as a sales manager in later years. He served in the U.S. Air Force as a Comm Tech from 1951 - 1955 and was also a Chief Petty Officer in the Naval Reserves. He will be greatly missed by co-workers, family and friends. 9/29/10
Paul W. Lemaire -Paul passed away on June 5, 2010 at the age of 85. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was employed by Western Union for many years. His wife Dot preceded him in death in January 2010 and he is survived by one son, one daughter, 5 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren. 9/29/10
Mary Shoulders Cooper -Gladys Spright Beher of Fort Worth, Texas, reports with deep sorrow the death of her dear friend, Mary, who passed away on August 22, 2010 after suffering a heart attack. Mary was a member of RWUEA. Clady and Mary worked together in Nashville, Tennessee at the WU Wire Room in the 1940s during World War II. 9/29/10
Roger J. Flaten -John Swanson out in West Bend, Wisconsin, advised us that Roger passed away on August 9, 2010 at the age of 73. John worked for Western Union for many years as a Plant Technician in Minneapolis. Roger was an industrious fellow who enjoyed his family, travel and spending time in his garage working with his car and building bird houses. Preceded in death by his wife Dorothy, he is survived by 2 daughters, two sons and 2 grandchildren. 9/29/10
Doug Seneker -Louise Neil notified us that Doug passed away on August 10, 2010 at the age of 75 after suffering a heart attack. Although Doug never worked for Western Union, he was an avid amateur telegrapher who amassed a large collection of Morse equipment and had also set up a Western Union office in his garage. You may remember that we ran a story on Doug and his collections in our 4th quarter 2006 edition of the Western Union Newsletter. His career was almost entirely in law enforcement, ranging from the Military Police to Chief in the Kansas City suburb of Riverside. 9/29/10
Jean (Lewko) Johnson -Jean passed away on April 18, 2010 at the age of 74. She worked for many years in the Traffic Department in Minneapolis where she met her husband, Marvin Johnson. 9/29/10
Sidney Ray Gibson -Sidney passed away on June 16, 2010 at the age of 71. Born in Alabama, he moved to Georgia in 1966. He worked for Western Union for many years, retiring in 1990. He later worked in construction up until 2004. He is survived by his wife, Faye Gibson, 3 sons, 5 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. 9/29/10
Roy E. Gorman -Roy passed away on June 27, 2010 at the age of 75. Roy was a veteran of the U.S. Army. A member of RWUEA, Roy worked 35 years with Western Union in shipping and receiving. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Jane, two daughters, 3 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. A wonderful husband, father, grandfather and friend to all who knew him. He will be truly missed. 9/29/10
Kenneth E. (Ken) Anderson -Betty Anderson, Ken's wife, notified us that he passed away at age 80 after battling a debilitating lung disease for over a year. Ken, a long-time member of RWUEA, served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He was a supervisor in the New York Area Technical Facilities Department, serving in various positions during his career in Western Union before retiring. In addition to his wife, Betty, Ken is survived by one daughter, two sons and 4 grandchildren. 9/29/10
Harry Victor Naon -Sharon Naon informed us that her husband, Harry, passed away peacefully on June 14, 2010 at the age of 77. Harry, a long-time member of RWUEA, started as a part-time WU bicycle messenger in Seattle while in high school. In 1951, Harry joined the U.S. Navy where he served for 4 years, becoming a crash crew firefighter. After his return to civilian life, Harry found no openings at Western Union so he went to work for his father, also Harry, at his "after hours" club, the 605 Club, located in Seattle's Chinatown. Finally, in September 1957, Harry was recalled as a motor messenger and worked at three locations in Seattle until he was FFR'd in 1985 at which time he retired from WU and worked for another local company for 5 more years. Sharon says Harry always said he never wanted to work behind a desk and he didn't! She also sends thanks to the union for assisting in bridging his military time for pension purposes. In addition to Sharon, his wife of 26 years, Harry is survived by five sons from his first marriage. A daughter, Constance, and a son, Matt, predeceased Harry. 9/29/10
Claire King -Claire passed away on July 16, 2010 a the age of 90. Claire, who was an Honorary Member of RWUEA, worked as an Executive Secretary for Al Purviance and others in the Headquarters Sales Department at Upper Saddle River. She was known as a "very nice lady," both quite competent in her work and pleasant to be around. She was also a frequent attendee at the monthly "The Golden Girls" breakfasts in Ramsey. Predeceased by her husband, John King, she is survived by four children, nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren. 9/29/10
Donald P. (Don) Howard -Frank Senner notified us that Don passed away on July 27, 2010 at his home at the age of 77. Don, a long-time member of RWUEA, served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Don worked at various locations in and around Philadelphia. He started as a Shop Repairman at the 40th St. location in West Philly, installing and maintaining teletype equipment at WU offices and customer locations. He was a Maintenance Supervisor at the Plant Department facility at Drumond Road in Philly. He also worked in Jerry Monahan's Customer Service Dept. at the Walnut St. headquarters. He met his wife Grace at a WU District Office in Harrisburg where she was a Service Coordinator for the Eastern PA District. In addition to his wife, he is survived by a step-son. Don was known as a very honest, kind and loyal person. He will be missed by all who knew him. 9/29/10
Walter C. Winter -Walt passed away on August 4, 2010 at the age of 72. Walt, a member of RWUEA, served in the US Navy for 4 years before beginning his 41 year career with Western Union. His career took Walter and his family to Hawaii, Oklahoma, Maryland, Minneapolis and USR, Paramus and Montvale in New Jersey. He lived for 27 years in Oakland, NJ before moving to Barnegat in 2000. He is survived by his wife of 46 years, Mary, one daughter and three grandchildren. A very good natured individual, his smile will be missed by his many friends and family who remember his love of computers, the NY Giants and especially fishing. 9/29/10
Willard Lubitz -Richard Caldwell said he was quite distressed to read of the death of Willard. Richard first became associated with Willard in 1968 when Willard was the manager (excluded) of the Orlando, Florida office and Richard was working at that time as a Senior Relief Manager out of Orlando. They became close friends, as Richard says, "I had gotten to know Willard's family as well, including of course, Darlene, his wife. Willard always set a professional example. He was a soft-spoken, but strong individual." After the 1971 strike, Willard was transferred to the CTB in Moorestown, NJ, as an operations manager. After his retirement from WU, he went to work for AC Nielson (ratings) Co, in the Clearwater, Florida area. Richard continued to keep in touch with Willard and spent much time with him during asignments to the Tampa Bay area up until about 1986, which is when Richard's career with WU came to an end. He says, "I shall be saddened considerably at this terrible news." 9/29/10
Walter (Wally) D. May -Wally's daughter, Betsy Galligan, notified us that Wally passed away peacefully at home on March 23, 2010 at the age of 80. Wally was a long-time member of the RWUEA and, for several years, was a member of its Board of Directors and V P - Regional Affairs for the organization. Wally was born in Chicago, Illinois but grew up living the rugged life in Beaverhead County, Montana. He was known for his entertaining stories, many stemming from his childhood experiences on the "Highland Ranch near Moose Creek in the Big Hole". He graduated in 1948 from Beaverhead High School in Dillon, Montana. Wally met and married Grace Felts at the Western Union School in California in 1949. They had five children together and lived in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho, California, Utah, Massachusetts and New Jersey. Wally enjoyed a long career of 30+ years with Western Union. He began as a Telegraph Operator and, following successive promotions, ultimately became Assistant VP of Sales at the WU Corporate Headquarters in USR, NJ where he met his second wife, Gloria. After retiring from WU, Wally, an avid reader, lover of nature and art and a life-long sketcher and doodler, began creating portraits and, with dedicated practice, proudly achieved the art of creating likenesses. He loved playing golf, volunteering at his church thrift store and spending time with friends and family. He subscribed to his old home town paper - The Dillon Tribune - and was able to attend his 60th High School reunion in 2008 renewing friendships and family ties from his past. Preceded in death by his wife, Gloria in 2003, and his oldest son, Scott in 1998, Wally is survived by two sons, Pat (CA) and Tim (OR), two daughters, Betsy and Nancy (OR), three stepchildren, one sister, 7 grandchildren, 3 step-grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. He will be sorely missed by all. May he rest in peace. 6/30/10
Anthony J. "Tony" Del Greco -Anthony Joseph Del Greco passed away at his home on Monday, Feb. 1, 2010 at the age of 82. He was born in Brooklyn and resided in Seaford, NY before moving to Jackson 13 years ago. Tony served in the U.S. Navy in the last days of WW II and earned his engineering degree from New York University, later earning an MBA from Pace U. A gifted engineer and cost analyst, Tony had a long career with Western Union, starting at 60 Hudson Street, followed by Upper Saddle River and then Washington, DC , where he retired as Assistant Vice President. He later worked for U.S. Navy-Grumman Aerospace in Long Island. Much of Tony 's career was spent as Director, Cost Engineering and he was known as someone who, by his example, taught all who worked with him that hard work and integrity are life's rewards. Tony loved music, he was an accomplished accordion and concertina player, and brought music into the lives of each of his 7 children. Retiring to Greenbrier at Winding Ways in Jackson, Tony volunteered his time and talents to the community association. Tony is survived by his wife of 57 years, Angela Delores Del Greco, four daughters, three sons and four grandchildren. A true gentleman, he will be missed by all who knew him. Rest in Peace. 6/30/10
Wallace "Chappy" Youdin -Bob Cleary notified us that Chappy, who was a long-time member of the RWUEA, passed away on February 27, 2010 at the age of 87. He was born on Nov. 25, 1922 in North Sidney, Nova Scotia, Canada. His family moved to Brooklyn when his father, who worked for Western Union, was transferred to NYC. Chappy attended new Utrecht High School and Pratt Institute where he obtained an Engineering degree. He served in the US Army during World War II. After graduating from Pratt Institute in 1946, he was employed by Western Union in NYC and stayed with WU until 1964 when he took a job with the Defense Communication Agency (DCA) in Arlington, Virginia. He retired from the government in 1986 and remained in the Northern Virginia area. Chappy is survived by his wife, Mutsuko, a daughter, Carolyn, and a niece, Lisa. 6/30/10
Michel Protin -Michel, a long-time member of the RWUEA, passed away on March 20, 2010 at the age of 73. He was an Electrical Engineer and worked for Western Union from 1970 to 1986 at Mahwah and Upper Saddle river. He was involved in the Easylink (US/UK) projects. He later was employed in the communications field in England. He is survived by his wife, Jeannick, and son, Amaud. 6/30/10
Alice Curley -Bill Josanne notified us of the death of his sister-in-law, Alice (nee Injian), on April 1, 2010 at the age of 91. She was pre-deceased by her husband, Robert S. Curley, also a former Western Union employee. Alice served in the WAVES during World War II before starting her career with Western Union. Alice started at a small office in the Hotel Roosevelt in NYC in the mid 1940's. She later worked as a Clerk/Operator nights in Hempstead, NY where she met Bill's brother, Bob. She finished her WU career at Long Beach, NY in the early 1950's. Alice is survived by her daughter, Constance, and husband, Patrick. 6/30/10
Rosanne Davis -Rosanne's husband, Robert, wrote to say that Rosanne died on Aril 6, 2010 at the hospital in Ocala. She died of pneumonia after 3 years battling Cancer. Rosanne retired from Western Union in March 1988. At that time she was working in the Government Services Division. Rosanne always thought that she had a rewarding career in Western Union working in the Branches, then Marketing and finally in Financial services in the Government Services Division. Rosanne is survived by her husband, Bob, three boys, a daughter-in-law and two grandchildren. She was loved by all and will be missed. 6/30/10
Muriel F. (Kean) Poulin - Roger Barbeau in Ludlow, MA notified us that Muriel died on April 24, 2010 at the age of 96. Muriel worked in the Westfield, Mass. WU office for over 40 years, retiring in the early 1970's. After her retirement, Muriel was an active hospital volunteer for many years. She is survived by one son, one daughter and two grandchildren. 6/30/10
Eileen F. (Hickey) Jordan -Eileen passed away on March 25, 2010 in Dover, NH at the age of 101. Eileen was a long-time member and Honorary Member of our organization. For many years she was the bookkeeper and office manager of the former Western Union Framingham, Massachusetts office. Her husband, Harry, predeceased her in 1948 and she is survived by a niece, grand-nephew, grand-niece and a great-grand niece. 6/30/10
Raymond E. Cook -Ed Ronan notified us that Raymond died at home on May 6, 2010 at the age of 79. Raymond was a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He worked for many years for Western Union in Ohio. After his retirement, he developed a H&R Block franchise. In 1996, he and his wife moved to Ponce Inlet, Florida. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, one daughter, 3 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. 6/30/10
Gregg Majure - Jeff Ham and Ron Broadaway notified us that Gregg passed away on May 21, 2010 at the age of 80. Gregg started as a messenger with Western Union and held various positions, becoming District Manager for Southeast Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Mississippi in Public Office Operations. 6/30/10
JoAnn Verdon - JoAnn passed away on May 9, 2008 at the age of 73. JoAnn worked for Western Union as a Telex operator and supervisor and, together with several others from the Madison office, enjoyed working the Press Box at the U. of Wisconsin. After being laid off by WU after the 1971 strike, she worked for many years as office manager for Casperson Tool & Dye Corp. JoAnn is survived by one son, one daughter, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. 6/30/10
Joseph "Joe" Coleman - Joe Coleman, a long-time member of RWUEA, passed away on April 2, 2010 at the age of 84. Joe was a U.S Army Air Corps veteran of WW II who worked for Western Union for 34 years. Following his retirement from WU, Joe went to work for American Olean in Lansdale for another 18 years. Joe is fondly remembered by several of his former co-workers: John Giardino recalls hiring Joe at the Allegheny Av Postal Telegraph office in 1940 or 1941, that Joe went to tech school and was an outside plant tech in the Harrisburg area after they returned from the service. Others recalled Joe working in Customer Service at 1845 Walnut St, District Supervisor stationed in Phila, W&R supervisor in Baltimore for a while, possibly went to Hawaii at one point. Jim Maurer said: "He was a great guy. He would stay after work and teach Basic electronics to Jack Ellis and myself." Frank Senner says that Joe was "always quite the gentleman." Joe is survived by his wife, Betty, 2 daughters and 5 grandchildren. 6/30/10
Irving “Irv” Rosman –Carver Washburn notified us of Irv’s passing on March 23, 2009 at the age of 82. Carver says that Irv “was a true friend and a talented individual. He had a zest for life, a keen interest in friends and genuine intellectual curiosity. Some of you may know Irv through biking – indeed, one of his favorite pastimes. We shared an avid dedication for exercise and appreciation for physical activities. We worked together for many years at Western Union on what, looking back, was the precursor to Internet-based electronic mail – the very first commercial email system called Easy Link. His wonderful interpersonal skills were so evident. However, it was his unusual – perhaps unique technical skills that really caught attention. Irv had the talent and ability to communicate at all levels – from our Chairman of the Board to the engineers – turning highly technical concepts into language that all could understand. Irv’s friendship was a valued gift and he will be deeply missed by the family he loved, all whose lives he touched, and all who were fortunate enough to know him.” Irv was a long-time member of RWUEA. 6/22/09
George B. Gildersleeve –George’s daughter Mary notified us that George passed away on Saturday, May 30, 2009, at the age of 68 after a sudden and catastrophic ‘brain bleed’. George had recently started undergoing chemotherapy for his newly discovered leukemia and seemed to be doing well. George was a graduate of Seton Hall University, started out teaching history in New Jersey schools and then (because teaching in New Jersey at that time didn’t pay enough to raise a family) he became an administrator at Western Union Headquarters in USR and later in Mahwah from 1967 to 1992. He then went to Cingular Wireless and retired from there in 2005. George was an avid train enthusiast and was also a major historian. He was a member of RWUEA and a regular attendee at our headquarters retiree lunches. George is survived by his wife of 45 years, Kathe, 5 daughters and 19 grandchildren. 6/22/09
Margaret Nation –Brenda Brooks notified us that Margaret passed away on May 7, 2009 at the age of 72. Margaret served for many years as the Secretary of the Atlanta Retiree group and was a long-time member of RWUEA. Margaret worked for Western Union for more than 30 years as a payroll accountant in Atlanta. Margaret was preceded in death by her husband, Ed and one son and is survived by 3 children, 8 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. She will be missed by all who knew her. 6/22/09
Ardeth E. Colliver –Juyne Walker notified us that Ardeth passed away on May 2, 2009 after a short illness at the age of 89. Ardeth was an Honorary Member of RWUEA. Most of her career was spent at Postal Telegraph and Western Union in Portland, Oregon. She gave generously of her time and talents to community organizations and church activities and was a member of Beta Sigma Phi Business Women’s Society. Ardeth is survived by a sister, Lois, and numerous cousins and families. 6/22/09
