David Eldon Hiatt, a retired general chairperson of GO 377 (Canadian National/Grand Trunk Western), passed away November 11, 2020. He was 73 years old.
“I looked up to Brother Hiatt, he was what I strived to be like once I became a union officer,” said current GO 377 General Chairperson Bill Miller. “Brother Hiatt bled union and the SMART-TD.”
Brother Hiatt hired out on the GTW in 1969 in Battle Creek, Mich., and was a lifelong SMART-TD/UTU member. He was the local chairperson for Local 72 (Battle Creek, Mich.) for a number of years, then served as general chairperson for GO 377 from 2003 until his retirement in 2012.
“One of his big accomplishments was being able to get an hourly agreement approved on the GTW, which gave a better quality of life for the conductors with scheduled off days, five-day work week and great wages,” Miller said. “Brother Hiatt was a mentor to many officers on the GTW, especially me.”
Brother Hiatt was an Army veteran, serving in South Korea along the demilitarized zone in 1968 and ’69, and was a VFW and American Legion member.
He is survived by his wife, Kathryn and children Tracy Hiatt, Larry Hiatt, Jeffrey (Shawn) Bowdidge, Owen (Ellie) Bowdidge; and his brother, Thomas (Sheila) Hiatt.
SMART Transportation Division offers its sincere condolences to Brother Hiatt’s family, friends and to his Local 72 brothers and sisters.
The union has received notification in recent weeks of the deaths of three former vice presidents of the United Transportation Union.
Five-term UTU Vice President Peter Patsouras passed away on Thursday, Sept. 10. He was 76 years old.
Joining the union in August 1965, he was elected in 1967 as local chairperson of Local 1825 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was elected general chairperson of Norfolk & Western’s Wheeling & Lake Erie Division in 1976 and was elected alternate vice president in 1979. He was elevated to UTU vice president upon the retirement of Vice President Jim Burke in June 1982 and was re-elected at the 1983, ’87, ’91,’95 and ’99 UTU conventions, serving as a VP for more than two full decades of union history until his retirement in 2003.
“Pete was a great guy,” said retired SMART Transportation Division National Legislative Director John Risch. “Not only was he a great union leader, he was the person who started the modern environmental movement.”
Patsouras was present to witness a bit of Northeast Ohio and, by extension, U.S. history on June 22, 1969. As a crew member on the Norfolk & Western train that sparked the infamous Cuyahoga River fire in Cleveland, he saw an event that drew national attention and a bit of infamy to the city of Cleveland.
The fire reportedly was caused by a fusee, a long torch resembling an oversized matchstick used by flagmen, that an unidentified crew member had dropped into the river to extinguish. (Media reports described the fire’s cause as a “spark” from a diesel locomotive). Instead of going out, the fusee caught contaminants in the river’s water on fire. The blaze drew national attention from Time Magazine, among others, and was seen as spurring the eventual passage of the 1972 Clean Water Act.
“That was the trigger they needed to clean up the environment. It (the river) was terrible. The oil and all the chemicals that were just thrown in there by a number of businesses, you wouldn’t want to put a finger in for fear of pulling back a stump,” Patsouras said in an interview published in the September 2019 SMART Transportation Division News regarding the fire’s 50th anniversary.
The SMART Transportation Division offers its heart-felt condolences to the families, friends and the local brothers and sisters of these three officers who faithfully served the union for many decades.
G. Thomas DuBose, who served one term as president of the SMART Transportation Division’s immediate predecessor union, passed away on Aug. 20, 2020, after a short illness.
G. Thomas DuBose served as UTU president from 1991 until his retirement in 1995.
DuBose, United Transportation Union (UTU) president from 1991 to 1995, had experienced health complications recently and had been placed in hospice care. He was 85 years old.
“The union extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and friends of former President DuBose,” SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson said. “His leadership helped to guide our union through a period of great difficulty and transition. As an organization, we all are saddened, and we mourn his loss.”
DuBose assumed the union presidency during a time when great transition was occurring in the use of technology, especially with the establishment of the internet. The union acquired its first mainframe during his administration as UTU made its initial steps toward the computerization of its operations. An email system for the union and an awards database accessible to international officers and general chairpersons was created, and he also oversaw a union restructuring with the consolidation of a number of General Committees, and the establishment of an accident investigation committee. The UTU also joined the Transportation Trades Department (TTD) of the AFL-CIO for the first time during his tenure.
