June 2009

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Robert G. McWillie

The IBEW regrets to report the April 25 death of former First District International Representative Robert McWillie.

Born in Viscount, Saskatchewan, Brother McWillie was initiated into Saskatoon Local 319 in 1949 following military service in England, France, Holland and Germany in World War II. He worked as a lineman for Saskatchewan Power Corp., then took a power distribution job with the city of Saskatoon. As a member of Local 319, he served on the executive and examining boards and as president. He went on to serve for 10 years as business manager of Local 319 before he was appointed International Representative in 1966.

Former International Executive Council Secretary James R. McAvoy said McWillie functioned as the district���s trouble-shooter, traveling from coast to coast on behalf of First District Vice Presidents William Ladyman and K.G. Rose. He also assisted members across Canada in organizing and negotiating.

���I couldn���t say enough about him as a man,��� McAvoy said. ���Even if you only met him once, you never forgot him.���

McWillie represented the IBEW on the Canadian Standards Association and served as president of the Western Canada IBEW Power Utility Council. He retired in 1981.

As a retiree, he served for four years on the board of directors of the Saskatchewan Workers Compensation Board and on other labor committees. He was active in war veterans organizations and had a great interest in genealogical and historical research, even writing a book on the McWillie clan.

The IBEW extends its most sincere condolences to Brother McWillie���s wife, children, grandchildren and many friends and family.

Kenneth L. Olsen

We are sorry to report that retired Eighth District International Representative Kenneth L. Olsen passed away on April 28.

Initiated into Billings, Mont., Local 532 in 1969, Olsen, a journeyman wireman, served as a member of the examining board and executive board before becoming treasurer and assistant business manager. Business manager from 1984 to 1989, he was appointed International Representative in 1989.

���This is a guy who had a zest for life,��� says Eighth District International Representative Fred ���Rocky��� Clark. Olsen mentored Clark from his first days as a business manager of Local 44 in Butte, Mont. ���He was always there with the answers,��� says Clark.

A U.S. Army veteran, Brother Olsen served various Joint Apprenticeship Training Committees in Montana and throughout the Eighth District. He was an officer of the local Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, and was an active member of the Democratic Party at the statewide level and in Yellowstone County.

After his retirement in 2004, Olsen moved from the district���s seat in Idaho to Montana to be closer to his daughters and grandchildren. He enjoyed traveling by motor home from coast to coast visiting friends and family.

The officers, staff and members extend our heartfelt condolences to Brother Olsen���s wife, Lois, and their family and friends.