James M. (Jim) Calabrese –Jim passed away on Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at home at the age of 75. Jim was born in Hibbing, Minnesota and started working for Western Union after first working as a policeman for a couple of years. He then worked for Western Union for over 40 years and retired in 1997. Jim worked in Chicago as an Operations Manager and transferred to the Bridgeton Central Telephone Bureau (CTB) [later renamed the Customer Service Center (CSC)] when it opened in the October 1972. There he served as Operations Manager and later as Facilities Analyst/Building Manager. Jim was sort of the “Jack of All Trades” around the Bridgeton CSC. Whatever the challenge or job to be done, Jim was the “go to” guy. To many he was a true gentleman and a fine co-worker. Survivors include his wife, Georganna, two children, 5 step-children, ten grandchildren and nine great-grandchldren. He will be missed by all who knew him. 6/22/09
Ken Tryggestad –Ken’s wife, Roberta, sent us a note about Ken’s passing on January 20, 2009. Ken was with W.U. for 18 years, 1957-1975. He worked in and was the manager in many offices – 12 all told – (in sequence) Cleveland, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Des Moines, Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York, Washington, DC, Miami, Boston, Upper Saddle River. Ken was a long-time member of RWUEA. 6/22/09
Stephen (Steve) Reeder –Stephen’s widow, Frances, reports that Steve died on Friday, March 20, 2009 at the age of 94. Steve, who was an Honorary Member of RWUEA and a long-time member of the Dallas K.I.T, Klub, had been sick for several months. As his widow expressed it, Steve “was ready to go. He was 94 years old – and his nurse is very tired. Give everybody love.” 6/22/09
Gordon Arrol –Gordon’s widow, Murielle, sent in a note to say that Gordon worked for Western Union from 1948 until 1978 when he retired. Gordon, who was a long-time member of RWUEA, was 81 at the time of his death. 6/22/09
John R. Timbrook –John’s widow, Juanita, wrote to tell us that she and John were married for more than 60 years. John was a long-time member of RWUEA. 6/22/09
Fred Miley Knipp –Leslie Collins wrote that Fred died on May 7 at the age of 78 after a short illness. Fred was born into a military family, (his father was an officer in the US Signal Corps) and, as a boy, he witnessed the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Following his father into the Signal Corps, Fred served 27 years seeing action in Korea and Vietnam. He retired with a rank of Colonel and, immediately before joining Western Union, headed up the Army’s satellite activities in Fort Monmouth. Fred joined WU’s Satellite Services Dept., working for Bill Brook and Phil Schneider and stayed there during the late 1970’s and the 1980’s. Seeing that WU was winding down its satellite business, Fred became President of the Warwick Telephone Co. where he modernized and revitalized the company. After retirement, Fred continued as an active member of the community with many interests. (He was also a Board member of Centrex, the company Leslie Collins ran for many years.) Fred was a member of RWUEA for many years. He was a really good friend to all who knew him. He was interred at Arlington National Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, Mary Ellen, 5 children and 6 grandchildren. 6/22/09
Neal McAfee -Mike Lattanzi informed us that Neal passed away on June 5, 2009. Neal began his Western Union career in Portland Oregon as a city manager in 1972. From there he went into sales as an Account Executive, then District Sales Manager. He was promoted to District Sales Manager of Dallas, Texas, a much larger district. Several years later he was promoted to head up the sales activities of the Public Services group in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. Neal left Western Union in 1983/84. He touched many lives in WU and will be missed by all who knew him. 6/22/09
Walter E. Girardin – Lake San Marcos, CA -Walt, as he was affectionately known to all who knew him, passed away on January 15, 2009 at the age of 89. As he once said:” I was the only President who started on a bicycle”. Born on a farm in Emerson, Nebraska, the youngest of 10, Walt first joined Western Union as a bicycle messenger in Denver, Colorado at the age of 14. Forced to quit due being underage, Walt waited until he turned 16 and again went to work for WU as a bicycle messenger after school. Walt left Western Union to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II and then returned in 1946 to Western Union where he worked for 45 years. After rising through the ranks of the Public Operations Department, Walt became Vice President of Operations and then, in 1976, Walt was named President of The Western Union Telegraph Company. He retired at the end of 1980 and moved to Lake San Marcos where he and his beautiful bride of 68 years, Edith, enjoyed many years of active retirement. Walt is survived by his wife, Edith, one daughter, Sheri Spitler, one son-in-law and two grandchildren. He is pre-deceased by one daughter in 2002. As was expressed in his published obituary: “If we could all say a prayer and send Walt a Telegram in Heaven, we want to say ‘Thank you for everything and we will always miss you very much’.” 3/18/09
Al Bianco – Upper Saddle River, NJ -Al Bianco passed away on February 7, 2009 at the age of 88. Al served during World War II in the Signal Corps of the U. S. Army, and then became an Electrical Engineer at Western Union for 38 years. Al is perhaps best known for his many contributions to this Association made over the span of many years. Al was President of the RWUEA from 1989 through 1993 and, during that time, became the point man in negotiations with Western Union and the Bankruptcy Court in trying to protect the rights of Western Union’s retirees to retain their health insurance and other benefits at reasonable costs. Although, in the end, Western Union was allowed to strip its retirees of the right to health insurance at a reasonable cost (the retiree had to shoulder all the cost of health, prescription and life insurance), retirees that were in any of the plans as of 1991 or later were able to share in the proceeds of a $3 Million settlement negotiated largely as a result of the efforts of Al and his benefits task force. Over the years, Al was always willing to step in wherever help was needed. Al served for a long time as the Banquet Chairman for the Headquarters Lunches and always was a measured voice of reason at our quarterly Board meetings that he faithfully attended for over 20 years. Al is survived by his lovely wife, Marion, known to many of us as one who attended all the lunches over the years, five children and eleven grandchildren. Al will be sorely missed by us all. 3/18/09
James Francis (Jim) Cornely – Castle Rock, CO -Jim passed away on February 6, 2009 at the age of 70 after having recently retired from Western Union with more than 49 years of dedicated service. A graduate of Villanova University, Jim joined Western Union as a Management Trainee in 1959 and rose through the auditing ranks, retiring as Director of Business Information Services in Scott Hansen’s Systems group. His responsibilities included providing technical assistance to the Money Transfer compliance department. Jim was one of the few employees of the “new” Western Union Company that could trace his roots back to the Western Union Telegraph Company of the 1950s. Jim is survived by his wife, Carmen (a former Manager of the Western Union office located in Mt. Vernon, NY), two daughters and two grandsons. 3/18/09
Jessie Tattershall – Milford, Ohio -Elizabeth (Betty) Craig of Wilmington, Ohio advised us of the passing of Jessie on January 10, 2009 at the age of 90. Jessie was an Honorary Member of RWUEA and worked mostly in the Sales Department at Cincinnati. As a Service Representative, she attended many classes in the operation of Private Wire Systems and later trained PWS customer operators and assisted in the start-up of service of the systems. Jessie served as Secretary for two different Sales Managers in the Cincinnati office. After some 30 years of service she retired in 1975 and then became Secretary for the Ninth Street Baptist Church in Cincinnati for approximately 10 years. 3/18/09
Florence Ledger – La Grange, IL -Marilyn Ledger advised us that her mother, Florence, passed away on December 28, 2008. Florence was an Honorary Member of RWUEA and worked for Western Union in the Chicago Main Office at 427 S. La Salle Street for 43 years from 1942 through 1985. She met and married a co-worker, William Ledger, in October 1946. They were married until his death in January 1967. William retired in approximately 1965. “Florence was a loyal union member and wonderful mother.” 3/18/09
Henderson H. (Bud) Bankston – Suwanee, GA -Bill “Junior” Acree sent us a report that H. H. Bankston passed away on January 9, 2009. He had been in a rehab facility for a broken ankle when he passed away unexpectedly. He worked for Western Union in the Atlanta office for well over 35 years. 3/18/09
Martha Lorton – Springfield, IL -Susan Anderson reports that her Aunt Martha, passed away on January 29, 2009 at the age of 85. Martha, a long-time member of RWUEA, attended the Western Union Commercial School in Crawfordsville, Indiana and started her career with WU in the Jacksonville, Illinois office as a Teleprinter Operator from 1942 until 1968 when she became Manager. When the Jacksonville office closed in 1971, Martha transferred to the WU Office in Springfield, IL. In 1974, she transferred as Permit Manager for Western Union at the Illinois Dept. of Transportation and, in 1979, back to the Main Office as Manager until her retirement in 1982, ending a 40-year career. Martha stayed active in various civic and charitable affairs throughout her life. 3/18/09
Stuart Siegelman – Silver Spring, MD -Barbara Siegelman advised us that her husband, Stuart, passed away on January 9, 2009. Stu, a member of RWUEA, worked for many years at Western Union in Financial Management, starting as an Accounting Clerk in the early 1950’s at 60 Hudson Street, moving with the company to Upper Saddle River, NJ, and finally as a Financial Director with Government Services Division in Virginia. He then went on to work with Contel and later for the Federal Government until his retirement. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, two sons and three grandchildren. 3/18/09
Edward V. Barnabic – Allendale, NJ - Edward Barnabic died peacefully at home on February 18, 2009 at the age of 80. Edward served in the U.S. Army from 1950 to 1953. Ed, a member of RWUEA, worked for Western Union as an Electrical Engineer for many years before moving on to Motorola and also World Com. He is survived by his wife, Ruth, three children and six grandchildren. 3/18/09
Thomas Loehr – Auburn, PA - Jo Loehr advised us that her husband, Thomas, passed away on December 10, 2008. Thomas retired from the Allentown location as an Engineer after 29 years of service. A long time member of RWUEA, he always enjoyed our Newsletter and will be deeply missed by all who knew him. 3/18/09
Geraldine (Geri) Egan – Revere, MA - John Sampaga of Reno, Nevada reports that Geri passed away on March 4, 2009. Geri, a member of RWUEA, worked for Western Union, first at the Moorestown CTB and, when that closed, she transferred to the Reno CTB (Customer Service Center). Geri was one of three instructors at the Reno center and was known as an easy going person and a friend to all. Some years ago, Geri lost her leg from the knee down and she seemed to have various health problems from that time on. Regardless of her health problems, Geri continued to be a friend to all and a giving, selfless person. Geri loved to gamble at the various casinos in the Reno area. Sometime after her retirement from WU, Geri moved away from Reno and went back to Massachusetts. John isn’t sure, but he thinks Geri passed away as a result of her amputation and diabetes. 3/18/09
Fred Kessell – Miami, FL -George Abrams advised us that Fred passed away peacefully at his home on March 4, 2009. Fred served in the U.S. Air Force in the communications field for 20 years and then worked for Western Union for 20 years on the Plan 55 System as a Plant Technician. Fred is survived by his wife, Nancy, with whom he would have celebrated their 50th Anniversary in April, five children and four grandchildren. 3/18/09
Dolores A. Moser – Henderson, NV -Frank Moser advised us that his wife of 51 years, Dolores, passed away on December 8, 2008. 3/18/09
Donald Rakosik – Elyria, OH -Diane (Gibbs) Dinkens sent us a note saying that Donald, whose death was reported in our 1st qtr 2009 Newsletter, worked as a Western Union Plant Technician in Youngstown, Cleveland and Elyria, Ohio. Condolences can be sent to Mrs. Barbara Rakosik, 864 Hollywood Blvd., Elyria, OH 44035. 3/18/09
William J. Desmond – Harrington Park, NJ -William passed away on January 23, 2009 at the age of 85. William served his country during WW II as a 1st Lt. in the Army Air Corps as part of the 393rd Atomic Bombardment squadron, 509th Composite Group. After the war, he completed his studies at Northeastern University and then joined Western Union as an Electrical and Systems Engineer. He later also worked for Chase Manhattan before retiring in 1989. He is survived by his wife, Mary Jane, eight children and 16 grandchildren. 3/18/09
Alma Fitzgerald – Aurora, CO -Ned Eastlack of Lincoln, Nebraska informed us that Alma passed away on December 21, 2008 at the age of 87. Alma worked at the Western Union Lincoln, Nebraska office from 1944-45 for some twenty years until the mid 1960s. She is survived by one son and grandchildren. 3/18/09
Edward Herbert Cole - Bob McCluskie advised us that Ed passed away on December 14, 2008, at his home in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the age of 84. Ed served in the U.S. Army during W.W.II. He fought in Normandy and was one of the first G.I.s to enter Paris. There he met Gabrielle, the woman who would become his wife. Before entering military service, Ed had started with Western Union in 1940 as a messenger and then became a Teletype Operator and then Night Manager in New Jersey. Upon his return from military service, Ed returned to WU and became Manager of the WU office in Salem, NJ. After a succession of moves, Ed arrived at WU Headquarters at 60 Hudson Street in NYC. When Telex was inaugurated between New York City and Canada in 1958, Ed was put in charge of marketing the new service. For the next 20 years, Ed Cole helped to expand Telex into a nationwide Telex offering that became on of Western Union's backbone services. During this period, many new and innovative services were introduced, including computerized Telex services and FYI information services. Edward Herbert Cole will always be remembered to some as "Mr. Telex." Ed is survived by his wife, Gabrielle, one son, one daughter and one great grandson. He will be sorely missed by those who knew him.1/7/09
Wayne Hexum – Juyne Walker sent in the following information about Wayne, whose passing on August 17, 2008 at the age of 76 was reported in our 4th Quarter Newsletter. Wayne's employment with Western Union began in early 1951 as a Reperforator Shop Repairman at the Portland, Oregon Main Office. After serving in the U.S. Army in Japan during the Korean War from 1952-55, Wayne returned to WU as a Printer Maintainer in Seattle. In 1958, Wayne worked as an Auto Maintainer at Boeing's Torn Tape Switching Center. During succeeding years, Wayne served as an Assistant City Foreman and other various assignments. In 1974-75, he was promoted to Maintenance Supervisor, then Technical Manager in the Billings, MT District, then in the Spokane District and later became Manager of Technical Services in the Seattle District. Wayne retired from Western Union in 1989 after 38 years of service. He then worked for Boeing for an additional 5 years. He is survived by his wife, Marlys, five children, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. He will be missed by all.1/7/09
Kenneth D. Mercer –A.J. Platt, of Middletown, Deleware, informed us that Ken passed away on November 1, 2008, while doing what he loved most..."at the track in Hollywood." He worked at WQ in Washington, DC and at the Andrews AESC before becoming a programmer for the Government Communications Division. "Ken had a heart of gold and will be missed by the many people whose lives he touched." 1/7/09
Gladys Taylor – Bill McQuerry informed us of the death of long time 30-year employee and RWUEA Honorary Member Gladys Taylor on October 25, 2008, after about a year battle with cancer. Gladys was a Mux-Traffic Supervisor who retired in 1979. Gladys had a wonderful personality and laugh. We will really miss her and there will be a void at our get togethers. Gladys was preceded in death by her husband, Frank Taylor. Gladys, may you rest in peace. We will miss you very much.1/7/09
James L. Leary - Brenda Brooks and Ed Faust notified us that James, a long-time member of the RWUEA, passed away on December 3, 2008, with his loving wife at his side. James was with the Atlanta Area Installation department. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Jeanette, and two daughters, 15 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.1/7/09
Angela Michelle Twitty Richardson – Ed Faust sent notice of the passing of Angela on October 10, 2008, at the age of 43. Angela was born in North Carolina and, after graduating from UNC at Chapel Hill, relocated to Atlanta, Georgia. Angela started with Western Union in 1986 (her first real job) and transitioned to AT&T when it acquired Easylink in 1990. She worked as a specialized Account Representative with Easylink Services and also as a Legislative Assistant with the Government Affairs Department. She also worked for the international Data Services Corporation. Angela is survived by her husband, Peter, and one son and one daughter.1/7/09
Neal Cook –Tom Loehr reports that "Neal passed away on October 1, 2008, as a result of cancer. Ned was 73 and served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. He retired from Allentown, PA and was an Electrical Engineer. 1/7/09
Harry Dent – Ben Caliendo reports that Harry passed away on October 11, 2008. Harry came to 60 Hudson Street in New York from the St. Louis area in the late 1950s. He then went to work for the Andrews Corporation until his final retirement. Harry was a good engineer and a fine person who will be missed by many at WU.1/7/09
Margaret Trotter - Irene Hollingsworth, sister of Margaret, advised us that Margaret passed away on September 12, 2008. Margaret was a long-time member of the RWUEA and both she and her husband, Bobby L. Trotter, retired from Western Union in Atlanta, Georgia 1/7/09
William (Billy) Petlock – Glenda Petlock advised us that Bill passed away on December 15, 2008, after a 31 month long battle with lung and brain cancer. According to John Riddle, Bill spent his early years as an Internal Auditor in Chicago and later worked at the Money Order Bureau in Minneapolis followed by several years in the Framers Branch National Processing Center working for George Smyth in the General Books section.1/7/09
