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April 2016

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Arthur Korff

We regret to report that former International Representative Arthur Korff died on Feb. 3 in Newport News, Va., where he had lived for the last 14 years. He was 92.

Brother Korff was initiated into New York Local 1212 in 1949 and served as its business manager from 1969-73. He then moved to the IBEW office in Washington, where he was an international representative and director of the cable television department until it was merged into the telecommunications department in 1988. He retired in 1990.

"He was a very detail-oriented guy," said former telecommunications director Art Perry, who worked closely with Korff. "What he said was golden. You didn't have to worry about Art because he was so committed to his job."

Korff was a retired United States Air Force lieutenant colonel and served in both World War II and the Korean War. He kept his pilot's license until his death and former colleagues say he enjoyed living in Newport News because it was close to the large military population in and around Norfolk, Va.

"He was a die-hard military man," said Pete Keenan, IBEW's personnel director from 1984-2004. "He loved the Air Force. With him, it was family, Air Force and the IBEW."

Former broadcasting director Reggie Gilliam got to know Korff when they met at CBS-sponsored meetings. The two worked at CBS-affiliated stations and Gilliam was the business manager of New Orleans Local 1139. That helped them strike up a friendship when Gilliam arrived to work at the international office in 1975, he said.

"We would sit and have coffee quite a few mornings during the week and debate different issues," he said. "When something came up, I think we would take the opposite viewpoint just to see what would happen."

Gilliam noted Korff worked for the IBEW when it helped organize workers at fledgling cable companies. Much of that work was done by business managers and local organizers, but they leaned heavily on Korff for advice.

"He was a joy to work with," Perry said. "He was very on point. I knew when he gave me some information, I didn't have to research it."

Late in his career, Brother Korff was honored at an IBEW Radio and Broadcasting Conference for his work developing contracts that improved the relationship between workers and CBS.

Perry said Korff was active in IROAR, the International Retired Officers and Representatives of the IBEW, throughout his retirement. He volunteered for several civic organizations in and around Newport News. He also was an accomplished bagpipe player, co-founding the Newport News Police Pipe Band and accompanying groups on tours of Scotland.

Brother Korff is survived by wife Ann; daughters Karen and Christine; and many stepchildren and grandchildren.

On behalf of the entire IBEW membership and staff, the officers extend our heartfelt condolences to Brother Korff's family and friends.


Arthur Korff