“I feel I left this union in better condition than I found it,” DuBose said in a UTU News article as the union transitioned from his leadership to succeeding President Charles L. Little in 1995.
David Hakey, who worked alongside DuBose during his two campaigns for the union presidency and served as a union vice president from 2000 to 2007, spent more than four decades knowing DuBose personally and professionally. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, DuBose was generous in lending his time and guidance to Hakey who was starting out as a general committee officer. DuBose, even then a longtime vice president, showed Hakey the ropes in writing cases and defending members.
“He was my mentor, and he was my friend,” Hakey said. “He was always a good steward of the union. He always put the union first and the membership first.”
Hakey said DuBose was naturally inclined to put the needs of others ahead of himself, even outside of union business. In one encounter, DuBose and Hakey met a man on the street begging for money. Rather than just giving the man some spare change, DuBose insisted that they take him out to lunch.
“Tom was alway willing to listen,” Hakey said. “He was a compassionate individual. He always tried to put the membership first.”
Carl Cochran, administrator of the SMART TD Alumni Association, remembered DuBose’s active leadership in organizing a team that brought the Florida East Coast Railroad back into the UTU fold and in reaching out to help members in Cochran’s home state of Florida to cope with the devastation of the Category 5 Hurricane Andrew in 1992.
“We asked for help from our union, and we got it for our members that lost their homes,” Cochrane said.
Born in Macon, Ga., on March 23, 1935, G. Thomas DuBose hired on as a switchman for the Central of Georgia Railway in October 1955 and was a member of Local 535 in Macon, serving as a local officer there. He was elected vice president of the Switchmens’ Union of North America (SUNA) in 1967 at the age of 32 and retained that office during the formation of the UTU in 1969.
He served four additional terms as a union vice president before being elected the UTU’s assistant president in 1987. At the Sixth UTU Convention in 1991, he defeated then-incumbent UTU President Fred Hardin’s bid for a fourth term. DuBose had unsuccessfully challenged Hardin for the presidency at the prior convention.
“We ran a grassroots campaign,” said Hakey, who managed DuBose’s winning campaign. “instead from the top-down, it was from the bottom up. The membership was desirous of a change and they wanted to see something different.”
The union faced a number of fiscal challenges at the time, Hakey said, and DuBose resolved those during his single term, leaving UTU on better financial footing than before. DuBose also was elected and served as secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO TTD.
After his 1995 retirement, the former president continued to maintain an association with the union and lent his support to a tentative national rail contract negotiated in 2011 that won approval.
“After Tom retired, he would sit at the Alumni table at the regional meetings with Kenny Menges or myself,” Cochran said. “Our members would enjoy Tom telling the history of our union.”
Former President G. Thomas DuBose is survived by his two children, Mark DuBose (Margaret), Marty Lee (KD), and three grandchildren, Matthew DuBose, Kristin Lee, and Ben DuBose.
His family thanks SMART General President Joseph Sellers, SMART-TD President Jeremy Ferguson and all members, past and present, for their kind words and condolences during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that all donations be made to a charity of their choice. Due to COVID-19, the burial will be a private graveside service on September 9th. To express condolences, please visit https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/macon-ga/g-thomas-dubose-9326937.
The SMART Transportation Division offers its deepest condolences to the DuBose family, his friends and his Local 535 brothers and sisters in their time of loss.
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.
Richard Deiser, a former Bus Department director and union vice president, died Feb. 28. He was 79 years old.
Richard Deiser, a former Bus Department vice president, passed away Feb. 28 at age 79.
“Rich was a great union brother who will be sorely missed by those who had the pleasure to work with him,” SMART Transportation Division Vice President Calvin Studivant said. “We extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to his wife and kids as well as all his loved ones.”
Deiser, of Dumont, N.J., was born July 2, 1940, in Bronx, N.Y. After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force and served for eight years while also attending the University of Maryland at the same time, taking extension courses.
After his discharge from the service, he worked for many years with Trans World Airlines in the air freight, meteorology and crew scheduling departments.
He began his career as a bus operator with Rockland Coaches in 1983. Immediately active in the affairs of his local, Deiser was appointed shop steward in 1985 and elected secretary in 1988. In 1998 he was elected as general chairperson of Local 1558, Bergenfield, N.J. He was re-elected three times to that position and also attained the offices of delegate and legislative representative.
After serving for six years as alternate vice president-bus-East, Deiser was elevated to vice president and director of the Bus Department in July 2009.