Gennaro (Gerry) Galderisi - Gerry passed away on August 1, 2008 at the age of 61. He worked for many years at various locations in Western Union - at 60 Hudson Street, at GSD in Virginia and then at USR. Gerry worked primarily in financial management, becoming Manager of Financial Analysis in USR. Later, he went to MCI and then turned his talents to the Real Estate business. Gerry liked to dance, paint with oils and spend time on a boat on a lake with his wife, Caryn. He is survived by his wife and a brother. 8/15/08
Roger G. Nieuwenhuis – John Swanson advised us that Roger passed away on July 6, 2008 at the age of 78. A veteran of the U. S. Navy for 9 years, Roger then worked for 27 years at Western Union. A good supervisor who worked out of Mansfield, Mass, Roger will be missed by his friend, John Swanson and many others. His wife, Dolores, preceded him in death and he is survived by four children and five grandchildren. Roger was a long-time member of RWUEA. 8/12/08
Andres A. (Andy) Ortiz –Andy passed away on July 29, 2008 at the age of 78. He worked as a systems engineer for Western Union in Mahwah, NJ retiring in 1996 as an Assistant Vice President. 8/12/08
William (Bill) Neeson – Allan Fail advised us that Bill passed away on July 3, 2008 at the age of 68. Bill started in CQ in Chicago in 1965 and worked there for 15 years before transferring to the computer department. He retired after 22-23 years of service. Bill attended the annual Chicago gatherings in Westmont and attended the last one held on May 2, 2009. 8/12/08
Perry Lee Lane –Deerald Grow advised us that Perry had passed away on July 31, 2008. He was an Honorary Member of RWUEA. He started work for Western Union as a messenger at the age of 17 and worked for Western Union until he retired as a district manager. Derald recalls working for Perry in the early 1960’s when Derald was Manager in Elko, Nevada. Perry served in the U. S. Army Air Corps. After retiring from Western Union, Perry pursued several other business opportunities and was also quite active in the LDS Church. Perry is survived by his wife, Florence, three daughters, fifteen grandchildren and twenty-three great-grandchildren with two on the way. 8/12/08
Raymond (Ray) Carlock– William (Bill) Carlock, brother of Ray and, like Ray, also a member of RWUEA, advised us that Raymond died on May 23, 2008 at the home of his son, Raymond, Jr. He died after a battle with pancreatic cancer. Ray worked for Western Union for 32 years starting at the Jersey City Warehouse and finally retiring at the New York Plant Department. His wife, Philomena, pre-deceased him and he is survived by his son and two daughters. Ray was known by many employees throughout Western Union. 8/12/08
Earl O. Harbour –Jeff Ham sent in a note expressing his sorrow at the passing of Earl. Earl, an Honorary Member of RWUEA, was a long-time force in the Atlanta Georgia Area and Jeff says he worked for Earl for many years and regards Earl as a mentor and dear friend. Jeff also wishes all Western Union retirees good health and long lives. 8/12/08
Ronald J. (Ronnie) Ozenkoski –Leo Matthews notified us of the passing of Ronald on September 7, 2008 at the age of 72. Ronald retired from the Western Union office in St. Louis, MO. He also worked for Wells Fargo, The St. Louis Cardinals, The Rams Football team and the Gateway Arch. He served in the U. S. Army as a PFC (T) from March 13, 1958 - December 31, 1962. 8/12/08
Howard D. Sawyer – Howard's wife, Ethelyn, advised us that Howard passed away on May 29, 2008 at the age of 87. He was visiting his son in Naples, Florida, and suffered an acute heart attack. Howard, an Honorary Member of RWUEA, worked for Western Union for 34 years in Miami, Florida. His final resting place will be at the Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell. He is survived by his wife of 66 years, a son, four grandchildren, and 10 great-grandchildren. 7/16/08
Edward White – Roger Barbeau advised us that Ed passed away at a local nursing home on May 29, 2008, at the age of 93. Ed was a long-time Plant Tech for Western Union, covering areas of Western Massachusetts and he retired in 1974. He was a well-known amateur radio operator and had the call letters W1NPL. Ed belonged to the American Radio Relay League and, during the Vietnam War, he spent many a weekend and holiday connecting servicemen in Vietnam with their families via an acoustical coupler that allowed them to talk freely at little or no charge. Ed continued to work into his 90s at what he loved best - selling radio parts at an electronic flea market held every weekend in the state of Maine. All his parts were culled from salvage that he purchased from the government or privately. He is survived by his son, Robert. 7/16/08
Edward Emmons – Stan McHenry advised us that he received an email from Ed's wife, Jean, stating that Ed passed away in his sleep on June 13, 2008. Stan said that he knew Ed since 1975 when Stan was Site Manager at the Hancock AUTODIN site just north of Syracuse, NY. Ed was an excellent computer center technician on the late night shift. Later, Ed moved on to a management career in the Washington, DC area with the Government Systems group and their subsequent buyers. Stan says that Ed, a long-time member of RWUEA, was a regular at the "second Saturdays of the month luncheons" with Ex-AUTODIN folks, mostly from the Andrews AFB site. When Ed was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, his wife, Jean, began coming to the luncheons to bring Ed. Jean says she will miss the luncheons that Ed enjoyed so much. As Stan says: "We will all miss seeing Ed - another of the good guys has passed on. 7/16/08
David (Dave) Robinson - North Attleboro, MA – Ralph Haynes advised us that Dave passed away recently after a long illness. Dave worked for Western Union for 37 years. Starting in the installation department in Boston, followed by work as a Section Maintainer in Mansfield, MA, Dave served in various management capacities before retiring as City Maintenance Supervisor in Boston. Dave, a long-time member of RWUEA, served during WWII in the U.S. Army Air Force in the South Pacific. He was buried with full Veterans Honors in the Mass. National Cemetery in Bourne, MA. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, four children and several grandchildren. As Ralph says: "Dave was a great guy to work with and to work for." 7/16/08
William (Bill) Peer – Bill's wife, Judy, advised us that Bill passed away very suddenly on Friday, June 13, 2008, after undergoing therapy for a knee injury. Death was apparently caused by a blood clot. 7/16/08
Carl Brucker – Carl, a long-time member of the RWUEA, and a Regional Vice-President reporting on the semi-annual lunches in Little Rock, Arkansas, passed away on March 22, 2008. Carl was a wonderful man who will be missed by all who knew him. 6/21/08
Kenneth Rogers – Ken passed away at home on March 30 at the age of 89. Ken, a long-time member and Honorary Member of RWUEA, served during WWII in the 2nd Armored Division of the U.S. Army under General Patton and fought in North Africa, Sicily and European theaters. He received both a Purple Heart for injuries suffered during the Battle of the Bulge and a Bronze Star for meritorious service. Ken worked for Western Union for 42 years, retiring as Office Manager of Madison, Wisconsin, when the office was closed. In the 1970s, Ken was elected President of Union Local 206. Ken is survived by his wife of 58 years, Marialice, four children and six grandchildren. Ken will be greatly missed by his many friends and coworkers. 6/21/08
Peter Pallari – Peter passed away on April 17, 2008. According to his daughter, Peter enjoyed going to the annual reunions held in San Francisco and he was "one of the original single dads" and the family is grateful for all those who formed a supportive group of coworkers to help the family out. 6/21/08
Mildred E. (Anderson) Schumacher – Juyne Walker informed us that Mildred passed away on March 29, 2008, at the age of 95. Mildred was a timekeeper for Western Union in Portland, Oregon for over 20 years. 6/21/08
Frank Salera – Frank Salera passed away on April 28, 2008. Frank, a long-time member of RWUEA and frequent participant in the Philadelphia lunches, started at Western Union as an Automatic Technician and then went to Washington, DC as a Maintenance Chief. Frank is survived by his wife, Patricia, 8 children, 19 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. 6/21/08
Ralph Brown – Roger Barbeau advised us that Ralph passed away unexpectedly at his home on March 29, 2008, at the age of 65. Ralph was only at Western Union for 5 years (1969-1974), but, during that time, he established himself as a good, hard-working salesman. Ralph, after high school, served six years with the U.S. Navy in submarine service. He then obtained a Marketing Degree from American International College in Springfield, Mass. Following his five years with Western Union, Ralph started his own telecommunications consulting business which he ran for some 30 years before his recent retirement. He is survived by his wife, Nancy, two daughters and three grandchildren. Roger says that he believes that "Ralph was hired by Wally May (not sure) and when Ralph smelled a sale, he was relentless. His sense of humor was infectious and I'll miss him greatly." 6/21/08
Robert Nienaber – Bob Nienaber, an Honorary Member of RWUEA, passed away on May 19 at the age of 90. Cause of death was congestive heart failure. Bob is survived by his wife, Anne, three children, 6 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. 6/21/08
Harris H. Boe – Clifford Boe reports the recent passing of his brother, Harris, at the age of 77. Harris was the area sales manager working out of the Minneapolis office before his retirement. Harris, who had a pacemaker installed sometime after his retirement, was doing well but became ill with pneumonia and, shortly after that, complications set in and he passed away about two weeks later. He is survived by two daughters, Sue and Carrie, who both live in the Minneapolis metro area. 6/21/08
J.D. (Jack) Campbell, Jr. – Mindy Campbell Hudson reports that her father, Jack, died on May 15, 2008. Jack, an Honorary Member of RWUEA, was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1921. He was a long time Western Union employee. 6/21/08
Darrell Marian – Darrell's wife, Ann, reported that Darrell passed away on April 23, 2008, after having developed leukemia in October of 2007. Darrell was 81 years old. He was a long-time employee of Western Union and was a very instrumental force in the development and operation of the Central Telephone bureau network. 6/21/08
Evelyn Arnold – George Abrams of Miami advised us that Evelyn passed away in February 2008 at the age of 80. Evelyn was a long-time member of RWUEA. She worked in the Commercial/Traffic departments of Western Union and was known to be a staunch, supporting union member. 6/21/08
Charlie Hodde - Charlie died in March 2008. A commemorative brochure prepared for his 1982 retirement from Western Union after 45 years of service tells us that Charlie was born and raised in Pawtucket, RI. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He started with Western Union in 1937 as a messenger for two years in Pawtucket. He then moved up through the operating department ranks and then into sales, followed by stints in administration and retired as District Manager/Operations for the New England region. Charlie took over the running of the last few years of the "Snowbird Luncheons" after Molly Moore and Pat Meyers, and he finally had to call it quits due to living far enough from the site of the luncheons that he couldn't make the trip anymore. Charlie was a wonderful, jovial man, who will be missed by the many who knew him. 6/21/08
Michael (Mike) Stockstill – Mike passed away at home in Ridgewood on March 8, 2008. Mike worked for Western Union for many years at Washington, DC, New York City and Upper Saddle River, NJ. Leo Whelan tells that Mike was most helpful in keeping the Farmer's Branch, Texas National Processing Center functioning at high levels by keeping its software up-to-date through "thick and thin." Mike was one of the "good guys," always willing to do whatever it took to make sure the systems he was responsible for were always in top shape. After his retirement from Western Union, Mike worked as a Senior Systems Analyst for PSE&G in Newark, NJ. He served in the US Navy during WWII and was a former Boy Scout Leader. Mike was predeceased in death by his son, Patrick in 2007, and is survived by his wife, Marjorie (Marge), one son, Mike Jr., three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Mike served on the Board of the RWUEA for many years and also was the editor of the Newsletter for many years. Bob McCluskie has written a tribute to Mike: "It is distressing to report the passing of Mike Stockstill of Ridgewood, NJ. Mike was our colleague on the Board of the Retired Western Union Employees Association on which he not only played a pivotal role in the administration of the Association, but, for several years edited and processed the RWUEA Newsletter. During those times the Newsletter was in good and faithful hands. Mike enjoyed many more years of retirement than is the allotment given many, allowing him time to travel and mix with his many friends, and to reflect on his many years of working with Western Union friends. Mike started his Western Union career in Washington, DC, moved to corporate headquarters at 60 Hudson St., NYC, and ended his work at the new corporate headquarters in Upper Saddle River, NJ. Mike is sorely missed by the Board. We were loathe to accept his resignation from the Board several years ago when Mike felt that the onslaught of Alzheimer's made it too difficult to continue. We missed him then and we miss him all the more now that he has passed over to that big telegraph office in the sky." 3/12/08
Robert M. (Bob) Griffis – Walt Lowke informed us that Bob passed away at home on February 13, 2008. Bob was 74 years old. Bob served with the US Navy during the Korean Conflict. Bob, a long-time member of RWUEA, worked for Western Union for many years in various capacities including that of Internal Auditor of field and headquarters activities. Bob is survived by his wife, Carol, 3 daughters and 5 grandchildren. 3/12/08
Doris Cantwell – Mike Brown advised us that Doris passed away on February 6, 2008, in Fairfield at the age of 87. Doris was the WU Office Manager in Summit, NJ before transferring near the end of her career to San Francisco, where she worked as a Service Representative. Before joining Western Union, Doris, who was born in Newfoundland, was a sergeant in the Canadian Women's Air Corps. 3/12/08
Lillian Agatha Sandidge – Eloise Smith Purvis of Florence, MS, advised us that Lillian (Sandy, as she was known) passed away in Brookhaven, MS, on December 9, 2007 at the age of 90. Lillian was a long time member of the RWUEA. 3/12/08
Mae Boyd – Frank Senner advised us that Mae passed away on January 21, 2008 at the St. Joseph’s Nursing Home in Meadowbrook, PA. Mae was approaching her 100th birthday this spring. Mae was a lovely person who, until recently was a regular attendee at the Philadelphia semi-annual luncheons. Mae was also an Honorary Member of the RWUEA. Mae is survived by one daughter, Alberta, two granddaughters and five great grandchildren. 2/15/08
Bruna Maria Benassi – Jane Fukuhara advised us of the passing of Bruna on December 4, 2007 at the age of 84. Bruna worked for Western Union for 35 years and was a long time member of RWUEA. Bruna was a lifetime resident of North Beach in San Francisco. 2/15/08
Charles R (Jake) Jacobs – Jane Fukuhara also advised us that Jake passed away peacefully at home on January 5, 2008 at the age of 85. Jake’s wife, Emma, said that Jake had suffered for some time with a form of anemia that required large numbers of blood transfusions each year. Jake, a longtime member of RWUEA, served in the U. S. Army during WWII. Jake, who started with Western Union as a messenger in his teens, returned to work with Western Union in San Francisco in 1948 and earned several promotions while working in California, Seattle, Spokane, New York, New Jersey and Virginia. He retired from Western Union in 1976 as Director of a Computer Site in Bridgeton, MO. He then worked an additional ten years for Washington Trust Bank. Survivors include his wife of 61 years, Emma, one daughter, two sons, nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. 2/15/08
John J. Geier – Jackie Velten informed us of the death of John at age 84 on February 9, 2008. John worked for WU at Upper Saddle River in Regulatory Affairs at Upper Saddle River, NJ. John worked for 38 years from 1946 – 1984. He served during WWII in the US Army Air Force as a Staff Sgt. John was a long time member of the RWUEA. John was pre-deceased by his wife, Millicent, and is survived by two sons, one daughter and 5 grandchildren. John’s son and daughter once worked for WU as well. 2/15/08
Thomas Hobbis, Jr. - Thomas died on January 8, 2008 at the age of 77. He was a U. S. Air force veteran of the Korean War. Before retiring in 1996, he was an executive in the finance department at AT&T and Western Union He is survived by his wife, Christine, two children and two grandchildren. 1/28/08
Ken Bouchez –RWUEA members Ray Chilton of Collinston, Louisiana, Charles Free of Humansville, Missouri and Harrell Brock of Bedford, Texas have all advised that fellow member Ken Bouchez passed away on December 20, 2007 at the age of 81. Ken served in the U. S. Navy during World War II and was buried in the National Military Cemetery at Dallas, TX. Ken retired from Western Union as Manager Outside Plant Construction over the Cable Crews at Dallas, Texas in 1989 after many years of faithful service. He will be missed by all his friends at Western Union and at Lake Tawakoni. 1/28/08
Frank Gray –Frank Senner notified us that Frank Gray passed away on January 14, 2008 after suffering a stroke. Frank was a long time member of the RWUEA and was also a frequent attendee at the Philadelphia luncheons. Frank is survived by his wife, Pauline, five children and 11 grandchildren. 1/28/08
Donald B. Bingham –James and Charlene Craig, son and daughter-in-law of Donald, advised that he passed away on December 21, 2007. Donald was a long time member of the RWUEA. They also told us that Donald’s wife, Helen, also a former Western Union employee continues to do reasonably well in Kirkland/Wilhoit, Arizona. 1/28/08
William “Bill” Rassier –Frank Senner advised us that Bill passed away suddenly on January 11, 2008. He is survived by his wife, Mary, two children and two grandchildren. 1/28/08
Martha Markey –Louise Jones advised us that Martha passed away on January 25. Martha was a long time member of both the RWUEA and of the Dallas KIT Klub. Martha was a long time employee of Western Union working both in Dallas and also at the National Processing Center in Farmers Branch from where she retired. 1/28/08
William (Bill) Bloom – Meyer Fistal advised us that Bill Bloom, an Honorary Member of RWUEA, passed away at his home in Lexington on January 4, 2008 at the age of 91. Bill, an economist and statistician for federal agencies and several major industrial corporations for many years, retired from Western Union in 1985 where he was an assistant vice president for performance measurements. Moving to Kentucky that year, Bill became a consultant with the Kentucky Small Business Development Center at the University of Kentucky where he worked for 21 more years. He is survived by his wife of more than 60 years, Frances, three daughters and five grandchildren. 1/11/08
