UPDATE: For those who wish to pay their respects, services for Chris will be held on Friday July 31st at 10:00am at St. Joseph the Worker — 56522 Road 200, North Fork, CA 93643.
Chris Habecker, IBEW 1245’s long-time recording secretary and one of our brightest lights, died June 30 of a recently-diagnosed illness.
Her service to the union, her loyalty to the cause of labor, and her irrepressible good cheer made Chris a good friend to many and a sister to all. She was initiated into IBEW 1245 in January of 1976, shortly after being hired by PG&E. Six years later she became a shop steward, reflecting early on her commitment to serving members and defending their rights. It was a position she held until her recent retirement from the company.
Being a shop steward was just the beginning of Chris’s union service. She served as chair of Fresno Unit #1111 for 18 years, from 1989 to 2007. In 1994 she took a seat on the Advisory Council and the following year she won a contested election for the Southern Area position on the Executive Board. She became recording secretary for the union by appointment in 2001 and was re-elected to that position in every subsequent election.
“From her position on the Executive Board, Chris was a strong advocate for fiscal strength,” said Business Manager Tom Dalzell. “She helped lead the Board to take meaningful action to assist retirees in Nevada when their medical benefits were under attack by NV Energy.”
Dalzell said that Chris was equally strong in advocating for our current members, offering strong support on the Executive Board for the creation of two new positions to serve members: safety stewards and organizing stewards.
“We are where we are –powerful and financially sound—thanks to her insight and her consistency,” said Dalzell. “Our members will reap the good things she sowed for years.”
Chris’s commitment to this union was broad and deep. Beginning in the 1980s, she served on the San Joaquin Division Joint Grievance Committee. In the early 1990s, as PG&E moved to consolidate telephone service into regional call centers, she served on the committee examining consolidation’s impact on Clerical members. As one of many Clerical members who experienced a repetitive stress injury, she didn’t suffer in silence but volunteered instead to serve on the Workstation Evaluation Committee and the Video Display Terminal Committee.
In 1990 and again in 1994, Chris was entrusted with the responsibility of serving on the PG&E General Bargaining Committee. Clerical members could be assured that their concerns were well-represented, while Physical members could be confident that her loyalty to the union embraced all members.
Business Managers from Jack McNally to Perry Zimmerman to Tom Dalzell regularly appointed Chris to represent our local union to the outside world. You could never find a better ambassador. Among the dozens of conferences and conventions she attended over the years were IBEW Ninth District Progress Meetings, IBEW Utility Conferences, National Women’s Conferences, and Coalition of Labor Union Women conferences.
Chris was elected by the members at large to represent Local 1245 at the IBEW’s International Convention in 2001 and 2006, where matters affecting the IBEW’s entire membership were considered and voted on. If you happened to serve with her at such a convention you would notice that she did not merely warm a seat—she paid attention. She was also a delegate to California Labor Federation conferences and conventions, where she engaged in the discussion of issues affecting working people throughout California. Her eager participation in policy and political deliberations reflected her curious mind and her desire to help others.
If you knew her, you knew this for sure: Chris genuinely cared.
As a woman — as well as a respected leader — in a union where males have always been in the majority, Chris understood the special challenges that her position involved. But her advocacy for women was never adversarial. She wanted workplace justice for men and women alike, and devoted as much energy, passion and good will to that cause as any member of IBEW 1245 ever has.
Chris was 68 when she died. She was a member of IBEW 1245 for 39 years.
Information concerning services will be posted when available.
If you would like to share your sentiments, thoughts or memories in honor of Chris’s passing, please complete the form at the bottom of this page.
Chris was always there with an encouraging word when we saw each other at the union hall. She enjoyed doing things for people and lifting them up. We could use more like her in this world and she was taken away too soon. I’m grateful I had a chance to know her.
You are genuinely missed, My Dear Sister. Rest in eternal peace.
Love you Chris we have had many fun times, some sad times and some inspirational times, you have been one of my favorite sisters give my other sister up there and my babies big kisses RIP
She will be deeply missed. Sad day for 1245. Felt like just yesterday I was sitting in the hotel lobby in Atlanta having a conversation with her. A truly genuine caring and loving person. My heart hurts reading this news. RIP
I will truly miss you my friend.. You were always there for me.. Always Stood by me..RIP my kind hearted friend
Wilson Family Prayers, RIP Chris
This brings tears to my eyes, I didn’t know until just now, I love that lady, she always had a kind word and smile for me. Rest in peace my sister, I’ll see you on the other side!!!
You will be sincerely missed. I really appreciate all the help and guidance you gave me when I became a member of the advisory council. Rest in peace sister
Rachel Ramirez Hill
I am deeply saddened by the news. She was an amazing woman. I loved seeing her and catching up at any union events and conferences I attended. May she rest in peace. God gained another Angel.
Rene Cruz Martinez
Chris was a friend to all she knew but was especially a friend to those in the labor movement and those in retirement. Chris will be greatly missed by all that knew her. We will carry on to the best of our ability as she would have expected but it will not be the same without her. We who believe know we will see her again someday, rest in peace my sister.
Tom “T” Bird
Sad day for the 1245 family. Chris was the glue, she loved to cook and always made us the best dishes. Our gatherings will never be the same. Chris was a great union sister and always supported and believed in me. Her words of encouragement and guidance meant a lot to me. Thank you Chris, I will miss you.
Chris is one of the most amazing ladies I’ve ever met. Her heart was 10x as big as her small frame. You always wanted to be around her.