He served in that capacity until his retirement in 2011.
Brother Deiser is survived by his wife of 56 years, three children, five grandchildren, a great-grandson and a number of brothers and sisters.
Family and friends are welcome to celebrate Richard’s life from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. at Frech-McKnight Funeral Home, 161 Washington Ave., Dumont, NJ 07628. A funeral Mass is scheduled for 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 3 at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Dumont. Donations in Deiser’s memory and in lieu of flowers may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758516, Topeka, KS 66675-8516.
SMART Transportation Division expresses its condolences to Brother Deiser’s family, friends and his brothers and sisters out of Local 1558.
General Chairperson Thomas K. Vanwinkle (GO 919 — Terminal Railroad Association (TRRA) of St. Louis) unexpectedly passed away February 3, 2020. A career railroader, Brother Vanwinkle worked on TRRA as a trainman from 2003 until present. Prior to working at TRRA, Brother Vanwinkle worked as a trainman on both Union Pacific and Kansas City Southern. He was 44 years old.
SMART-TD Vice President-elect David Wier Jr., left, offers his congratulations to T.K. Vanwinkle on Sept. 18, 2019, moments after Vanwinkle was elected general chairperson of GO-919.
Brother Vanwinkle was a longstanding officer of SMART-TD Local 469, serving as legislative representative from 2004 until 2019 and local chairperson from 2008 until 2019. In addition, Brother Vanwinkle served as general chairperson of GO 919 from October 1, 2019, until February 3, 2020.
On the subject of Brother Vanwinkle’s untimely passing, SMART-TD Vice President David Wier Jr. offered the following remarks:
“T.K. was a great man. He was a deeply devoted family man, who unconditionally loved his wife, Kim; his sons, Copelan, Jonathan, and Justin; his daughters, Dailyn and Kaylee; and his mother, Jeannie,” Wier said. “T.K. was a strong-willed union representative, and he always put the best interest of the membership at the forefront. T.K.’s legacy as a strong labor advocate, a dedicated family man and a caring and compassionate person will carry on. He will be sorely missed. T.K.’s tragic passing is both devastating and difficult to comprehend.”
A celebration of Brother Vanwinkle’s life will begin at 1 p.m. at the First Baptist Church, 1111 E Hwy 50 in O’Fallon, Ill., with Rev. Skip Leininger officiating.
SMART-TD offers its sincere condolences to Brother Vanwinkle’s family and to all who knew him.
Cheryl Sneed, who worked in the office of the United Transportation Union for nearly four decades, including as an executive administrative aide in the President’s Department, passed away on Nov. 25, 2019.
She was 66 years old.
Cheryl started with the UTU in 1975 in the Word Processing Department, then progressed to the Legal Department and Bus and Yardmaster departments. She later handled correspondence and scheduling for former UTU President Mike Futhey and coordinated matters for the Board of Directors and Board of Appeals.
Among her many duties, she also helped to administer the union’s disaster relief fund before retiring in 2014.
A Mass of Christian Burial is scheduled for 10 a.m. Dec. 7, 2019 in St. Ambrose Catholic Church, 929 Pearl Road, Brunswick, OH 44212. Inurnment will be in Holy Cross Cemetery 14609 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, OH 44142.
Russell “Dale” Hogan, a former general chairperson and retiree of Local 933 (Jefferson City, Mo.), died April 20, 2019, after a battle with cancer. He was 76.
He joined the United Transportation Union (UTU) after hiring on as a fireman for Missouri Pacific in January 1969. He later became an engineer and was elected general chairperson before retiring in July 1999 as a result of a disability.
Russell “Dale” Hogan
“Our years of friendship and working together will always be important entries in my book of memories,” said former UTU President Tom DuBose in an online posting. “Dale remembered that justice is conscience, not just personal conscience, but the conscience of mankind. As I reflect back, Dale was not only an intelligent and amazing person but a giving person who in his own way was always searching for ways to make life better for others.”
Hogan was a Diamond Club member of the union’s political action committee and remained active in the union upon his retirement. Under his leadership, his general committee, which had formerly consisted solely of enginemen, consolidated with conductor, trainmen and yardmen committees to form a stronger group that is now under the umbrella of GO-569.
In July 2004, he was named to a nine-member blue-ribbon committee that looked at the UTU’s structure and offered recommendations on the consolidation and improvement of union operations and remained a member of the UTU/SMART TD Alumni Association.