Edward (Ed) Wentzler – Roger Huster and John Johnson advised us that Ed Wentzler died unexpectedly on Friday, December 21, 2007 at his home. Ed was 62 years old. Ed was a native of the Bronx, NY and served in the U. S. Army in the Vietnam War. Ed worked for Western Union in Mahwah, NJ as part of the Systems Development Group and was instrumental with implementation of the System 36 project during the early 1980s. When EDS took over some WU work functions in 1985, Ed transferred to EDS and moved to Cary, NC where he worked for EDS for 14 years and then retired. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Katherine, and one son, Eddie. Ed had many friends at Western Union. 1/11/08
Marlene Breeding – Marlene’s son, Bill, advised us that Marlene Breeding passed away on December 9, 2007 of natural causes at the age of 79. Marlene, many of you may remember, sent in a photo of her taken in 1944 with her Western Union messenger uniform as she bought a US Savings Bond. The photo and her recounting of her Western Union career appeared in our 2nd qtr 2007 Newsletter. Marlene also sent many photos showing WU employees at various events that took place on the West Coast during the 1950-60s. Some of these have already appeared in our Newsletter and others will appear in future editions. Marlene started her WU career in 1944 in Portland, Oregon and spent 37 years with Western Union, mostly in San Francisco, retiring in the early 1980s. Following her WU career, Marlene worked at the University of California in San Francisco for 10 years. Marlene is survived by two sons, one daughter and one grandson. Marlene’s husband, W. K. Breeding, who preceded her in death, also worked for Western Union in San Francisco. 1/11/08
Jess Gordon – Johnny Ling of Locust Grove, VA advised that Jess Gordon died on January 2, 2008. Jess was a member of RWUEA. Jess started as a Messenger while he was in High School in 1948. He then became a Plant Tech in New Orleans and later a lineman in Little Rock. In the 1950s he was promoted to Plan 55 as a Maintenance Supervisor. He participated in the cutover of sites in California, Hawaii and was stationed at the site in Seville, Spain. In the early 1960s, he attended computer training in Cherry Hill, NJ for assignments in COMLOGNET, later called AUTODIN. After participating in several site cutovers with an assignment at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma, he became Site Manager there. Later, Jess went to GSD Headquarters in Virginia where he became Manager System Maintenance for AUTODIN in the GSD Engineering Department. After GSD was sold to CONTEL, Jess took retirement from Western Union but remained in his position until 1992 when he retired from GTE. Jess served WU and GSD for some 43 years. His passing was not only noted by Johnny Ling and his friends, but by many of the DCA personnel he came in contact with. 1/11/08
Phyllis Monahan – Phyllis Monahan, formerly of Suffern, NY, passed away on December 12, 2007 at the age of 68. Phyllis was employed by Western Union in Upper Saddle River for several years as a Secretary and Administrative Assistant. She later worked for 12 years at the Museum of Modern Art as an Executive Assistant. Phyllis is survived by her husband, Patrick, three sons and one daughter, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. 1/11/08
John W. Herrion -- Jim Poulson advised us that John, who lived in Haddonfield, NJ and was an Honorary Member of RWUEA, passed away on October 26, 2007 at the age of 91. John’s career started in 1928 as a bicycle Messenger when he was only 12 years old. He worked in that capacity for approximately five years. His career continued working as a Motor Messenger for fifty more years, of which twenty years were on a part time basis. He retired in 1983 at the age of 67. John worked a total of 55 years of uninterrupted service for Western Union spanning seven decades. During his career he received several commendations for his empathy in delivering telegrams to the families of World War II casualties. After retiring, John started a janitorial service company. His association with WU continued for many years after being awarded the service contract for the main Western Union office in Philadelphia. His many friends will miss John. John is survived by two daughters, 5 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.12/17/07
Ramon Banacki –- Ramon, a member of RWUEA, passed away on July 14, 2007 at the age of 77. Ramon was a Technical Supervisor working out of Newark and then Irvington, New Jersey for 37 years. He was an Army Veteran of the Vietnam War. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Anne, one son, one daughter and six grandchildren.12/17/07
Boyd J. (Bud) Fastle -- Boyd’s wife notified us that Boyd passed away on September 5, 2007 from cancer. They had been married for over 57 years. Boyd worked for Western Union for 34 years and during that time they traveled many times to different locations. They met many wonderful people and still keep in contact with several.12/17/07
Robert Good -- Robert’s daughter, Ellen Murphy informed us that her father had passed away on November 10, 2007. According to Ellen, Robert, an Honorary Member of RWUEA, enjoyed coming to the twice a year banquets held in northern New Jersey.12/17/07
Mary Pool -- Ralph Pool informed us that his wife of 65 years, Mary, passed away on June 22, 2007 as a result of kidney and heart troubles.12/17/07
Mary Jordan -- Steve Smith of Blythewood, SC notified us that Mary had died on October 4, 2007. Mary was the WU manager in Camden, SC and also worked in the Columbia SC public office operations. Steve worked with Mary in Columbia when he was assistant manager and he ”never knew a more dedicated and capable employee”. 12/17/07
William C. (Charlie) West, Jr. -- Ben Bowlen sent in the following obituary. Charlie West passed away at the age of 90 on Sunday, June 24, 2007. He started working for Western Union in 1934 as a messenger in the Johnson City office. He transferred as a Telegraph Operator to the Bristol office and then to the Kingsport office in 1943. He served as the manager of the Kingsport office until it closed in 1972. Following his retirement from Western Union, Charlie then worked for Tennessee Eastman from 1972 until 1982 when he took retirement. He then did tax consulting and preparation work both independently and for H&R Block for several years. Charlie’s wife of 70 years, Ruth, predeceased him by one month, passing away on June 20, 2007. He is survived by two daughters and several grandchildren. 10/12/07
Keith Rankin – Ukiah, CA --Fred Coito of Ripon, CA advised us that Keith passed away on September 27, 2007 at the age of 80. Keith, a member of RWUEA, died in Sacramento, California of heart failure. Before his death, Keith was proud of the fact that he Stanford Hospital’s second longest living heart bypass survivor. Keith started working for WU in 1948 by attending a training school in Santa Cruz. His first assignment after graduation was to Eureka, California. While at Eureka, Keith met and married one of his co-workers, Betty O’Dell. In 1957, Keith moved to Ukiah and became the manager of the Ukiah office. In 1971, the Ukiah office closed. Keith and Betty then returned to the Eureka office until it closed in 1972. Then Keith transferred to the Palo Alto office as manager until it closed in 1983. (Keith had his bypass surgery in 1976 at the age of 50 while working in Palo Alto and continued working there until it closed.) Keith then retired and shortly after they returned to Ukiah to be near their daughter and grandchildren. Keith was predeceased by his wife of 53 years, Betty, and is survived by 3 children, 5 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. 10/12/07 June Helene Brown -- Juyne Walker, coordinator for RWUEA in Pacific Northwest, advised us that June Brown passed away on September 18, at the age of 73, after a long battle with lung cancer. June was a life-long resident of Oregon and, after graduating from Tigard High School, went to work for Western Union as a teletype operator for more than 30 years. She then worked for a short while in the credit office of Sears Roebuck. June was also a longtime member of the RWUEA. June is survived by one son and one grandchild. 10/12/07
James Adkins --Leo Whelan informed us that James passed away in October 2007. James was a long time faithful member of the Dallas Keep In Touch (KIT) Klub. A memorial service was held on October 11th. 10/12/07
Ernest A. (Ernie) Oswalt --Brenda Brooks reports that Ernie passed away August 2, 2007 at the age of 69. Ernie died of a heart attack while doing some work at his church. Ernie leaves behind a wife, daughter, son and two grandchildren. 10/12/07
Catherine M. (Flannery) Heverin -- Jackie Velten and Lou De Respino notified us of the death of Catherine on September 11, 2007. Catherine was a long time employee of Western Union at both 60 Hudson Street, NYC and Upper Saddle River, NJ starting in a Secretarial Pool at 60 Hudson Street and retiring from USR in the mid 1980’s as a supervisor handling file and supplies distribution. (Catherine was noted for her sense of humor which is probably remarkable when you consider that, after her transfer from NYC to USR, Catherine drove across the Cross Bronx Highway and the George Washington Bridge every day to work at USR from and to her home in Flushing Queens. This was approximately a 60-mile round trip every day through some of the most congested highways in the NY Metropolitan area.) 10/12/07
Alvin R. Smith -- Laura Merten reports that Alvin (Smitty) Smith, died March 26, 2007 at his home in Hutchinson at the age of 76. Born in 1930 in Blackwater, MO, Alvin had been a rancher and Plant Tech for WU with 30 years service, retiring on February 28, 1985. He was a US Army Corporal who served in the Korean War in the 5th Armored Division. He was buried in the Pleasant View Cemetery, with full military honors by an Honor Guard from Ft. Riley, KS. He is survived by his wife, Gayle, children and grandchildren.
James R. Matthews -- James, who died on April 8, 2007, at the age of 72, was employed by Western Union for 32 years as a Senior Relief Manager T&R. He is survived by family and friends.
Alma Aileen "Doodle" Primm -- Alma died at the age of 82 on June 16, 2007. Born in New Port Richey, Florida, "Doodle" as she was called by her family and "Primm" as all in Western Union called her, was hired on January 7, 1946. She was a Branch Manager at one time, but mostly was Chief Delivery Manager in the Commercial Department in Kansas City. "Primm" was one of the original "Lunch Bunch Group" in Kansas City. She was employed 33 years, retiring on January 31, 1984. She leaves a loving extended family and will be truly missed by all.
Riley R. McNally -- Riley passed away on August 5, 2007, at the age of 92. Born in Hitchia, OK, Riley was employed with the old Postal Telegraph in 1936. After serving in the US Navy in WWII, he returned to Western Union in 1946. He retired on July 20, 1978. He was President of old Local 23 from January 1970 to December 1971. He was a 61 year Mason and Shriner. He was Assistant Foreman at the time of his retirement. He leaves his wife of 60 years, Thelma, and children and grandchildren. He was quite a guy and will be missed.
Raymond Hyde -- George and Ruby Fields report that Raymond Hyde, longtime member of the RWUEA, passed away at home on August 16, 2007, at the age of 75. He is survived by his wife, Stella, a daughter and three grandsons.
Dorothy (Bardini) Shaffer -- Ed Ronan reports that Dorothy passed away on August 23, 2007, at the age of 98. Dorothy lived in East Hartford and Coventry for most of her life and worked for Western Union for many years. Dorothy, predeceased by her husband George Shaffer, is survived by her son, Robert, two granddaughters and seven great grandchildren.
Gerald Clark -- Leo Matthews informed us that Gerald passed away on August 5, 2007. Gerald worked for many years at Western Union as a lineman, T&R Tech in the downtown St. Louis office and later at Bridgeton.
Carl L. Ross -- Carl's wife, Marilyn, reports that Carl died on June 1, 2007, at the age of 79. Carl was a long-time member of the RWUEA. Carl, who suffered from Parkinson's disease for some 13 years, was Manager of the Las Vegas office for many years.
John Jelinski -- Al Bernardini reports the death of his close friend, John Jelinski, who passed away on August 29, 2007, at the age of 85. John worked as an Automatic Technician and, for quite awhile, worked the late night shift. John and Al were both avid collectors of stamps and would go to stamp collecting stores and shows together for many years. John, who worked for Western Union for 31 years, was also an Automatic Operator in his early years. John met his wife, Mary (nee Kern) while at Western Union. John is survived by his wife Mary, a daughter, three grandchildren and a great-grandchild. John will be missed by all.
Wilson "Larry" Johnson -- Larry's wife, Virginia, informed us that Larry had passed away at his home in Sebring on June 8, 2007. Larry was Vice President of Technical Services and also spent time as the President of Western Union Hawaii. Larry was a significant presence in Western Union during its expansionary phase and will be missed. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean conflict and was a member of the VFW and was a "Kentucky Colonel". In addition to his wife, Virginia, Larry is survived by a son, Mark, and five grandchildren. 7/24/07
Sally E. Anderson -- Sally Anderson, a long time employee of both the Reno and Bridgeton CSCs passed away on July 17, 2007, after a long battle with cancer. Sally was a remarkable woman who made many contributions to the Western Union Money Transfer business that exists today and who always had a bright outlook on life. She will have a memorial service on Monday, July 30, 2007 at the First Baptist Church of Sparks, 6255 Pyramid Lake Rd., Sparks, NV. 7/24/07
Armand LeBoeuf -- Armand LeBoeuf passed away at his home in Lowell, Mass, on May 26, 2007, after a year-long bout with cancer. He had worked for Western Union for 44 years, starting right after graduating from high school. He spent 15 years in the Commercial Department at Boston, Mass and on to Relief Plant Tech. At a military memorial service on June 9, attended by several of his former Western Union fellow employees, it was pointed out that he had been at Normandy on June 6, 1944, landing on Omaha Beach. A reception followed at a family home. Armand was predeceased by his wife, Kaye, also a retired Western Union employee. Armand is survived by a son, Kevin. Armand will be missed. 7/24/07
Philip Gangemi -- Philip's son, David, wrote to ask that we discontinue the newsletter for his father as Philip had passed away in 2006. Philip Gangemi, an Honorary Member of RWUEA for many years died at 102 years of age. Philip and his wife both lived with David and his family for the last 16 years of their lives. David says that he and his family were "blessed with his life's values and lessons as well as my mom's." 7/24/07
Linus (Linny) Dwyer -- Mike Brown notified us that his half-brother, Linus Dwyer, passed away on June 17 in Ventura, CA at the age of 81. Linny was WU office manager at Liberty, NY and Monticello, NY before those offices closed in 1970. He was a decorated veteran of WWII and recipient of the Purple Heart. He is survived by his wife, Betsy, and two daughters. He was a proud and long-time member of the RWUEA. 7/12/07
Joseph (Joe) Hayes --Leo Whalen notified us of the passing of Joe Hayes on June 28 at the age of 77. Joe and Leo worked together for several years with Joe the Manager Computer Center at the WU National Processing Center in Farmers Branch, TX. Leo notes that he will never forget how Joe helped everyone at the Processing Center with the various computer reports – daily – weekly – and, especially, the "monthly closings". Joe passed away after battling lung cancer for some time. (Leo mentioned that Dora Scoggins’ son, Timothy, who died the week before Joe, was taking chemo treatments at the same location and time as Joe and learned all about his mother’s and Joe’s working days together at Western Union – Small World!) Joe is survived by his wife, Joan, one daughter, one son and two grandchildren. 7/12/07
Mary Elizabeth (Lizzy)Toppins Burke -- Ben Bowlen notified us of the passing of Mary Elizabeth on June 20 at the age of 82. Mary Elizabeth retired from Western Union in Knoxville in the 1970’s. She was a lifetime member of the Elm Street Baptist Church, a long time member of the RWUEA and is survived by one son and his wife, one granddaughter and three great-grandchildren. 7/12/07
Bobby Jack Patterson -- Jeff Ham advised us of the passing of Bobby Jack Patterson on July 7 at the age of 74. Jeff had the pleasure of working with Jack for many years in Florida. Jack was in sales in the Tampa office and was later a District Supervisor working for Frank Barber out of the Tampa office. Jeff notes that Jack was a wonderful person and a dear friend. He will be missed. He is survived by his wife, Regina, two daughters and 6 grandchildren.7/12/07
Brendan Smotilla -- John P. McKeown and Kevin Johnson report the death of Brendan Smotilla of Airmont, NY on June 17, 2007 at the age of 56, after a courageous battle with cancer. Born in Youngstown, Ohio, Brendan graduated from Youngstown State and joined Western Union in the Pittsburgh, PA Sales Office in 1979. He was promoted to Upper Saddle River in the National Sales Training center in the early 1980s before becoming a Sales Manager in both New Jersey and New York until 1990. (Anyone in the WU sales organization in the metro New York area remembers the great times we had with Brendan at softball games, company meetings, President's Club, or the many functions we scheduled just to get together with our friends at WU.) In 1991, Brendan joined AT&T when the WU Business Services Group was acquired by AT&T and became the AT&T Easylink Services. He spent the next 17 years in various management positions with AT&T. He is survived by his wife, Ann Marie, one daughter, Neysa, and two grandsons. He will be deeply missed. 6/25/07
Francis J. Aler -- Francis J. Aler died on February 19, 2007 at Whiting, New Jersey, from cancer that had attacked his lungs and spread to the brain, affecting his ability to speak. He was born in 1917, in Harbor Springs, Michigan. A long-time employee of Western Union, Francis began as a messenger in 1933, and worked throughout Michigan and then Minnesota, where he was District Sales Manager before being promoted to the New York Headquarters Sales Department, where he worked for J. Nelson Willis and I. J. Varner. He later worked for Edward H. Cole as Director of Telex Marketing, from which position Francis retired in 1980. Cole always said of Francis Aler that he was the very best executive of the many that worked with him over the years. Francis was passionate about his Airstream mobile home and the New Jersey Unit of the International Airstream organization, of which he was president. In Whiting, he volunteered for many community activities and received special recognition for his dedication and contributions. He is survived by his wife, Virginia, and by his two daughters, four grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. 6/09/07
