We regret to announce the passing of former IBEW 1245 Senior Assistant Business Manager Vernon Loveall, who passed away on Sept. 26 at the age of 79.
“Vernon Loveall was intelligent, and the kind of person who would always think before he spoke,” said former Business Manager Jack McNally. “He was low-key. I think this approach worked in his favor, and impressed most people he met.”
Brother Loveall was initiated into the union in 1961, and became active in the union soon after, serving as a shop steward, Executive Board member and Advisory Council member during his three-plus decades as a Local 1245 member.
“Vern was the shop steward in my yard when I hired on. I remember when he first approached me, about six months in, and told me, ‘Son, it’s time to get you signed up in the union,’” recalled Dan Mayo, himself a longtime troubleman and Advisory Council member. “I resented him at first, because I grew up in this very conservative area in the Central Valley, and I was pretty anti-union when I hired on … but I gradually came to realize that being a union member was a good thing, and that my union dues are the best investment I ever made. Vern did me a favor, getting me signed up for the union, although I didn’t know it at the time.”
In 1976, then-Business Manager L.L. Mitchell hired Loveall on to the IBEW 1245 staff as a Business Rep, to serve the members of the San Joaquin Division of PG&E. But Loveall – who was nicknamed “Elvis” by some of the guys on his crew, due to his affinity for running a comb through his full head of hair — missed working as a troubleman, and so he went back to his job at PG&E a few years later.
During the union leadership election of 1980, Loveall campaigned actively for his longtime friend and colleague Jack McNally, who was running for Business Manager. He even had tee-shirts printed for his team to wear at that year’s slow-pitch softball tournament that read, “Back Jack for Business Manager.”
With Loveall’s support, McNally ultimately won that election, and despite the fact that Loveall loved his job with the utility, McNally convinced him to come back to the union staff with him.
“Vernon agreed to come in with me as the Senior Assistant Business Manager, to help me organize the change in leadership at the Local,” McNally recalled. “His assistance was very helpful. But he didn’t want to make a career in the labor movement, and so after six months, he returned to his job at PG&E in Merced.”
Loveall continued to stay active in the union for many years. He was known throughout the system for training top-notch apprentices, and nurturing younger members to follow in his footsteps as a union activist.
Loveall retired from PG&E at age 62, after 34 years. He passed away 17 years later.
He is survived by his wife, three daughters, six stepchildren, 20 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and four of his six siblings.
According to Loveall’s obituary, which ran in the Merced Sun Star, “His kindness, love and faith made everyone around him happy. He will be missed by all who knew him and especially by those who meant everything to him.”