“What stands out the most is not what he achieved, but how he lived his life,” DuBose said. “He moved through this world with confidence and an unshakeable love for his union and for his family. Dale will be profoundly missed.”
Hogan is survived by his wife of 58 years, Charlotte; daughter Lori; three grandchildren; a great-grandchild and other relatives.
Visitation will be 6 to 7 p.m., with the memorial service and Masonic Rites to follow at 7 p.m., Thursday, April 25, 2019, in Meadors Funeral Home, 314 N. Main Ave., Republic, MO 65738.
Willard James Moody, Sr., a well-regarded attorney and former state legislator who served as a longtime Designated Legal Counsel (DLC) for the United Transportation Union (UTU) and advocated on behalf of railroad workers in the court of law throughout his life, passed away March 27. He was 94.
“Willard devoted his professional life to securing and strengthening the FELA (and) seeking justice for thousands of injured railroad workers over a career that spanned seven decades,” said James A. Stem, retired SMART Transportation Division/UTU national legislative director and executive director of the Academy of Rail Labor Attorneys. “We all stand on his shoulders.”
Born June 16, 1924, Moody was a U.S. Army veteran and served in World War II in Europe. Upon his return home, he attended college, then law school, before founding what is now the Moody Law Firm in Portsmouth, Virginia.
Moody turned his attention to politics after establishing his practice and was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, serving there from 1956 to 1967, then in the Virginia Senate from 1968 until 1984. He never lost an election.
In addition to serving as a DLC, Moody donated to the UTU’s political action committee and later founded the Railroad Museum of Virginia in Portsmouth. His legal career culminated with his induction into the National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame in April 2014.
Moody is survived by his wife of 71 years, Betty Covert Moody; daughter, Sharon Edwards, and her husband, Stephen; two sons, Willard “Will” Moody, Jr., who continues his father’s legacy as a current SMART TD DLC, and his wife, Courtney; and Paul Moody and his wife, Sarah; three sisters, Bertha Foster, Sue Bell and Mary Ellen Romanczyk; six grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a host of extended family and friends.
Visitation will be 3 to 5:30 p.m. March 31 at Sturtevant Funeral Home, Portsmouth Boulevard Chapel, 5201 Portsmouth Blvd., Portsmouth, VA 23701. A funeral service will be 11 a.m. Monday, April 1, 2019, at Green Acres Presbyterian Church, 3135 Hanley Ave., Portsmouth, VA 23703, by the Rev. Elizabeth Hilkerbaumer. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Memorial Gardens. Following the burial, a reception will take place at the home of Will and Courtney Moody, 4201 Manchester Road, Portsmouth, Virginia.
Born in 1930, Art Hanford began his railroad career as a darkroom technician for the Chesapeake & Ohio (C&O) Railway in 1953. While with the C&O, he earned a reputation as a quality photographer and writer. He was a trusted employee of Cyrus Eaton, the C&O Board Chairman at the time, and accompanied him on many trips to The Greenbrier Resort, then owned by the railroad, in White Sulfur Springs, WV.
In 1958 he went to work for the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) as photographer-reporter and continued to earn credit for his work on the union’s publications. During this time, Art spent many years working with the BLE Grand Chief, Guy Brown. At that time, the BLE had over 60,000 members.
Early in 1967, Art moved to Chicago as managing editor of Railway Purchasing & Stores, one of several magazines, including Railway Age, published by Simmons Boardman.
Later that same year, Art accepted a position back in Ohio from the Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen as Assistant Editor of Trainman News, the official BRT member publication. Charles Luna was president at the time.
In 1969, the BRT merged with three other rail unions to form the United Transportation Union, where Luna was named the new union’s president. In 1971, Al Chesser became Luna’s successor as president of the UTU until 1979, who was then followed by Fred Hardin (until 1991).
Art Hanford retired in 1990, with his last held position being the UTU’s Director of Internal Communications. At that time, the union had approximately 90,000 members.
Among the most memorable trips for Art were those traveling with engineers on steam locomotives, which were fast disappearing. He was also assigned to take pictures of Queen Elizabeth II in 1959 on a Royal train trip through Canada. Other celebrities he photographed in his career were Ben Hogan while playing in a golf tournament at the Greenbrier.
Art wrote several books after he retired, including a yet-to-be-published autobiography titled “Writing on the Railroad.” Art’s son, Guy Hanford, indicated that the family plans to finish publishing the book in honor of their father.