Lorraine Well -- Bill McQuerry notified us that Lorraine passed away at 101 years old on May 19, 2007. Lorraine worked for WU from 1925 through 1930 in the Traffic and Mux department in Milwaukee. The Milwaukee Alumni Lunch group celebrated her 100th birthday last year. Bill got to know her a few years ago and hopes that he is "half as sharp as she is when I hit my 100th birthday!" 6/09/07
Dorothy Leona Lewis -- Laura Merten reports that Leona passed away on February 27, 2007 at the age of 89. Leona worked for Western Union in Kansas City, MO as a telegraph operator from 1943 to 1976. After her retirement from Western Union, Leona worked part time for the License Bureau in Butler. Leona enjoyed camping, sewing, quilting, knitting and playing cards. She is survived by a brother, Glen. 6/05/07
Wolfgang (Obie) Oberle -- Jackie Velten learned from Obie's brother, Joseph, that Wolfgang Oberle, better known to his fellow co-workers as "Obie", passed away on April 18, 2007 at the age of 72. Obie worked for Western Union for 30 years at 60 Hudson Street until 1973 and later at Upper Saddle River, NJ until his retirement in 1989. He worked in the Material Management Department as an Inspector. Wolfgang enjoyed his family members -- two brothers and several nieces and nephews. 6/05/07
Beatrice (Bea Buffa) Antinoro -- Jackie Velten was notified by Bea's husband, Victor, that Bea, a long time member of the RWUEA, had passed away on March 28, 2007 at age 72. Bea worked for Western Union for 37 years. She started at 60 Hudson Street in August 1953 and retired from Upper Saddle River, NJ in 1990. Bea, at the time of her retirement, was Manager of Pensions. She also loved bowling and belonged to a league at WU. 6/05/07
Edward Rodsky -- Mr. Rodsky’s grandson, Anthony Mascolo, reports that Edward died on April 17, 2007 in Staten Island at the age of 85. Mr. Rodsky, a longtime member of RWUEA, was employed by Western Union for 47 years, retiring in 1986 as a managing supervisor. He started delivering telegrams for WU and, although he was offered a position as a catcher for the Cincinnati Reds, he opted instead to enlist in the US Navy. He served on the USS Pope from 1944 to 1948, stationed in the Mediterranean and the Pacific. One of his positions was engineer in the headquarters building of WU at 60 Hudson ST. He served for many years as the head shop steward of Local 1199, Communications Workers of America. Mr. Rodsky was very active in religious and sports organizations in Staten Island. He was predeceased in 1986 by his wife, Helen, and is survived by one son, two daughters, and four grandchildren. 5/22/07
Peter Mooney -- Peter, a retired systems analyst for Western Union, passed away on Saturday, May 12, 2007 at home. He was 71. He is survived by his wife, Sheridan, one son, two daughters and four grandchildren. 05/22/07
Kenneth (Kenny) Williams -- Jim Stow reports that Kenny passed away on April 22, 2007 at the age of 67. Kenny started working for Western Union around 1962 as a member of the Line Crew. He then became an Installer in Kansas City and stayed with the Installation Department until it was shut down in the late 1980’s. He transferred to Easylink as a customer support technician. When Easylink was sold to AT&T in 1990, he went to work for AT&T Easylink until 1997. After leaving AT&T, Kenny worked for the High School in California, MO. He is survived by one son, one daughter and two grandsons. He was well liked and respected by all that knew him and he will be missed by all. 5/22/07
Everett Levell, Jr. -- Everett, a longtime member of RWUEA, passed away on April 23, 2007, at the age of 85. Born in Kirksville, MO, he started work for Western Union in 1941 after graduating from High School in 1940. Everett was employed by WU in Construction and Engineering in various locations around the US and continued in these departments for 38 plus years retiring at Los Angeles, California in 1979. After his retirement, Everett became the family genealogist. He is survived by four sons, one daughter, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and also his companion of 30 years, Frieda Ward. He was buried in Marceline, MO. 5/22/07
Alex Shumiloff -- Jim Snider of Grove City, Ohio wrote us about Alex, whose death was reported in our last newsletter. Jim first met Alex in the mid 1940’s when Jim worked as the Night Manager in Lima, Oh. Alex was one of the crewmembers who were installing the Carrier System in Lima. Jim left Lima in 1950 and became the manager at Niles and then Salem, Ohio during the next ten years. He saw a lot of Alex, as Alex was the Plant Rep in that territory working out of Youngstown. During one of the cold winter months at Niles, Jim would open his office and his overnight file would come in as junk. Alex followed up on each occasion but was unable to find the problem. One morning, Alex had an idea. He took the printer out on the sidewalk for a short time and, when he brought it in and reinstalled it, the messages came in as junk. Alex had solved the problem – the printer just failed to get up to the right speed until it warmed up. The next problem Jim created for Alex was when he broke a key on the 2B printer. Alex, stressing the fact that is was metal, looked at it and shook his head and exclaimed, “How did you do this – Mighty Mouse.?” From that day on, Alex always referred to Jim as “Mighty Mouse”. After leaving Salem in 1960, Jim eventually became a Sales Rep headquartered in Cleveland with Youngstown being part of his territory. On his first trip to Youngstown, as Jim went into a café for a sandwich, he heard a voice –“hey, Mighty Mouse”. It had been approximately 15 years since Jim had heard that phrase and he knew it was Alex. They had lunch and that was the last time Jim ever saw Alex. Jim left the company for seven years to recover from a near fatal accident and when he returned in 1982, he moved from Cleveland to Columbus, Ohio and became District Manager for Southern Ohio until he retired in 1987. “I felt a great degree of sadness when I saw Alex's name in the Memoriam section of the RWUEA. He was a valued friend and his friendship shall never be forgotten. I will always remember, on those occasions when we would meet – the big smile, the firm handshake and the familiar – “hey, Mighty Mouse. 5/22/07
Glenn Short -- Jim Schlutz notified us of the death of Glenn Short on February 13, 2007. Glenn died just one month after the death of his wife of 60 years, Lometa Short. Although he was born in Tennessee, Glenn spent his youth in Texas, graduating from Wylie High School in 1940. He served in the Civilian Conservation Corps before he joined the U. S. Navy and served in the South Pacific during World War II. He graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1948 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He then joined Western Union, working in New Orleans, Kansas City, St. Louis, New York City and finally, Allentown, PA where he served as General Manager until his retirement in 1984. He is survived by one daughter, two sons and nine grandchildren. 4/19/07
Tera Brown -- Eileen Carter, Tera’s daughter, informed us of the death of Tera Brown on March 26, 2007. Tera, a member of RWUEA, died from complications of pneumonia at Shady Grove Hospital. Tera retired from the Washington, DC area around 1990 and worked as a phone operator, night manager, day manager in all the offices in and around DC and Virginia. Eileen says she was trained by Tera and worked with Tera for most of her career. 4/19/07
Norma Jean Baker -- Cindy Spriggs, Norma’s daughter, informed us that Norma died on March 27, 2007. Norma worked for 30 years in the Dallas and Fort Worth area. 4/19/07
Russell Flynn -- Bob Cleary informed us that Russell, a member of RWUEA, died on February 18, 2007 at the age of 88 from complications of cancer. Russell was a Navy Captain who graduated from the U. S. Naval Academy in 1942. He served during World War II, participating in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the invasion of the Philippines and Okinawa. He was a communications and planning officer in the Korean War and later commanded the destroyer USS Harold Ellison and the amphibious force command ship USS Mount McKinley. He was commanding officer of the U. S. Naval Communications Station in Norfolk, VA when he retired in 1966. He then joined Western Union in McLean, VA, serving as a program manager until 1978. Predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Belle Flynn, in 2003, Russell is survived by 6 children, 12 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. 4/19/07
Carl P. Barney -- Bob DeLozier of Crossville, TN and Lois Urich of Kennesaw, GA advised that Carl passed away on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 after suffering complications from a heart valve. Carl retired from the Atlanta WU Training Center. During his Western Union career, Carl worked with his very good friend, Bob, in support of the USAF Plan 55 Switching Centers at various domestic and overseas locations. Later, Carl pursued his most desired work when teaching in the Chattanooga and Atlanta Western Union Training Centers. Carl is survived by his wife, Elaine and several children. Those fortunate enough to know Carl realize how much he will be missed. 3/6/07
Dorothy (Dottye) Schnibbe -- Eileen Gigante of Mahwah, NJ advises that Dottye Schnibbe lost her yearlong battle with lung cancer and passed away on January 15, 2007 at the age of 79. She worked in Upper Saddle River during her Western Union career, retired in 1986 and then moved to Virginia. The last eight years Dot lived in Monroe with her daughter Sue Sussman and her family. She will be remembered fondly by her family and the many friends she made along the way. 3/6/07
Reginald (Reggie) Koziarski -- Bill McQuerry advises that his good friend Reggie Koziarski passed away on Sunday, January 14, 2007 at the age of 71. Reggie worked for Western Union for 30 years, starting as a Plant Technician in the Milwaukee office and later he served as a Service Representative for the Public Office Operations. He is survived and will be missed by his wife, Daria, two children, grandchildren, nephews, nieces, other relatives and friends. 3/6/07
Gene Pinto -- Gene Pinto passed away at home on February 10, 2007, after a long bout with cancer. Gene was 70 years old and had worked for WU for 37 years. His last position was at "PQ" - wire chief at the Philly Main Office. Gene had attended the Philadelphia lunches for several years with his good friend, Jiggs Lustig. Gene Pinto is survived by his wife, Arlene, two daughters and two grandchildren. 3/6/07
Beverly Jean Burback -- Eunice Butler reports the passing of Beverly Jean Burback on January 5, 2006 at the age of 78. Beverly Jean worked for Western Union for 35 years. She was pre-deceased by her husband, George, and is survived by 5 children, 3 grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren. 3/6/07
Elsie Eileen Beaver -- Eunice Butler reports that Elsie, a long time member of RWUEA, passed away in her home on January 12, 2007 at the age of 81. Elsie worked for the Western Union Telegraph Company for 35 years - retiring in 1985. Elsie was pre-deceased by her husband, Carl Earl and is survived by two sons, three grandsons and four great-grandsons. 3/6/07
Burt Mendelson -- RWUEA member Burt Mendelson passed away on January 24, 2007 at the age of 81 from complications of Parkinson's Disease. Burt handled acquisitions for the Company while working for Russ McFall during the 1960s and 1970s. For several years in the 1970s, Burt ran the WU Computer Utilities subsidiary out of Fort Lauderdale although his permanent home was in Mahwah, NJ. He is survived by his wife, Grace, two children and eight grandchildren. A son, Alan, predeceased Burton. Ray Dujack, a friend who worked with Burt for several years, sent this information through John Wilkinson. 1/29/07
Allen B. (Al) Purviance -- Allen ("Al") Purviance passed away January 22, 2007 at the age of 74. Al was born in Arkansas and moved to Fresno, CA at a young age. He graduated from Fresno High School and attended Fresno State University. He served four years in the US Marine Corps during the Korean War with two tours of duty in Korea. Al started with the Western Union Company at age 16 as a telegram delivery boy and worked his way up to Vice President of Sales and Marketing at the corporate headquarters in Upper Saddle River, NJ. After retiring from Western Union, Al became the owner and operator of Minuteman Press of Ramsey, NJ, Mahwah, NJ, and Suffern, NY. Allen was predeceased by his wife, Jayne E. Purviance, and is survived by his stepson, Walter Hix III, Walter's wife Deborah and grandchildren Jennifer, Piper, Tiffany O'Hanlon and Walter Hix IV.
The RWUEA Board marks the passing of Allen Purviance with respectful and profound sorrow. For many years, our Newsletter was produced by Al at his Minuteman Press operation. As Bob McCluskie wrote after attending Al's memorial service at the historic Old Stone Church in Upper Saddle River: "Al Purviance left us, much as he had been when he worked and relaxed among us: In Style! His life and work were ably memorialized by the pastor of that church. At the conclusion of his remarks, two Marines, to the strain of taps, folded and presented the Stars and Stripes to his surviving relatives." A reception, attended by many of Al's Western Union friends, followed at the Ramsey Golf and Country Club, where Al had been a long-time member who served on the Board of Directors several times. Posted 1/26/07, 3/6/07
Albert (Al) Storey, Jr. -- Al passed away on Christmas Eve Day, 2006 at the age of 78. Al graduated from Las Vegas High School in 1946. While working for Western Union during WW II as a teenager, then Senator Harry Truman spoke to Al, mistaking him for being older and wanting to know why he wasn’t in the service. Al subsequently did serve in the U.S. Army and attended the University of Nevada at Reno. He worked for Western Union until his retirement from the Government Services Division (GSA) in Washington in 1976. Al then returned to Las Vegas where he entered the real estate business, eventually founding his own company, Storey Realty, a property management and remodeling business. Al was preceded in death by his first wife of 39 years, Helen. Al leaves behind his wife, Kay, two sons and two daughters, 12 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. Posted 1/28/07
Violet Naomi Pense -- Violet (Vi) passed away on January 1, 2007 at the age of 73. Vi graduated from Burns High School in Burns, Wyoming. Violet married Clair Ernest Pense on February 14, 1951, and began working for Western Union after the birth of her first child. She continued working for WU until after her two other children were born. She then worked for 12 years as a school bus driver so she could spend more time with her children. She then resumed working for Western Union as a Service Representative and Trainer. She loved gardening and volunteering to help with various children’s organizations. Vi is survived by her husband of 55 years, Clair, one son, two daughters, 17 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren. Vi was a wonderful and caring person who will be sorely missed. Posted 1/28/07
Emily Crossan -- Emily passed away on January 19, 2007 at the age of 93. Emily was a 42 year employee of Western Union. She worked for many years at the 11th and Locust building. Her early memories were of wearing roller skates to get to the various stations, then going skating with coworkers at a local rink on Friday nights. She later worked at an Outside Plant facility for the Installation and Plant Tech groups on 40th street and also at Area Headquarters at 1845 Walnut Street near Rittenhouse Square. She and her husband, Cecil, a 48 year employee, were among the group that founded the employees union, walking the picket line during strikes. Cecil served as both union vice president and president for several terms. Emily and Cecil retired to Stone Harbor, New Jersey where they lived until Cecil’s death in 1983. Emily continued to live there until 1995 when she joined her son and daughter in law in Philadelphia and later, when her son retired to Mays Landing, NJ, Emily went to an assisted living home nearby. Posted 1/28/07
Jean B. Riley -- Jean, the wife of Jack Riley of Abilene,Texas, passed away on December 12, 2006 at a local hospital in Abilene. Jean married Jack on December 23, 1945 in Yuma, Arizona after Jack’s release from the Air Force. They lived in the San Francisco area, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Minneapolis and New York as Jack pursued his career with Western Union. She died just 11 days short of their 61st anniversary. Jean is survived by her husband, Jack and several relatives and friends. Posted 1/28/07
Gulik (Bud) Texley -- Bud’s nephew, Jim Tope, sent an e-mail informing us that his uncle, an Honorary Member of the RWUEA, had died on January 15, 2002 (!) at the age of 96. Bud worked at the Chicago office for many years. Apparently his nephew enjoyed reading the Newsletter so much that he only just now realized that it might be time to let us know of Bud’s demise! (He had hoped to see a picture of Bud in one of our old photos.) Oh well, as the saying goes – Better late than never! Posted 1/28/07
Paul Reedy -- Paul's death was reported in our 1st quarter 2007 Newsletter. His daughter, Susan, sent in the following article. "Paul Reedy passed away in his sleep on November 13, 2006. Paul worked for Western Union 43 years, starting as a bicycle messenger for the Chico, California office, where he later became manager. From there, he moved quickly - managing the Salinas, CA and the Las Vegas, NV offices. Paul retired from WU in 1979 as District Supervisor in the Los Angeles office. His territory included much of Southern California, Southern Nevada and parts of Arizona. He leaves behind him his wife, Fern, 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Paul touched many lives and will be missed so very much." (A photo showing Paul in front of the Chico, CA office in 1937 will appear in our upcoming 2nd quarter 2007 Newsletter.) Posted 12/30/06
Donat (Don) Dube -- Chuck Ryan reports that Don died from medical complications at home on December 8. A memorial service was held in January. Chuck worked with Don in Norwalk, CT in 1952-1953. Don retired from the Western Union headquarters Auditing Department at Upper Saddle River, NJ. Posted 12/30/06
Edwin (Jack) Dyer -- Jack died peacefully on Saturday, December 23, 2006 after a courageous battle with cancer. Jack was 72 years old. Jack worked in operations and administration positions in both the New England area and at WU headquarters and retired in 1991. A resident of Enfield, CT, since 1995, Jack previously resided in Ramsey, NJ and Framingham, MA. Jack is survived by his wife of 50 years, Nancy, 2 children and 4 grandchildren. Posted 12/30/06
