It is with a heavy heart that we announce that former IBEW 1245 Business Rep Richard Dunkin passed away on August 25 at the age of 74 due to illness.
Brother Dunkin was initiated into the IBEW in 1967 as a groundman, became an apprentice lineman in 1969, and topped out as a journeyman lineman in 1975. He committed many decades of his life to the trade, and spent some time working for the utility, but worked primarily in outside construction — both as a lineman, and later, as a business rep for the union.
“I met Rich back before I was Business Manager of 1245. He first worked for PG&E in the Bakersfield area, and was a Rep there,” recalled Jack McNally, who served as the union’s business manager when Dunkin was on staff. “He was good at representing the Outside Construction membership. He used his sense of humor to do his job. He was a good man, and a good member!”
IBEW 1245 Business Rep Richard Ingle worked with Dunkin on several occasions. The first time he met Dunkin was on a substation job in San Jose, where Ingle was the general foreman and Dunkin served on the crew. Ten years later, they cross paths again at a distribution job in Fresno — but that time, Dunkin was the general foreman, and Ingle was on the crew.
“He was a prince of a guy,” Ingle recalled. “He had a great sense of humor, he was really fun to work with. Every day, it was a pleasure to get up and go to work with him.”
Brother Dunkin later served as an IBEW business rep, supporting Local 1245 members in outside construction, and was subsequently promoted to Assistant Business Manager.
IBEW 1245 Executive Board member Mike Cottrell attended many of the unit meetings that Dunkin chaired in the early 90s, and fondly remembers the way that Dunkin maintained composure during often contentious debates, noting that he “maintained the eloquence of a diplomat and the level-headed gavel-cracker.”
“I learned a lot from Richard, watching him run a unit meeting and wondering how in the hell can he do this,” said Cottrell. “He was fair in the execution of his duties. He was forgiving to those who lashed out at him. He carried [his duties] well and passed the torch to those like me, who have not forgotten his sacrifice to the causes of labor, Local 1245, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Thank you, Brother Richard, for you contributions to the cause of humanity, and the help you gave me to grow!”
Brother Dunkin’s dear wife of nearly 30 years, Bonnie, passed away earlier this year after a battle with cancer. Dunkin himself had been dealing with health issues for the better part of a decade.
Our entire IBEW family mourns his passing.
More details and condolence sentiments will be posted here as they become available.
A memorial service will be held for Brother Dunkin on Saturday, October 6, at noon at the Lions Club Rodeo Grounds, 19400 Ave 398 Woodlake Ca 93286.