July 2011

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Wesley I. Taylor

We regret to report that retired International Executive Committee Chairman Wesley I. Taylor died May 10. He was 89.

A Kentucky native, Brother Taylor was initiated into Indianapolis Local 481 in 1948.

Elected business manager-financial secretary only eight years later, he served in that role until 1977, following his appointment to the IEC.

In addition to his positions in the IBEW, Taylor was active in the Indiana labor movement, serving as president of both the Bartholomew County and Marion County building trades councils and vice president of the Indiana State Building Trades Department. He was also president of the Indiana State Electrical Workers.

Brother Taylor was appointed International Executive Council chairman to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of E.J. Fransway in 1976. He was subsequently elected at the 1978 and 1982 conventions. He also served as a trustee of the Electrical Workers Benefit Association and as a member of the National Electrical Benefit Board. He retired in 1986.

In his spare time he enjoyed golfing and hunting. He is survived by his wife, Helen.

The officers, staff and membership of the IBEW convey our deep condolences to Brother Taylor's friends and family.

Wesley I. Taylor

Joseph F. Lohman

We are sorry to report that retired Sixth District International Vice President Joseph F. "Jeff" Lohman died suddenly on May 27—less than a year after his retirement.

A native of Indianapolis, Brother Lohman initiated into Local 481 in 1966 as an inside wireman apprentice. He went on to serve as the local's business agent and vice president before his election as business manager in 1983.

In 1988, Lohman was appointed a Sixth District International Representative. Three years later, he was named the organizing coordinator for the district and helped prompt a spike in the union's market share, which climbed from 45 percent in 1995 to 70 percent just five years later. He also played a vital role in the development of the union's COMET (Construction Organizing Membership Education Training) program.

Brother Lohman, who served as secretary of his home state's building trades federation and was a board member of the Central Indiana Labor Council, was appointed International Vice President for the Sixth District in 2005 and served until his retirement last September.

"Jeff's calm demeanor and sharp decision-making skills helped move the union forward," said Lonnie Stephenson, who worked as Lohman's assistant for five years and succeeded him as Sixth District International Vice President last year. "People respected his decisions, whether they agreed with him or not, because he always thought things out clearly and asked for input."

Holding a bachelor's degree from the National Labor College gave Lohman an edge in organizing, Stephenson said. "COMET, and boosting the movement overall, were his lifeblood. Jeff worked hard right up to his last days, even in his retirement."

Local 481 Business Manager Sean Seyferth knew Lohman for 22 years and called him "a confidant and a mentor."

"When I first became an organizer in 1994, Jeff was coordinating statewide organizing for all the building trades," Seyferth said. "He would educate us on the NLRB and give us the 'dos and don'ts.' He was the one who taught me what I know—and he was incredibly intelligent and lived by example."

More than 450 attendees at May's Sixth District Progress Meeting in Indianapolis honored Lohman for his dedication to the IBEW and the larger labor movement.

In retirement, Lohman enjoyed playing golf and fishing—two longtime hobbies—and spending extra time with his family.

"Jeff was always very family-oriented," Stephenson said. "He really showed how you can effectively contribute to the labor movement while making sure that you are always there for your loved ones and your friends."

On behalf of all members of the IBEW, the officers and staff send our condolences to Brother Lohman's wife Jan, his mother Ruth, and his many children and grandchildren.

Joseph F. Lohman

Thomas Hammer

Retired Seventh District International Representative Thomas "Tommy" Hammer died May 26 at the age of 78.

Born in Livonia, Mich., Hammer was initiated into Fort Worth, Texas, Local 116 in 1952. He served the local in many capacities, including as vice president, president and business manager.

In 1973 he was appointed International Representative, servicing inside locals throughout the Dallas and Fort Worth area. He was also assisted organizing efforts.

"He did his job and did it well," says Seventh District Vice President Jonathan Gardner.

Brother Hammer was deeply involved with community organizations and the local labor movement. He served as president of the Texas State Association of Electrical Workers, vice president of the Texas AFL-CIO and president of the Fort Worth Building Trades Council.

In his spare time he enjoyed outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing.

He retired in 1993. Hammer is survived by his wife Jackie, four children, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

On behalf of the members of the IBEW, the officers and staff send condolences to Brother Hammer's friends and family.

Thomas Hammer