Floyd A. McCarty -- Ron Kollmann reports that Floyd, 89 years old, died on Monday, November 20, 2006 at his home. Floyd, born in Oskaloosa, Iowa, lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for 25 years, working for Western Union as a lineman and in the installation department of Western Union in Cincinnati. He retired in 1979. Floyd was predeceased by his wife, Opal. He is survived by an adopted daughter, Karen and her husband, Jim Oliver. Posted 12/30/06
John R. Lindstrom -- John passed away on December 9, 2006 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for the last few years of his life. He was the building superintendent at Western Union headquarters in Upper Saddle River, NJ. Born in Risor, Norway, John, as a teenager, was part of the Norwegian underground during WWII and sailed the seven seas as an engineer with the Merchant Marine before coming to the United States. He lived for many years in Montvale, NJ where he was an active member of the Planning Board. He is survived by his wife, Reidun, 3 sons and 8 grandchildren. Posted 12/30/06
Joe Brucia -- Walt Girardin sent in a piece about the passing of one who the San Diego Union-Tribune described as the "best friend to sports journalists." Joe passed away at the age of 96 from complications of diabetes. Born in 1910 in San Francisco, Joe began working for Western Union at the age of 14 as a bike messenger in Fresno, CA. He worked for Western Union for 48 years before turning his energies to sports media. While at Western Union, Joe traveled during political campaigns with Presidents Truman, Eisenhower and Nixon, delivering reporters' copy to WU offices or transmitting it via Teletype. One of this first sports assignments was sending press dispatches by Morse code for a golf tournament involving the legendary Bobby Jones at Pebble Beach. After his career with WU, Joe became a fixture at various sports events throughout the USA. He was the media "go to guy" for the Chargers, the PGA, LPGA and the Senior PGA. Joe was less than 4 months away from his 96th birthday when he worked his last event, the Buick Invitational golf tournament, last January. Joe was predeceased by his wife, Jessie, and is survived by 2 sons, 6 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Posted 12/30/06
Rodney (Rod) Williams -- Laura Merten reports that Rod died on October 1, 2006 at the age of 73. Born in April 1933 in Kemp, Oklahoma, Rod was a private person, who, unknown to many persons, was part American Indian and also attended Haskell Institute in Lawrence, Kansas. A member of the U.S. Air Force for 9 1/2 years during both the latter part of the Korean conflict and the beginnings of the Vietnam War, Rod joined Western Union in March of 1962, joining the Commercial Telegraphers Union on April 1, 1962. He retired on September 17, 1988, after accepting severance pay as many had to do during those troubled times at Western Union. Rod was a well-known union man and supporter of the local Kansas City union. He was also an organizer and supporter of the annual Kansas City reunion and the monthly luncheons. He will be missed by those who knew him. Posted 12/6/06
Harold J. Carroll -- Laura Merten reports that Harold died on August 19, 2006 at the age of 74. Harold was an Electrical Engineer with Western Union and he retired in 1989. Since 1989, he was a member of Evangel Temple who participated in a number of mission trips building churches and schools around the world. He belonged to the Black Sheep Flying Club and enjoyed building and flying remote controlled airplanes. Harold was born in Flippin, Arkansas in 1932 -- married a woman from Flippin -- and was buried in Flippin. He leaves a wife, Ann, two daughters and six grandchildren. Sympathy to the family. Posted 12/6/06
George Corbo -- George A. Corbo, Sr. died on October 10, 2005 at the age of 93, in Stuart, FL, having suffered a second stroke. George worked for Western Union for 56 years. According to George, no other employee had a longer service record. He started work at age 11 as a bicycle messenger boy delivering telegrams every evening. By age 14, he was sent by Western Union to Rahway, NJ, for two weeks of training to be a Teletype operator. He also attended Hackensack High School part-time while working. Years later, he was trained to be a Relief Operator, and traveled to Norwalk, CT and Newport, RI. Finally, Mr. Corbo accepted a position in the Traffic Department in Newark. He later became Chief Operator but found that the position that suited him best was Senior Technician. George could solve any problem that arose, which sometimes necessitated his being called at all hours of the night and early morning. George retired in 1979 at age 67. His retirement years have been spent in Stuart, FL with his wife of 70 years, Helen. George enjoyed playing golf, tinkering with his cars, working around the house, and spending time with his family. The Corbo family includes wife Helen, four children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Posted 12/6/06
Teresia DeWein -- Laura Merten reports that Miss Teresia died on September 2, 2006 at the age of 85. She joined Western Union in 1948 and worked as an instructor and operator. She was placed on FFR on November 30, 1970, stayed on FFR during 1971, paying her union dues for the entire year, and then took her severance pay in January, 1972. Posted 12/6/06
O. William (Bill) Hamm -- Bill's daughter, BettyClaire Hamm Baksh, sent in the following information about her father. Bill's career with Western Union started in the mid 1930s as a bicycle messenger. During WWII, he was actively recruited by the Coast Guard because he knew Morse code. They promised him that he could skip basic training (which he did). After the end of the war, he resumed his career with WU in Oklahoma City. WU also moved the family to Amarillo, TX, Shreveport, LA, New Jersey (he worked at headquarters at 60 Hudson St., NYC), Baton Rouge, LA and San Antonio, TX. He was a man of dignity and honor -- a gentleman throughout his life. Posted 12/6/06
James J. Farrell -- Betty Farrell reported that her husband, James, passed away on October 29, 2006, after a long illness. Jim worked with the Government Systems Division in McLean, VA. He enjoyed his work and the people he came in contact with while doing his job. Jim was 78 years old. Posted 12/6/06
Frank Suriani -- Frank, age 73, died on Thursday, November 30, at his home following a brief illness. Frank was born in Philadelphia and worked for Western Union for 35 years following which he worked for Rockwood Insurance for 20 years before retiring in 2005. Frank was an Army veteran attaining the rank of Sergeant. Frank leaves behind his wife of 43 years, Patricia, and had 3 sons and two grandchildren. He wil be missed by all who knew him. Posted 12/6/06
Milton Gordon -- MIlton's daughter-in-law, Shallen (who often accompanied Milton to the KIT Klub luncheons), reported that Milton passed away on December 2 from complications of pneumonia. Milton was 88 years old. Milton, born in New York City, joined Western Union in 1936 while he was a student at Manley High School in Chicago. He interrupted his WU career during WWII, serving as a Sergeant in the 10th Infantry Regiment of the "Red Diamond" 5th Division. He took part in the invasion of Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded the Purple Heart. After the war's end, Milton returned to Western Union, where he was an accountant until retiring in 1976. He then worked for Mercantile National Bank until 1985. Milton was preceded in death by his wife of 54 years, Sophie, and is survived by three sons and 6 granchildren. He will be greatly missed by all. Posted 12/6/06
Raymond (Ray) Gleason -- Joe Steele and Bob McCluskie were informed by Ray's wife, Bunny, that Ray had passed away on September 29. Bob said that Ray was "a great representative of Western Union and helped make InfoCom a great service." Posted 12/6/06
William G. (Bill) Bradley -- Marlene Bradley said her husband Bill had passed away on November 1 as a result of complications from diabetes and two heart attacks. Bill, who was 76 years old, retired from ATT in 1996 after having worked for Western Union and later, ATT, for 38 years in Sales and Marketing. Bill joined WU after serving in the US Navy in Korea and then graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky in 1957. Bill received his MBA degree from Pace University in 1980. He was a member of Mensa and also was a “Kentucky Colonel”. Bill is survived by his wife, 3 children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Mike Brown writes that Bill was one of the brightest people he ever worked with and was also fiercely loyal. Mike and Bill ran the Professional (PRO) Club for a few years and on Monday mornings would fly to Chicago to preview the business show that was being put together by their vendor, Williams-Girard. For the first 30 minutes or so of the flight, Bill would amuse himself by effortlessly filling in the NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle – with a felt pen. (Editor’s Note: Since my wife occasionally likes to do crossword puzzles, she has told me that the Sunday NY Times puzzle is the toughest puzzle of the week with Monday being the easiest (and that one she says is not easy) and then they get tougher during the week.)
Mike recounts a story of how he had put together a presentation for Jack Cochran to give at an Area VPs meeting. Late on a Friday afternoon, Jack, described by Mike as “mercurial”, decided that the presentation had to be completely re-worked and ready by 8AM Saturday morning. Mike says Bill and Clyde Meador stayed with him until the wee hours doing the re-work. They went home for a few hours sleep and returned at 7AM whereupon Bill typed the final pages as Mike rewrote them (Bill may have been a sales executive but he was also a darned good typist). They were ready by 8AM. Jack Cochran showed up at Noon! Mike says that Bill was one you would want “in the foxhole” with you if you were in a tough spot. Rest in peace, Bill. Posted 11/14/06
Joseph S. (Joe) Manko -- Joe passed away on October 19, 2006. Joe died on the day he was scheduled to have Carotid Artery surgery. Joe was a proud World War II veteran who continued to serve as a volunteer at the AMVETS Post #146 in Philadelphia. Joe retired from Western Union in 1982 after over 40 years of service. Lou Gaul, a co-worker of Joe’s in the Plant T&R Department and also in both the Telex and TWX exchanges, recalls that Joe was a fine worker, very dedicated to his work and precise in all that he did. Frank Senner recalls that he and Joe worked together as outside Plant Technicians and that Joe was a very quiet person and great to work with. Joe kept up with news of Western Union and sent Frank several articles over the years including information relating to the transition of the Western Union building to condominiums and also news of the spin-off of Western Union from First Data Corporation.
Joe attended the recent Western Union luncheon on October 4 at Applebee’s in Philadelphia and Frannie & Ginny Smith recalled how everyone at the table was in good spirits and having a wonderful time. Joe was pre-deceased by his brother, John, who also worked for Western Union and died in 2004. He is also pre-deceased by a sister and is survived by 3 nieces. Joe will be especially missed. Posted 11/14/06
Marie Rose (Mary) Ross Brown -- Frances J. Roman notified us of the passing of Mary on October 29, 2006 at the age of 82. Mary, after graduating from Scottsdale High School in 1942, attended the Western Union Trade School and then worked for Western Union as an office employee in Washington, PA. In 1947, Mary married Ted Brown in 1947, who survives. Mary is also survived by 3 children, seven grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. Posted 11/14/06
Leona M. (Lee) Gram -- Lee was a Traffic Automatic Supervisor in the Washington, DC Traffic Department. She loved to see the Redskins play. Lee eventually went into management and traveled for Western Union with the White House Press Corps, making sure wire services were set up and press was received by local offices. Lee started that job during President Carter's term of office and continued to do it all eight years of President Reagan's term of office, traveling all across the country with the President of the United States (POTUS). Lee retired but was very active for many years in organizing the WU Pensioners and the annual luncheon. Eventually Lee returned to Buffalo, NY and lived with her sisters, Ethel and Irene Gram. Posted 9/25/06
Theresa (Terry) Dellasiega -- John DellaSiega said his wife Terry passed away on March 25, 2006. Terry worked at the counter in the main office of Western Union, Downtown Detroit. Terry was a lovable and very friendly person. Posted 9/25/06
John C. Griffin -- John passed away on June 24, 2006. John retired in 1984 in Washington, DC. His address was 771 John Wire Rd., Swansea, SC 29160. Posted 9/25/06
Violet Marie Littlejohn -- Violet passed away on June 11 at the age of 89. In her very first job out of high school, she worked as a roller skating messenger at WU, 7th and Walnut in KSC. She had a jolly disposition and was always joking and smiling. She never failed to mention her roller skating first job with WU. Posted 9/25/06
James Earl Hennon -- James, who passed away on June 19 at the age of 93, had a varied career starting as a delivery boy for ice in the Kansas City area before moving to Colorado, where he became a civilian instructor for the Civil Service at Fort Carson. He then went to Las Vegas where he was a pit boss at the Golden Nugget and then went to work on the construction of the Hoover Dam. He later worked for the Jefferson Stage Coach Co. before returning to the Kansas City area where he retired from Western Union after 20 years of service. He is survived by 5 children, 22 grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren. Posted 9/25/06
Peter Palese -- Peter died Saturday, July 1, 2006 in Deland, Florida at the age of 97. Peter was born in Brooklyn, NY and moved to the Deland, Florida area in 1979. He is survived by Mable Van Sickle who provided for his care. Posted 9/25/06
John D. Kemmerling -- John, a longtime member of the RWUEA, formerly of Ramsey, NJ, passed away on Wednesday, June 28, 2006, in Greenville, South Carolina at the age of 77. John was a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania and worked for over 40 years at Western Union and rose to become Treasurer of The Western Union Telegraph Company. For those of you who may remember receiving paper payroll checks way back when -- John Kemmerling's signature graced those checks for many years. Posted 7/7/06
Jesse Swiderski -- Joe Tanous advised that Jesse, an Honorary Member of RWUEA, passed away in North Easton, Massachusetts on June 5, 2006. Jesse was a Supervisor in the Philadelphia reperforator center who later moved to the Boston office. Posted 7/7/06
John T. Ranney -- Frank Senner advised that John, also a longtime member of RWUEA, passed away on June 14, 2006 at the age of 75. John was a native of Maine and was a member of the Air National Guard who saw active service with the U.S. Air Force. He was employed by Western Union for 36 years, retiring as a Technical Manager. He then spent eight years with Contel ASC (GTE) as a technician for the state of Maine where he and Frank met in the early 1990s. Frank describes John and his wife, Jeannette, as being easy people to get along with and Frank and his wife, Barbara, spent time with them every year until this year when John's illness took a turn for the worse. John is survived by his wife, Jeannette (to whom he would have been married 50 years this September), one son, two daughters and five grandchildren. Posted 7/7/06
Josephine Belina Mycek -- Josephine passed away on June 15, 2006 at the age of 81. An employee of Western Union in Mahwah, NJ, she later went to work for Miller's in Upper Saddle River, NJ and retired from there in 1990. She is survived by one son and three grandchildren. Posted 7/7/06
Burrell Luttrell -- Ken Leber read the notice of Burrell's passing in the 2nd quarter Newsletter and wrote about his fond memories of Burrell and their work together. They met at 60 Hudson Street in 1956 after Burrell had worked in the New Orleans Reperforator Office and Ken had worked in Richmond. They then worked on the Plan 55 Project with Claude Dalrymple, Richard Emerson, Bud Hudson, Walt Lloyd and Harry Richmond. Plan 55 was the forerunner of AUTODIN and was developed for the Air Force to satisfy their world-wide message communications requirements. Burrell and Ken worked in Chattanooga for one year testing the system prior to its installation at various Air Force base installations throughout the world. After testing was completed, the group was relocated with Burrell spending several years in England. Ken recalls Burrell as a gentleman, loyal Western Union employee, a conscientious worker who contributed much to the success of the PLAN-55 System and Western Union. Posted 6/23/06
Meyer Levin -- Phyllis Gabel, the daughter of Meyer, sent an email stating that her father passed away on August 15, 2003. According to his daughter, Meyer was a man who enjoyed his retirement and was a very healthy man up until the time of his sudden death from a bout of pneumonia developed while he was in a hospital after having some difficulty walking. Posted 6/23/06
James C. Fritch -- James, age 78, passed away on December 8, 2005 in Wichita, Kansas. Born in Okmulgee, OK and raised in Winslow, AZ, he moved to Yates center, KS in 1950. He was employed by Western Union for 37 years during which he was an Installer and a Central Office Maintainer. He worked for a short time in Bridgeton, MO in late 1975 and retired on September 1, 1977. After his retirement, he opened Jim's Repair Shop in Yates Center. He was predeceased by his wife of 50 years and is survived by 4 sons, 3 daughters, 21 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren. Posted 6/23/06
Claude Junior Weehunt -- Claude, age 77, died on December 22, 2005 at his home. He was a Navy veteran. He worked in St. Louis and Kansas City. He started working for the Company on January 13, 1951 and retired on January 31, 1984. He was a Central Office Maintainer in Kansas City at the time of his retirement. He was a 50 year member of the Masonic Lodge AF & AM in Jefferson City and is survived by 1 son, 4 daughters, 1 brother, 17 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren. Posted 6/23/06
Roy Gene Majors (Popy) -- Roy, age 63, passed away on February 27, 2006. He was born September 5, 1943 in Kansas City and was a lifelong resident of the area. He was hired as an apprentice Auto Tech on April 8, 1968 and on April 30, 1978 he took a management job and became a Supervisor, Technical Services. He was an amateur coach and umpire for 30 years. He was a substitute teacher in the Belton school district. He is survived by his wife, 2 sons, 3 daughters, 1 brother (Gary, who also worked for WU), 2 sisters and 5 grandchildren. Posted 6/23/06
Pete Miceli -- John C.P. MOrgan reports that Pete passed away in his sleep on March 6, 2006. John says that Pete was without question the outstanding personality of the Carson Installation Crew. He had a very genial personality and was a typical "Hail, fellow, well met!" kind og guy. A man of exceptional strength, sadly, in his last years, he came down with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and painful arthritis of the spine. He will be missed. Posted 6/23/06
