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September 2012

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John P. Coleman

We regret to report that retired Fifth District International Representative John P. Coleman Jr. passed away on March 1 at the age of 85.

Born in Lafayette, La., Brother Coleman served in the Navy during World War II before his initiation into Lake Charles Local 861 in 1950. A journeyman wireman, he served his local as business manager, assistant business manager, executive board member and unit chairman. He also served as secretary treasurer of the Lafayette Building and Construction Trades Council and secretary treasurer of the Lafayette Central Labor Council.

He was appointed to the International staff in 1969, where he serviced locals in Louisiana until his retirement in 1989. Bob King, a retired International Representative and close friend to Coleman, says he was a kind, personable man, and never had a negative thing to say. "He was an all around good guy, an effective representative," says King, "He had a lot of love for the IBEW."

In his spare time, Brother Coleman was an avid fisherman and golfer who also enjoyed gardening. He leaves behind his son, John Coleman III, and his daughter, Lydia Coleman-Onderdonk. The officers and staff, on behalf of the members of the IBEW, send our sympathies to Brother Coleman's friends and family.


John P. Coleman

Tina Thoman

IBEW Investment Department Director Tina Thoman retired August 1 after 35 years of dedicated service at the International Office in Washington, D.C.

Sister Thoman began her IBEW career in 1977 in the typing pool. The Bethesda, Md., native then moved to the Per Capita Department, where she quickly learned the ins and outs of accounting.

Eight years later, Thoman said she was "ready for a new challenge" and applied for an accounting job in the Investment Department. The department's overall responsibilities were to allocate, invest and oversee the assets of the Pension Benefit Fund, the IBEW General Fund, the Officer and Representatives Plan and the Office Employees Plan.

"We were taught by professionals about investment allocation details, real estate, construction loans and financial reporting," Thoman said. "It was exciting and unique to be given these opportunities."

In 1998, a year after her department established and successfully implemented the IBEW Employees' 401(k) Plan, Thoman was tapped to be a supervisor and was hired as Director of the department in 2002. Two years ago, she was appointed an International Representative by International President Edwin D. Hill.

"I can never thank the IBEW enough for the opportunities that were given to me," Thoman said. "Who could have imagined as I started my first day in the typing pool that I would end my career 35 years later as the director of the Investment Department?"

Her knack for numbers was coupled with her — and her family's — dedication to trade unionism. Thoman started her career as a member of OPEIU Local 2, then became a member of IBEW's Washington, D.C., Local 121. Her sister is an employee of the Sheet Metal Workers, and one of her brothers works for the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Thoman quickly gained a reputation throughout the office as being active and engaged around issues affecting the middle class. "I am a political junkie, so there is nothing more satisfying than being part of election process," she said. Her first campaign activity was in 1984, leafleting for Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale. Other campaigns followed, culminating in get-out-the-vote efforts for then-candidate Barack Obama in 2008.

"My hopes are somehow to stay connected and give back to an organization that has given me so much — not just a pension, but a sense of belonging and a strong belief in unions and how they make this country a better place," Thoman said.

In retirement, she looks forward to more quality family time, traveling, volunteering, going back to school and more.

On behalf of the entire union membership, the officers and staff wish Sister Thoman a healthy, enjoyable and well-deserved retirement.


Tina Thoman