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April 2018

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Bob King

The IBEW is saddened to report the death of retired Fifth District International Representative Bob King, who passed away in Shreveport, La., on Jan. 31. He was 87.

Born in Americus, Ga., Brother King graduated from high school in Atlanta before moving to Shreveport. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1949-53 and was assigned to the USS Titania, where he was awarded two Bronze Star during the Korean War. After being discharged, he returned to Louisiana, where he was initiated into Shreveport Local 194 in 1955 and became a journeyman wireman.

He wasted no time in becoming a leader at his local. King was appointed to Local 194's executive committee in 1960, elected president in 1962, and business manager in 1964 in an election decided by a single vote, his son Scott King said.

"He always joked, 'The division between a pair of Carhartts and a Kuppenheimer suit is one vote'," said Scott, a former Local 194 president himself who now is the owner of King Electric in Shreveport, an IBEW signatory contractor.

He was named an international representative for the Fifth District in 1967 by then-International President Gordon M. Freeman, a position he kept until his retirement in 1993. Glenn Brannen, a Fifth District international representative who also served as Local 194 business manager, said King was known for being an impeccable dresser — those Kuppenheimer suits, we presume — and for his amazing ability to remember people's names and their family members even after a brief encounter.

That served him well in building relationships with fellow members and with corporate officials during contract negotiations, he said.

"He was pretty much a perfectionist in everything he did," said Brannen, an honorary pallbearer at King's memorial service. "His shoes would be shined, his hair would be nice, his car would be cleaned, and he used words you would have to look up in the dictionary."

Added Scott: "He had to have his sleeves measured to where he had a half-inch of cuff showing. His tie was always perfect. He always wanted to dress sharp."

Scott said he and the rest of the family were surprised when his father said he was retiring.

"He was such a hard worker," he said. "Every Sunday afternoon after church, we had to be quiet because Dad would go into his office and type all those reports."

King studied at Cornell University's Labor Studies Program, the University of Wisconsin and the National Labor College's George Meany Center. He was a member of the American Legion and the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

Besides Scott, Brother King is survived by Patsy, his wife of 63 years; son Jon; three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

Even in retirement, his father always wanted to know what was going on in the IBEW, Scott said. Bob King's health declined during the last few years of his life after suffering a stroke, but he made sure he was awake and alert when his son visited so he could hear about any IBEW news.

"It was everything to him," Scott said. "He always wanted to talk to me about how my employees were doing and what I had heard about the IBEW."

The IBEW officers and staff send their condolences to the King family and his many friends during this difficult time.


Bob King