Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus Jon F. Walters, who retired in 2008 after a 48-year IBEW career, died on Sunday at his home in Blackfoot, Idaho, his son-in-law, Willy Kniffen, said. He was 73.
Brother Walters had been a member of Pocatello Local 449 since 1960 and became its business manager in 1977. He was elected the Eighth District International Vice President in 1982 and was named international secretary-treasurer in 2005.
In that role, Walters helped establish the National Electrical Contractors Association/ IBEW Family Health Care Plan. He also was a leader in establishing the “Code of Excellence,” a written commitment to quality work that he pioneered in the Eighth District.
“The Code of Excellence elevated the work of all our members and remains the standard we strive for today,” IBEW President Lonnie R. Stephenson said. “Jon’s role in establishing it was invaluable, along with the many other leadership positions he took to improve the lives of workers. He will be missed.”
Kniffen said President Emeritus Ed Hill and Secretary-Treasurer Salvatore J. Chilia visited Walters last Friday.
“No matter who he met, they just felt like they knew him forever, even if they only had known him for a few minutes,” said Kniffen, an IBEW organizer. “He was that kind of person. He truly loved the IBEW. He said on many occasions without the IBEW, he would have nothing. He was just a true union tradesman and a great family man.”
The IBEW Political Action Committee raised between $7 and $10 million during each year of his tenure as secretary-treasurer, making it to the top union political action committee in the nation. As vice president, he served as IBEW liaison to the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.
A native of Spokane, Wash., Walters lived in Idaho for most of his life and returned there following his retirement. He and his wife Theresa celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year. He is survived by her and three daughters: Michele, Nichole and Candice.