IAM Mourns 50-year Member James R. ‘Spanky’ Yungkans

James R. “Spanky” Yungkans
James R. “Spanky” Yungkans

The IAM mourns the death of Phoenix Local 519 Recording Secretary and Office Manager James R. “Spanky” Yungkans, who passed away on March 7, 2013.

A Machinist member for nearly 50 years, Spanky first joined the IAM in 1965 when the Double A Production Plant in Manchester, MI, was unionized. In 1980, he went to work at Goodyear Aerospace in Goodyear, AZ. Spanky retired in 1991 after suffering lung damage. But, even after he retired, Spanky continued to support his Local Lodge.  Not only did he continue paying full dues, he also served as Recording Secretary and Office Manager until his death.

“Spanky was indeed a true trade unionist,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary Allen. “He always worried about how his children, and the children of the rest of us, would live in this new economy. He felt very strongly that working people were not being treated fairly. But he didn’t just talk about it. He insisted on doing union work even when he should have been home in bed. He would be at the office, on oxygen, making entries on the computer, taking calls and solving problems for IAM members, all the while struggling to take the next breath. He never quit.”

Spanky was preceded in death by his wife Nancy in 2005.  He leaves behind five children, 14 grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren.

For a glimpse into the life of James R. “Spanky” Yungkans, click here to view a special video created by his family.