Art Hanford died peacefully surrounded by his family on Friday, March 15, 2019. He is survived by his wife Janice of 66 years.
Willis Croonquist, of Local 1177 (Willmar, Minn.), a former United Transportation Union Minnesota state legislative director and alternate national legislative director in the 1980s and ’90s, died Jan. 24. He was 81.
Croonquist had been a member of the union since 1955, and served as a guiding light to many on the legislative side of the union, including current National Legislative Director John Risch.
“Over the years, Willis was much more than a union brother,” said John Risch, national legislative director for SMART TD. “He was my mentor and a dear friend. He was well-liked and was well respected, which is what made him a very effective Minnesota legislative director and UTU alternate national legislative director.”
Risch continued, “Willis was always fun to be with. He knew how to have a good time and when I was with him I had a good time, too. He will be missed … I miss him already.”
Past UTU President Thomas DuBose offered his personal condolences in a message to Croonquist’s family:
“Please know that the death of my longtime friend Willis was received with shock and much sadness,” DuBose wrote. “Our years of friendship will always be an important entry in my book of memories.
“Without question, the American labor movement lost a leading trade unionist and political activist in every sense of the word, with his passing.”
Members of Local 1177 (Willmar, Minn.) gathered in December 2010 to present former Alternate National Legislative Director and Minnesota State Legislative Director Willis Croonquist with a brass lantern commemorating his then-55 years as a member of the UTU.
Croonquist’s career was steeped in politics. Not only did he work on the UTU’s legislative side, but he was also a Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor Party national delegate and counted U.S. Vice Presidents Hubert Humphrey and Walter Mondale among his friends.
In an article published in September 2000 in the UTU News, Croonquist talked about how Humphrey inspired him politically.
“I was a young brakeman when I first heard Humphrey speak,” he said, “and he lit a fire under me.”
Croonquist began his career as a fireman on the Great Northern in 1955, and joined the Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen & Enginemen. Just short of the requisite 10 years of seniority to become an engineer, a movement to eliminate firemen resulted in Croonquist becoming a brakeman and a member of the Order of Railway Conductors and Brakemen.
Elected local legislative representative in 1968, he found his way onto the state legislative board, and in 1984 became state legislative director, a post he held for nine years. In 1991, he was elected UTU assistant national legislative director but resigned in 1993 when the railroad offered a buyout and the Designated Legal Counsel law firm Hunegs, Stone, LeNeave, Kvas & Thornton, sought his expertise as an investigator.
After leaving the railroad, Croonquist still maintained his contributions to the union’s political action committee. In 2011, he appeared with family members in an ad promoting UTUIA products that appeared in the UTU News in 2011. He also was honored by Local 1177 for his then-55 years of continuous membership with a brass lantern presented at a meeting of his home local in December 2010.
“He was known by many in the government affairs, philanthropic and religious community and loved by all who spent time with him,” said Minnesota State Legislative Director Philip Qualy. “For our 1,200 members and many retirees across Minnesota, I offer my sincere condolences to the Croonquist family.”
Carl Cochran, a former Florida state legislative director and the national coordinator of the SMART TD Alumni Association, worked with Croonquist and offered condolences as well.
“What is sad is that not all our sisters and brothers were able to get to know Brother Croonquist — a great union person and family man,” Cochran said.
Visitation is scheduled 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10, with services 11 a.m., Monday, Feb. 11, at St. Barnabas Lutheran Church, 15600 Old Rockford Road, Plymouth, Minn.
William Arthur McManus (Maxie), 74, of Dumont, N.J., died Jan. 5, 2019, at the James J. VA Medical Center in the Bronx, N.Y.
Bill, a member of SMART Transportation Division Local 1447, joined the union in November 1977 and was a railroad conductor with CSX and Conrail for more than 30 years, retiring as Local 1447’s trustee in 2011. He proudly served his country in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era, and was a member of the American Legion Post 21, Cresskill, the Disabled American Veterans and Elks Lodge 1477.
He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Marie (Crutchfield); his children; his grandchildren; and many other relatives.
Visitation will be 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11 at the Frech-McKnight Funeral Home, 161 Washington Ave., Dumont. A funeral Mass be 10 a.m., at St. Joseph R.C. Church, Oradell, with interment to follow in George Washington Memorial Park, Paramus.
As an expression of sympathy or in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in William’s memory to Vietnam Veterans of America, 8719 Colesville Road, Suite 100, Silver Spring, MD 20910.