Jean Walsh -- Louise Nieters reported that Jean passed away in Scranton. Jean was a supervisor in the traffic department for many years, working mostly the late night shift. Posted 6/23/06
Wendell R.T. Lofthus -- Louise Nieters reported that Wendell passed away on March 3, 2006 in Edina at the age of 90. Wendell was a 38 year employee of Western Union and worked at several locations across the Midwest. Preceded in death by a son, Scott, he is survived by his wife of 52 years, Winifred, and a son, Mark. Posted 6/23/06
Margaret Mary Bond -- Louise Nieters reports that Margaret passed away on February 8, 2006. She was preceded in death by her husband, Harris Bond, who worked at Western Union. Her father, Lawrence C. Thornton and stepmother Verna (Pearson) Thornton also worked at Western Union. She is survived by two sons and one daughter. Posted 6/23/06
Mrs. George A. (Betty) Taylor -- Judy-Lynn Hoppe, daughter of Betty, reported that her mother died in her sleep on Sunday, May 7, 2006 at the age of 95. She was preceded in death by her husband, George, who died in 1999 just five months before their 70th wedding anniversary. Betty met George while both were working for Western Union in Chicago in 1928 and they married in July 1929. George joined United Press International in order to move to a warmer climate - Decatur, Georgia, where they lived until their deaths. They often spoke of happy days spent at Western Union and had many wonderful stories. Skills and good work ethics learned at Western Union stood them in good stead all their lives. They traveled extensively after retirement, and volunteered their services continuously. Betty delivered Meals on Wheels until she was 92. She is survived by one son, Douglas, two daughters, Judy-Lynn and Carol Diane, 13 grandchildren and many great and great-great grandchildren. Posted 6/23/06
Alphonzo "Al" Dean -- Dick Brockert reported that he went to the memorial service held for Al Dean on June 7, 2006. Al, who passed away in Ocala, Florida on April 24, 2006, worked for many years in the Metro Area of Washington, DC. Al was a Plant Technician and went into management as a Plant Supervisor in the Washington, DC area. He was a good family man, good technician and good management supervisor. Posted 6/23/06
Tony Lamelza -- Frank Senner notified us that Tony Lamelza’s son, Jimmy called him to advise that Tony had passed away on Wednesday, April 19, 2006 after a long bout with AML Leukemia. (See our 1st Quarter 2006 issue for a note from Tony stating that he was in remission and wondering if his work at Western Union had anything to do with his illness.) Frank worked with Tony going back to the 1960’s at the Drummond Road facility in Philadelphia. Tony worked as a maintenance technician repairing customer office and branch office equipment. Tony’s wife, Judy also worked for Western Union in Philadelphia. Tony and Judy had retired to Boynton Beach, Florida. Posted 5/15/06
Joseph (Joe) B. Merritt -- Ben Bowlen notified us that Joseph (Joe) B. Merritt passed away on Thursday, March 16, 2006 at Columbus, MS. Joe was born in Georgia in 1936 and moved to Mississippi at an early age. In 1955, while still in high school, he began his career with Western Union as a bicycle messenger at Gulfport, MS. After high school, he began working as an operator in 1955 and began traveling as a relief manager in 1966. He traveled extensively in the old fourth district of Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky and worked several seasonal assignments in Florida. He was manager at Columbus, MS from 1968 until the office closed in 1971. Rather than leaving Columbus for another assignment, he chose to take his severance pay and leave Western Union. Posted 5/15/06
Regina "Reggie" Stewart -- Chester Collier notified us that Regina “Reggie” Stewart passed away on April 9, 2006. She retired from Western Union in Louisville as Credit Manager. She had spent the last few months of her life in a nursing home. Posted 5/15/06
Robert P. Chamberlin -- Frank Senner and Walt Garvin notified us that Robert P. Chamberlin of Center City, Philadelphia passed away on April 12, 2006. Robert worked in the accounting office at the 230 South 11th Street Main Office and then he worked at the office in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He is survived by a brother and a long time partner. Posted 5/15/06
Haines L. "Buzzy" Forbes -- Frank Senner and Bob Nugent notified us that Haines L “Buzzy” Forbes passed away on April 26, 2006. Buzzy was a Plant Technician who worked from the facility at 40th Street in West Philly and which moved in the mid 1960’s to Drummond Road in NE Philly. Buzzy worked mainly in the south Jersey area servicing the outside Plant equipment in WU offices and customer offices. Buzzy is survived by his wife Rebecca, four daughters and six grandchildren. Posted 5/15/06
Bartholomew E. (Bart) Codd -- Bartholomew E. (Bart) Codd of Oakland, New Jersey passed away on May 1, 2006 at the age of 71. Bart worked for Western Union at 60 Hudson Street in New York City and in Mahwah, New Jersey as an electrical engineer for 32 years. Bart earned a BS degree from Manhattan University and an MBA from City University of New York. He was very active in many local organizations including serving as the head of the ministry for the poor at his church, service on the Oakland Board of Education and he was an active volunteer with the local Boy Scout Troop. He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, three children and seven grandchildren. Posted 5/15/06
George Straub -- Ben Caliendo notified us that George Straub of Las Cruces, New Mexico passed away in February 2006 after a long illness. George spent many years in the Plant Maintenance Department on the 19th floor of 60 Hudson Street. In 1978, he joined WU Spacecom and relocated to White Sands, New Mexico to become the Facilities manager of the NASA ground terminal. George was returned to Brooklyn for burial in the family plot. Posted 5/15/06Robert E. "Bob" Barnett -- Recently it was brought to our attention by Ron Kollmann of Newton, Iowa, that Bob passed away on September 25, 2004. The obituary stated that a private memorial service was held for the immediate family by the Rev. Lloyd Brockmeyer of St. Paul's United Methodist Church. At Bob's request, there was no visitation and his remains were cremated. The family extended their gratitude to St. Luke's Hospice for their loving care and support. Posted 4/22/06
Raymond Jones -- Bill Staskel reports that Ray Jones passed away on February 28, 2006 at the age of 79 after a long bout with throat and lung cancer. Ray worked as a Communications Specialist in the 14th Floor Shop at 60 Hudson St. Bill believes that Ray started with Western Union in Indiana as a Branch Office Operator and retired in 1984 and returned to his home at 128 E. Park Ave., West Lafayette in Ohio. Posted 4/5/06
Jack Saul -- Mallie Coker reports that Jack died on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 2006. Jack was manager of the Western Union office in Austin, Texas before being transferred to Dallas, where he was headquartered for many years before his retirement. Jack and his wife, Dorothy, recently moved to Sulphur Springs to be near their daughter, Debbie Price. Posted 4/5/06
Doris Mae (Willis) Fields -- Ed Ronan sent the obituary for Doris, who was born in Chocowinity, North Carolina. Doris died on March 12, 2006 at the age of 78. When she graduated from high school in 1945, Doris went to work for Western Union and worked for WU until 1955, when she went to work at the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station in Communications. In 1962, she married a member of the U.S. Marines and raised a family of four children as her husband served tours of duty in Germany and Thailand. Her husband, Jerry, developed multiple sclerosis and died in 2001 after a 29 year struggle with the disease. Doris is survived by two daughters, two sons, ten grandchildren and one great grandchild. Posted 4/5/06
Alma JoAnn Cantrell -- Diane (Gibbs) Dinkins sent the obituary for Alma, who died on March 11, 2006 at the age of 75. Alma worked for Western Union for 22 years as an Operator and Manager. She then worked for other employers for 26 years before retiring. Alma is survived by a son, Gregory (Dr.) and his wife, three grandchildren and a brother. Posted 4/5/06
Larry Ross, Oakland, CA -- Tony Silva reports that Larry Ross passed away on December 17, 2005 in Oakland, CA. Larry returned to WU after military service in Europe during WWII and progressed through various Commercial Department jobs and retired as Cashier in Oakland. In 1950, he succeeded George Hageman as president of Commercial Telegraphers Union (CTU) Local 208 in Oakland after Hageman became CTU Pacific Region President. Ross led the local through the trying days of the strike of 1952 and served as president until the Oakland local merged with San Francisco Local 34. Larry epitomized integrity and incorruptibility and was known for his masterful brevity in speech and writing. He seldom required more than one page to accurately outline a grievance when writing to company officials. He was well-liked and admired by his fellow workers for his dedication in defending workers' rights under the union's contract with WU. Larry was respected by Company officials for the exemplary performance of his company duties, and especially for his integrity and fairness when dealing with contract issues. He served on the union's International Executive Board and will be remembered by the many delegates from around the country who attended CTU and UTW conventions over the years. Larry Ross was the type of union leader of whom the labor movement can be justifiably proud. Posted 2/6/06
John F. Spoelker, Louisville, KY -- Chester Collier informed us of the death of John F. Spoelker in Louisville, KY at the age of 94. John worked for WU for over 40 years and retired as sales manager in Louisville. He also served as president of the local RWUEA chapter for several years. A member of the Knights of Columbus and St. Thomas More Catholic Church and an avid golfer at the L&N Golf Club, John lived in a retirement healthcare facility for the last several years and, with failed eyesight, was unable to attend the RWUEA chapter luncheons. He was a fine gentleman and will be greatly missed. Posted 2/6/06
Clara Larrabee, Oak Hill, Florida -- Ed Ronan informed us of the passing of Clara Larrabee of Oak Hill, Florida on January 25, 2006, at the age of 77. Clara retired after 35 years as a customer service supervisor for Western Union in New York City. Mrs. Larrabee, who received a bachelor's degree in business management from Queens College in New York, was born in Brooklyn. She moved to Florida in 1991. She was an active member of The Upper Room Chapel, member of the American Radio Relay League and was an assistant emergency amateur radio operator for the County of Volusia. She is survived by one son, two daughters and several grand and great-grandchildren. Posted 2/6/06
George Corbo, Newark, NJ -- Dave Moeller wrote of the passing of George Corbo, whose death was reported in our First Quarter 2006 Newsletter. George, known as GAC, was the wire chief in Newark, NJ at 832 Broad Street, in the Jersey Central RR building. Dave knows because he spent almost 20 years there himself. What was unique about George was that he started his career with WU when he was 11 years old!! Dave doesn't know what year that was or if he was credited with all his service but George started as a messenger in the Hackensack, NJ office. Dave says that George was a union rep in Newark who was always on the ball and was "about the smoothest working person I've ever seen. When I say smooth, I mean he never worked up a sweat, got hot under the collar, rushed, but rather just did what he had to do, whether it was a repair, settle a dispute, typing or keying on the wire with =C (Chgo) wire chief." Dave hopes that someone who knew George better will submit what Dave believes would be the very interesting story of George's WU career. Posted 2/6/06
Norrine Holtman, San Diego, CA -- Phillip Nitzberg, retired Plant Tech from San Diego, reports that the husband of Norrine Holtman informed him of Norrine's death on January 15, 2006. Norrine also retired from San Diego. Posted 2/6/06
Dan Weidman, Dallas, TX -- Jesse Summers, president of the Dallas KIT Klub, reports that Ray Pascoe informed him that Dan Weidman passed away on Monday, January 30, 2006. Funeral services will be held on Friday, February 3, at 2 PM at the Turrentine-Jackson-Morrow Funeral Home, Ridgeview Memorial Park, 2525 Central Expressway at North Ridgeview Dr., Allen, TX 75013. Posted 2/6/06Steve Icolari -- Ed Winokur reports that Steve Icolari passed away Tuesday, January 24, 2005. He was a respected salesman for the Company in Northern New Jersey for many years and also served in the marketing organization at One Lake Street in Upper Saddle River before retiring in 1988. The only information available as of this date is that he was to be cremated and his ashes shipped to New Jersey, and that there is to be a Memorial Service at some future date. Details will be provided as they become available. Posted 1/28/06
Joe Lopez, Oakland, NJ -- Jackie Velton reports that Joe Lopez died on Sunday, January 22, 2006 after a long bout with lung cancer. The wake is at Oakland Funeral Home, 330 Ramapo Valley Road (Rte 202) Oakland, NJ on Wednesday, Jan 25 from 2-4 PM and 7-9 PM. Funeral service is on Thursday, Jan 26 9:30AM at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 117 Franklin AV, Oakland, NJ. Burial is at Christ the King Cemetery in Franklin Lakes. Posted 1/25/06
Harry Palm -- Richard Jordanger reports that Harry A. Palm, Jr. passed away August 17, 2005. Harry was Area Engineer in Chicago (Lake Area) in 1961 when Rich joined the Company, and was the keeper of the telegraph "lab" at 427 S. LaSalle where Rich and other newly hired electrical engineers learned the basics of the telegraph business. Posted 1/12/06
Bernard Weitzer, Ft. Lee, NJ -- Jack Durkins reports that Bernard Weitzer, 76, of Fort Lee died Wednesday, January 4. Before retiring in 1990, he was senior vice-president of operations for Western Union Co. He was a member of the board of directors of the U.S, Telecommunications Training Institute and of the Private Sector Committee of the U.S. Information Agency, both in Washington, DC. He was a graduate of City College of New York and received a master's degree from New York University. He had been president of the Fort Lee Board of Education and the Fort Lee Library, where he also served on the board of trustees. Arrangements: Frank A. Patti & Kenneth Mikatarian Funeral Home, Fort Lee." Posted 1/9/06
Calvin Darrin, Nyack, NY -- Jack Durkin reports with great sorrow the death of Calvin Darrin, former Vice-President and Comptroller of Western Union in the early 1980's on Friday, January 6, 2006. Calvin retired from Western Union and was a long-time member of the RWUEA.
Victor D. (Vic) Chabot, St. Louis, MO --Helen Chabot reported the death of her husband Vic on October 17, 2005 at the age of 82 after a short illness. Vic was a World War II veteran, serving in the U. S. Army Air Corps and as a gunnery instructor in the US army. He spent his career with Western Union beginning as a bicycle messenger in Northampton, MA in 1940, rose to Administration Manager in New York and St. Louis, and retired in 1979 after 39 years of service. He was an avid swimmer and golfer, and had a lifelong interest in aviation and the St. Louis Cardinals. He is survived by Helen, his wife of 52 years, three daughters, Lynne Nichols of Watchung, NJ, Betsy Chabot of Boston, and Judith Chabot of St. Louis, one granddaughter, Suzanne, and two nephews. He will be sorely missed by family and friends.
Jean Fielding Pallari, Sutter Creek, CA -- Pete Pallari reports that his wife Jean passed away September 2, 2005 after battling cancer for three years. Jean started working for the company at the Minnesota Street warehouse office in San Francisco, which later moved to Oakland, and then transferred to the P&M and facilities departments when the field organizations were converted to Areas. When downsizing started she bumped to a field clerks position at the microwave station at Mt. Aukum, CA and stayed there until she earned her pension. They have made their home in the small town of Sutter Creek, CA. in the gold mother lode country for the last 19 years. Posted 10/14/05.
Chester W (Chet) Parowski, Whispering Pines, NC -- Word has been received that Chet passed away on Wednesday, October 5, while at a rehabilitation center recovering from problems with his left leg. He apparently died of a heart attack. Chet was the tax accountant for Western Union for many years at its headquarters in Upper Saddle River, NJ. He formerly resided in Allendale NJ before retiring to North Carolina. He is survived by his wife, Audrey, two daughters and two grandchildren. Posted 10/12/05.
Stan Raffa, Dumont, NJ -- Word has been received that Stan Raffa passed away Thursday evening, September 29, 2005. Stan was a veteran of World War II, having served in the 106th Army Division. He was captured by the Germans in the Battle of the Bulge in December, 1944 and released April 1, 1945. He attended the Polytechnic Institute of Brooklyn and Adelphi College where he was President of the Alpha Phi Delta Fraternity and the former chairman of its scholarship foundation. He career with Western Union extended over 25 years. He served as an Assistant Vice President before retiring 16 years ago. He was one of the most faithful members of this organization. Posted 10/3/05 updated 10/4/05.
John Salvato, Wilmington, DE -- Frank Senner reports that he was informed Sunday, August 28th by John Salvato Jr, that his Dad has passed away. John Sr. was born in Philadelphia and worked in the Commercial Department there for 40 years. He had last attended a Regional luncheon with his wife Julia in October 2004 and had expected to attend in May 2005, but had a pacemaker inserted a few days before the luncheon and did not make it. Frank spoke with him after the operation, and said he sounded great. Then Julia called Frank in late July to say he was back in the hospital with cancer. Frank spoke with him again in mid-August after he had undergone chemotherapy and said that he sounded weak. He passed on at 11:30pm Saturday, August 27th. His first wife, Phyllis C. Salvato, to whom he was married for 64 years, died in 2000. He is survived by his present wife, Julia, two sisters, nine grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. He was 92 at the time of his death. Posted 8/29/05, updated 8/30/05.
Mildred Berry -- Don Berry of Brighton, Michigan reported that his mother, Mildred Berry, died on June 19, 2005 at the age of 79. Mildred worked primarily at the GV office in Detroit in the 1940's and 50's. Don said that the last thing his mother and he did was to visit Barbara Walsh, also of Detroit, at the hospital. There was no funeral but a memorial service will be held in June, 2006 in Finly, ND, the place of her birth.
