Retired Local 1532 officer DeBaun passes away

Published: May 15, 2020

William “Bill” J. DeBaun, a retiree from SMART Transportation Division Local 1532 and a former vice chairperson and legislative representative for the Kansas City, Kan., local, passed away late last month.

Brother DeBaun was 73 years old.

A yardman out of Argentine Yard in Kansas City, in addition to his service to Local 1532’s membership, Brother DeBaun also worked as a new hire training coordinator, helping those workers just starting out on the Atchison, Topeka Santa Fe Railway/BNSF. Many of those he had trained later asked about how Brother DeBaun and his wife of 34 years, Carol, were doing after his retirement from the railroad in 2005.

His work as vice local chairperson was “invaluable” to the members of LCA 1532, said SMART-TD Vice President Joe M. Lopez.

“Bill spent countless hours researching and processing time claims on behalf of the membership. Much of that work was done on his accord, without the members having to spend a second of their own time writing up the claim(s), while Bill sacrificed countless hours each month of his own time securing monies on their behalf,” Lopez said. “Bill was also an effective legislative representative for Local 1532. Bill’s efforts at taking on the carrier for safety violations were very effective.”

Lopez said that as a local chairperson, he and his predecessor, Doug Schlosser, benefited greatly from DeBaun’s impeccable organizational skills, as did the members who had their claims paid out.

“I believe I can safely speak on Doug’s behalf when I say both of us were extremely lucky to have worked with Bill. During our many years of working together, on the second Wednesday of every month, Bill and I would attend our regularly scheduled claims conference with local management and at the onset of each of those conferences Bill would hand me a large stack of claim dockets neatly organized and with an abundance of supporting documentation, which more often than not, led to a successful conference,” Lopez said. “The quality of Bill’s work as both a vice local chairperson and legislative representative has been unmatched and likely never will be. Bill made me a better local chairperson.”

Brother DeBaun was a veteran of the U.S. Navy. He is survived by his wife, Carol, nephews John & Shawn Strange and a number of other relatives.

SMART Transportation Division offers its sincere condolences to his family, his Local 1532 union brothers and sisters and all who knew Brother DeBaun.

His full obituary is available here.