I’ve had the pleasure of working beside her in the kitchen many years in the golf tournament. Catering for hundreds of people, she was always so well organized and never stressed, she made everything look so easy. She made the best gumbo and beans and lemon & lime tarts.
She blessed us in the office so many times by being so thoughtful and generous with gifts and cooking meals and wanting nice things for us in the office. You couldn’t give her a gift without her giving you something back. She always looked at the best in people and was approachable and easy to talk to. Generous on her hugs and smiles. Always cheerful and full of Joy! I absolutely love her and will strive to be more like her.
It was hard to hear of how quickly her health turned. My heart is broken to not be able to say goodbye and I love you one last time to someone who I believe to be part of my family. To also say thank you for the good you brought into the office. Thank you for caring about each one of us and going out of your way for us time and time again. It was truly a blessing to know her!
Chris had that infectious sort of enthusiasm that made her a powerful leader and ally. She lived life to the fullest and she left us way too soon. I regret that my newborn daughter will never get to meet her, because she really set the standard when it comes to being the kind of unionist we should all aspire to be — warm and kind yet strong and effective. She’ll always be an inspiration and role model for me.
It was a pleasure to be a part of the executive board with Chris. When I was first appointed she welcomed me with awesome encouragement. A welcome mat she seemed to throw out for everybody she encountered with a warm smile, a good word and usually a hug.
One great sister in unity. She will be missed and we are all eternally better for her service to this local and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
First of all, I like to express my condolences to Chris’ family you are in my thoughts and prayers. I learned of her passing yesterday from Pete Sandoval.
I don’t cry very often but I did last night; in silence. Very few people have touch my heart in my lifetime and Chris was one of them. I wiped my tears so my kids would not notice that their tough dad was crying.
I met Chris about three years ago and she grabbed me by the hand, gave me a hug and a kiss. She said “welcome” and took me to the table were some of the E-board members were gathering and she said “everyone this is Jaime from Lompoc our new brother”.
Every time we met again, it was the same routine, she greeted me a big smile, hug and a kiss.
This is what I said in one of my Ad Council reports “I like to thank Tom, the E-board and a very special thanks Chris, our E-Board Secretary for been so nice; from the very first time I met her. She is the example of how we as 1245 brothers and sister should be. She is the definition of brotherhood in the IBEW. Thank you sister.”
I was always looking forward to see Chris because she was so nice of a human being. I don’t think that I was special because she did this to a lot of people. Chris will forever have a place in my heart and I hope that her legacy can continue where the rest of the staff, members and E-board can follow her footsteps. Rest in peace sister, you will be missed and loved forever!
From the first moment I met Chris she had claimed a piece of my heart. You couldn’t help but be surrounded by her caring love, and affection whenever she was around. God has taken one of his Angels back, and I will forever be grateful for the time I was granted to stand in her warm glow.
What a wonderful person Chris was! Never forget when I was new on the ad council she always greeted me with “hi hon” like a favorite auntie who was always on you side. People like Chris are rare. Rest in peace sister Chris.
Chris “walked the talk” and was a great example to us all of what being a strong union leader means.I can remember many times that Chris told me “Don’t worry about it I will take care of it” when I asked her for help in working with the retirees..
Rest in peace now Sister
A truly great Union Sister has been lost to Local 1245 and IBEW. She has been such a big part of the Executive Board and Local and will be missed by all. Rest in peace Chris.
I have known Chris for over 30 years, and throughout that time she was always a friend anyone could depend on. She always put members first, and was devoted to IBEW 1245. I will miss her. My condolences to Chris’ family and friends.
Chris touched so many lives with her absolutely huge heart! It seems like only yesterday that she and I were planning pot-lucks in the Fresno NB office. That woman could cook and made sure that everyone was fed. That was the kind of woman she was. Always willing to take care of someone who needed it. She was always there to talk to about any concern, Union or otherwise, and help if she could. Chris you will be missed by more people than you would ever have imagined. I will never look at another Pink Flamingo without thinking of you, my friend. (Chris loved Scottie Dogs and Pink Flamingos.) I will miss you.
Chris was great to all of us in Service Planning and even as a Service Planning Supervisor, Chris was awesome and helped me with everything we came across while making sure the employees and customers were well treated and needs met. We called her “Mom” on the second floor of 705 P St in Fresno. Every holiday or special occasion, Chris would leave you a small gift of some type and was always there when things got tough and you were about to loose it. In my 32 years at PG&E, I can’t think of any other employee I was prouder to serve along side of and love. In Christ,
Chris really did care for all her union brothers & sisters, she gave us her all and she will be missed by all.
Cecelia de la Torre
Most gave…some gave all…Chris was the latter when it came to Local 1245. You will be missed but your spirit lives on…
Although we sat on different sides of the table, Chris always greeted me with a warm smile. When she spoke, her comments were poignant and folks listened. She was a lovely lady.
She was a very good friend, always ready to help. I could always count on her if I had a question. I always looked forward to seeing her at steward meetings and anniversary luncheons. Rest in peace , Chris.
I’m very saddened to hear this news. It seems like just yesterday that we talked in the hallway at the union hall. I will always remember and miss your warm smile and hugs. RIP sister Chris! The world has lost an Angel.
I was unaware beautiful Chris had passed Until now … I missed her and began to look where and if she was ok … I am so so sad .. I LOVED her HUGS and cheerful laughter. She was a bright shining spirit. We all lost an earthly angel. Love you Chris see on the other side