During the acquisition process, George reported to Harry Cowen in Mahwah, NJ in Zak Zarkarian's marketing organization which was then under Bob Hodgers, the executive in charge of the modernization program. George stayed at Mahwah until the acquisition and phase-over to Western Union management was complete, then worked in the Company's government group in Tyson's Corner before moving on to a marketing position with a manufacturer and supplier to the communications industry, General Datacom, in Stamford CT. Upon taking that job, George bought a home in Wilton, CT. He stayed there after returning to the Bell System where he eventually retired as the Bell System was broken up. He and Ruth lived in retirement Naples, FL for 15 years, and she has now moved into an assisted living center there.
George was respected in the industry and had many friends. Two of his three sons remain in Connecticut; the other is in San Diego.
Rose "Rosie" Godfrey -- Frank Senner reports that Rosie, who worked in several of the Philadelphia Branch Offices, was found dead by the police on Wednesday, June 22, 2005. A regular attendee at the Philadelphia luncheons until the last couple of years, Rose dropped out of sight and attempts to get hold of her failed. Efforts are being made to locate next of kin to Rosie, whose maiden name was Saienni. If you have any information, please contact either Frank Senner (email@example.com, 215-245-7177) or Marie Thomas (Marie.firstname.lastname@example.org). A longer note pertaining to Rosie's death in also posted in the Association News section of this web site.
Joseph P. Snider, Yardley, PA -- Frank Senner reports that Joseph Snider, 94, died on August 20, 2005, at Chandler Hall Hospice in Newtown, Pa., with his loving family by his side. He was born in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, and had been a resident of Yardley for the last 44 years.
Mr. Snider enjoyed a prestigious, lifelong career with Western Union, beginning as a teletype operator in Waynesboro and working his way up to Eastern Divisional Real Estate Manager with offices in New York City and territory ranging from Maine to North Carolina. During World War II, he obtained top-secret clearance from the government to work on the communication systems for the underground White House.
During his working years, while helping to raise three daughters, he belonged to several service organizations including the Elks and the Rotary where he helped the blind learn to bowl. He was an accomplished natural athlete and competitor in such sports as handball, table tennis, tennis and golf. As a young man, he was proud of having played an equally young Tony Trabert, one of the game's best, and having "given him a good game." A fierce competitor during his later years, Mr. Snider was fortunate enough to have scored four holes-in-one to add to his trophies. For nearly 35 years, he was a member of the Yardley Country Club, and throughout his life was an avid and accomplished fly fisherman. He was predeceased by his wife Kathryn, and is survived by three daughters and their families and many nieces and nephews. The nine entries immediately above posted 8/24/05.
James Pearce, Philadelphia, PA area -- Frank Senner reports that Jim Pearce passed away Thursday, August 4th. Jim's wife Dot told Frank that Jim had had heart problems along with other health problems and was taken to the hospital the week of his death as his weakened heart gave out. She and their two children were at his side at the hospital, and he was very comfortable until the end. They were both 84 at the time of his death and had been married for 65 years.
Both Jim and Dot had worked for the Company, mostly in Philadelphia. Initially he was a Supervisor of the 2nd floor T&R shop at the reperforator center in Philadelphia, and later was in the plant department office at Cherry Hill. He worked on the air conditioning and power for the Telex exchange in Philadelphia, and then as Supervisor of the exchange and as Supervisor during the installation of the Telex Exchange in Pittsburgh. Dot recalled that he had received a commendation for work he oversaw at the satellite facility in Great Gorge, NJ.
Dot worked for WU for many years before Jim joined for the company, initially at Cherry Hill and later in the traffic department at the main office at 18th Street and Drummond Road. She has been retired for 20 years. They had regularly gone to the retirement luncheons in Philadelphia, but their attendance dropped off due to Jim's health. Posted 8/15/05.
Lee (Barr) Carson, Hollywood, FL -- Frank Senner reports that he learned through a conversation with Rose Gerdelmann that Lee passed away on May 7, 2005. Lee had worked in Philadelphia in a number of positions in the Commercial Department (Branch Offices). He had been helping take care of Nancy Constantini, whose death was recently reported. Frank's recollection is that Lee was an avid sun-worshipper who always had quite a tan.
Jesse "J. R." Robert Riggs, Salem, SC -- J. R died May 15, 2005 at 81 at the Newman Hospital in Newman, GA. He was a career employee of the Company, a RWUEA member, and a veteran of the U. S. Army Air Corps in World War II. His wife Dorothy Firsick Riggs pre-deceased him. He is survived by a daughter, three sons, several brothers and sisters and seven grandchildren. Posted 7/26/05.
Robert E. Curran, Sr., Lawrenceville, NJ -- Frank Senner sent us that Robert's obituary states that he died July 22, 2005 at age 79. He was a World War II Army veteran, and worked as an installer for Western Union for 30 years before retiring in 1984. He then worked as an electrician at the Philadelphia Naval Yard and retired again in 1989. He was pre-deceased by his wife, Anna Mae Blee Curran, and is survived by seven children and 13 grandchildren. Posted 7/26/05.
Harold Huffman, Springfield, MO -- Dale Ramsey reports that Harold died on July 17, 2005 just two days before reaching the age of 90. Harold worked in the FT. Smith, Arkansas office for 35 years. After his retirement, he moved back to his parents' farm near Taneyville and built a nice home there. Dale recounts how Harold had a Kawaski All Terrain vehicle he called "Mule". Dale has fond memories of often riding with Harold through the streams and timber on his farm.. Dale installed a CB radio on "Mule" in case Harold might get stranded and needed help. Harold loved to tell jokes and had lots of them. In recent years, his health started to fail and he moved to Springfield to be near his daughter. Dale visited Harold often and relived old times. Harold was a special person. Posted 7/26/05.
Perry (P. D). Brown, Norcross, GA -- RWUEA member Martha Brown reports that her husband, P. D. passed away on May 28, 2005. P. D. retired on February 27, 1987 from the Installation Department in Atlanta, GA. He is deeply missed by his family. Posted 7/26/05.
William "Bill" Weems -- Josephine Weems, Bill's wife, has informed us that Bill passed away on May 10, 2005. Bill worked for Western Union for 38 years in the Washington, DC area. Posted 7/2/05
Rose "Rosie" Godfrey -- Frank Senner has forwarded information he received from Marie Thomas to the effect that Rose Godfrey was found dead on Wednesday, June, 22, 2005. Apparently, Rose's body was found by police, and she may have been dead for several days. A search is being made for next of kin. Rose worked in several of the Branch Offices in Philadelphia. She had been a regular at the Philadelphia Philly luncheons through October, 2003. Posted 7/2/05
Jim Heslop, Litchfield, IL -- Bernard (Barney) Walli informs us the death of his friend Jim Heslop at his home in Litchfield on May 29th, 2005. Jim had turned 85 four days before his passing. Jean, his wife of many years, says that he was in good health until around the first of the year when he learned that he had incurable cancer. She says that he accepted the news and resolved to live the months he had left with a strong and positive courage.
Jim was a technician on the original portion of the transcontinental microwave radio beam that the Company constructed in the early 1960s and progressed to manager of the Carlinville subsystem . This portion of the network included many repeater sites and terminal stations in cities such as Chicago and St. Louis in the central US.
He was an active ham radio operator for many years as KB9MHL, and was instrumental in starting a ham radio group called WURAN, or Western Union Retirees Amateur Net. After retiring from the Company he and Jean traveled to many countries including Germany, England, Russia, China, Denmark, Sweden and Finland. Barney says that they very much appreciated Jim's recounting some of the hi-lights of these trips with them and that he made it feel like they were there on the trip with them.
Barney reports that Jim was highly respected and notes that one person remarked after his passing that he was one of the good guys, of which there were many in the Company's history.Barney thanks Jean and her family for letting him be part of their lives, and says that Jim will be sorely missed by us all. Posted 6/9/05
Harold W Shepherd, St Louis, MO -- Bill Cole, of St Louis, reports that Harold, formerly Operations Chief in AQ, died on Monday May 9, 2005 at the age of 85. Harold worked at Postal Telegraph and joined Western Union at the time of the merger, though at the time he was serving in the United States Army.
Harold was with the 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red One) at Normandy on June 6, 1944, then across France, thru the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944 and January 1945, and across Germany to meet the Soviets at the Elbe River. He served for a time in Germany after VE Day and returned to St Louis and his job at Western Union.
Thomas Edwin Jernigan, New York, NY -- Edward H. Cole reports the passing of Ed Jernigan as follows: "The death of my oldest friend, Thomas Edwin "Ed" Jernigan occurred on April 22, 2005. Quite a few years ago he suffered from a stroke that made speech impossible. After some years he was lodged in a New Jersey nursing home. Carlos Rivera, surely his most caring friend, (to whom I am indebted for the notice) brought him from there on April 9 to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. But he was too emaciated to recover. Carlos arranged his funeral service.
"About 1955, Ed, fresh from the Southern Division, and I, from the Eastern, were junior executives together in the Sales Department on the 17th floor at 60 Hudson Street, our desks being side by side. Joe Johnson, Nelson Willis, and Ike Varner were our bosses. Kathleen Korber would be called in from the secretarial pool to take our dictation. We lunched together often at Stoll’s, in Chinatown, in the Village, at Washington Market.... Many lunchtimes we spent playing bridge with Frank Taylor. We even entered a few contract bridge tournaments. He was a guest at my graduation from Rutgers and at my daughter Carol’s wedding.
"After leaving WU he went to work for WUI as Director of Customer Service and then retired.
"He was dapper, enjoyed tremendously visiting Spain--I think being mistaken for Pablo Picasso could have been a factor--and loved the theatre. I remember that he and I saw Brecht’s Threepenny Opera in the Village, and my wife, Gaby, and I took him to see Puccini’s Turandot at the NYC Opera house. Once, at a cocktail party, just returned from a trip to London, where he saw several plays, when asked if he had been to the theatre recently, he replied, "Well, not in this country." Such was the quiet wit of this cultured southern gentleman. His last years were difficult. May he rest in peace." Posted 5/3/05
Frank Senner of Bensalem, PA reports that the following four former Company employees who worked in the Philadelphia region have passed on:
Doris Werner, Seattle, WA -- Rae J McCarty reports that Doris (Pudgy Burke) Werner passed away March 9th, 2005 in Seattle. Pudgy started as a motor messenger around 1957. She later went into the administrative offices, payroll and timekeeping. She retired in the early 1980s. Posted 4/12/05
Louis J. Marquez, Albuquerque , NM -- George Hammond reports that Louis passed away on Monday, December 20, 2004. Louis, age 82, was employed by Western Union for 44 years. He first worked in West Texas, then in Los Alamos, NM, and then for an extended time in Alamogordo, NM where he became a manager. He then moved to Albuquerque where he lived for 33 years and was a Service Representative covering the state until he retired. He was a world war II veteran, a member of Queen of Heaven Catholic Church, and the American Legion Post #99., He was survived by his wife, Lydia Marquez: two daughters, Diana and Theresa, and a son, Harold. He was preceded in death by one son, Michael , in 1980. He loved bowling and bowled his last game just a week before he passed away. Louie was well known throughout the State of New Mexico to Western Union People and Non-Western Union alike. Posted 4/2/05
Martha Jane Davis Montague, Louisville, KY -- Chester Collier reports that Martha Jane Davis Montague , aged 95, of Louisville and Waddy, KY died March 17, 2005 at home. She was employed by the Telegraph Company for 48 years in Louisville and in Miami, FL and retired at Louisville. A native of Shelby County, she was a member of Waddy Christian Church and Virginia Asher Business Women's Bible Council in Louisville. Her family advises that expressions of sympathy may be made to the Waddy Christian Church or the Shelby County Humane Society. Posted 3/25/05
Stephan E. Smiszko, Wyckoff, NJ -- Steve, age 76, died Friday, March 18, 2005 at home. He was born in New York City and lived in Wyckoff for the past 24 years. He received his undergraduate degree from City College in New York and his MBA from Pace University. He was Controller for Eastern Airlines before joining Western Union where he was Vice President and Treasurer before his retirement in 1988. He is survived by his wife Mary. Posted 3/18/05
Robert Greenquist, Hackensack, NJ -- Bob Greenquist passed away Tuesday, March 1, 2005. Services were held March 5 in Teaneck, NJ where he had lived for 45 years. Bob had a distinguished World War II war record and 38-year career with the Company as a radio engineer involved in the design of microwave and satellite communication systems, and subsequently served as a consultant to the Government in matters pertaining to use of the radio spectrum.
Bob served in the 15th Air Force 455th Bomb Group from 1943 to 1945. He was the navigator of a B24 Liberator heavy bomber and flew missions out of Africa and then out of Italy. That Bomb Group is the unit that George McGovern flew in, and was the subject of Steven Ambrose's book, "Wild Blue". On June 9, 1944 while returning from a bombing mission over the oil refinery complex at Porto Marghera, Italy to his base in Foggia, Italy, his plane, the "Leakin' Deacon", was shot down by ground fire He bailed out at an altitude of about 500 feet. His chute didn't fully open, and he landed on his knees, which were badly damaged. He briefly evaded capture, but was taken prisoner that day, and was moved into Germany and imprisoned at Stalag Luft III, a German POW camp for officers located near Sagan, Germany approximately ninety miles southeast of Berlin. Stalag Luft III was abandoned by the Germans in January, 1945 as the Soviet army approached, and he had to endure a 350 mile journey in the depth of winter on foot and in an overcrowded boxcar to the Moosburg POW camp near Munich Germany where American and British officers were being collected for ransom. That event and others like it from other POW camps are known as the Moosburg Death March. He survived the journey and subsequent imprisonment in an overcrowded concentration camp. The Moosburg camp was liberated by Patton's 3rd Army on April 29, 1945.
He returned home partly crippled and emaciated, and spent time recuperating in a hospital. He had attended Northeastern University for two years before entering the service, and after recovering took advantage of the GI Bill to complete his education by obtaining a Master's Degree in electrical engineering at Cornell University. He had been an accomplished athlete, but suffered problems with his knees throughout the remainder of his life and had to give up all such activity.
In June 1948, he joined the Company's Radio Research Division in the Development and Research Department at 60 Hudson Street where he worked on the original pioneering microwave relay system between New York City ,Philadelphia, Washington and Pittsburgh. He then lead an advanced engineering study of "Passive Reflector Antenna" systems that proved the feasibility and established the parameters for their use on WU's extension of that initial system to Indianapolis and Chicago and, subsequently, on WU's transcontinental microwave communication system. That nationwide system was the backbone of the Company's communications network for many years.
Subsequently, he lead the engineering design and technical writing that supported the Company's two successive applications to the FCC for permission to build a satellite system that led to the launch of Westar I in April, 1974, the first domestic satellite available for commercial use. Five Westar satellites were in orbit in 1982. He also played an important role in the Company subsidiary, Western Union Spacecom, in its bid to build NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, and was director of engineering for Spacecom when it won the NASA contract to build the system in 1976.
Bob left Western Union with the divesture of Spacecom and went on to assist the Government in negotiating international radio spectrum treaties, which required frequent travel to Geneva and testimony before Congress and the FCC. He fully retired in 1988, and thereafter spent time with his hobbies -- travel, photography, and navigating his Apple MAC. He held a Life Member certificate in the IEEE and was the author of articles published in the Technical Review. A Life Membership certificate "recognizes many years of loyal membership and support of the activities of the Institute". He was President of the prestigious Village Camera Club in Manhattan for many years. He suffered from Alzheimer's at the end of his life.
He is survived by his wife Maria Teresa (Tess), his daughter Lies Chartier, his son Kenneth William and wife Regina, and four grandchildren.
His obituary in the New York Times can be viewed at http://www.legacy.com/NYTimes/LegacySubPage2.asp?Page=LifeStory&PersonId=3245468. Information pertaining to the imprisonment of Air Force officers at the Stalag Luft III POW camp, their transfer from there to the Moosburg camp as the Soviet army approached, and their retention at Moosburg can be found at http://www.b24.net/pow/stalag3.htm.
Bob was notably intelligent and competent, and was highly skilled in technical matters and at writing. And he was soft-spoken, calm in demeanor and pleasant to work with. He was an important figure in the Telegraph Company's history in the last half of the last century. A real pro that left his mark. Posted 3/7/05, information added 3/25/05.
Jules J. Tureaud, Tabernacle, NJ -- Frank Senner of the Philadelphia region and Jules' son Jeff report that Jules passed away suddenly on Saturday, February 26, 2005 at Virtua West Jersey Hospital, Marlton, NJ. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and graduated from Tulane University there. He served in the Army during the Korean War, and spent most of the time stationed in Hawaii, but was transferred from there to New Jersey where he then made his home. He lived in Marlboro, NJ from 1960 to 1980. He spent 40 years with the Company before retiring from the engineering department in Upper Saddle River, NJ and resided in Middletown, NJ before moving to Tabernacle 12 years ago His first wife Melba passed away in 1979. He is survived by his wife Elaine, three sisters living in New Orleans and Baton Rouge Louisiana, four sons, two daughters and seven grandchildren. Jeff reports that he loved working for Western Union.
A number of photos depicting Jules' life can be seen at http://www.tureaud.com/Northen/JulesTureaudII/julestureaud.htm. Click on the "e-mail" notation there to reach Jeff, the author. Posted 3/2/05; Information added 3/3029/05.
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