The deadly COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping across the globe has infected and taken the lives of thousands, including some of our own IAM Sisters and Brothers. We honor our fallen by celebrating their impact on our lives and the labor movement. They will not be forgotten. We also thank many of our fellow Sisters and Brothers who remain on the front-lines during the coronavirus outbreak, doing the essential work that keeps us all safe.
“This pandemic has had a tremendous impact on so many lives, including that of many of our Brothers and Sisters. Myself, the Executive Council and IAM members across North America offer our deepest condolences to the victims and stand with their family and friends as they grieve,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We will get through these hard times together, in solidarity.”
We will continue to update the list of fallen IAM members as we learn of them.
Daron Bates (Local 845, District 142) of Las Vegas, passed away on June 19, 2020. Bates, 51, worked as a fueler for Swissport at McCarran International Airport.
Marvin D. Banks (Local 193, District 4) of Mechanicsville, MD, passed away on June 19, 2020. Banks, 48, worked for the IAM for nearly 12 years and served as the overnight security guard at William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center in Hollywood, MD. Banks treated every W3 Center member-participant and his co-workers with respect. He was a true trade unionist and will be dearly missed by his IAM family. He was a humble, genuine and lovable person to all he encountered. Banks enjoyed antique car and attending car shows with his brothers, Lamont and Craig Queen.
Roger Bousquet (Local 1446, District 26) of East Hartford, CT, passed away on April 20, 2020. Bousquet, 65, was a 45-year member and an inspector at Pratt and Whitney. His work family will long feel the effects of his contributions to the company as a mentor, a team leader and a professional. Bousquet had a profound interest in astronomy and space exploration and his career in the aircraft industry fed and informed his curiosity about the history and advances in space technology. He fostered that in others by gifting telescopes so they could share in that wonder and knowledge. Bousquet was an enormously generous and loving uncle to his many nieces and nephews.
Carlos Consuegra (Local 914, District 141), of Union City, NJ, passed away on March 26, 2020. Consuegra, 52, was a 12-year employee and ramp services agent for United Airlines at Newark’s Liberty International Airport. A devoted father and grandfather, Consuegra enjoyed signing, karaoke, and playing and coaching baseball and softball. He loved his job because it allowed him to take his parents on trips to visit family and close friends. Fellow members remember him as a generous coworker who was always willing to share knowledge with younger members of the team. “Carlos’s passing is a blow to all of us who are facing this unprecedented challenge to our industry and our nation from the front lines,” said IAM District 141 President and Directing General Chair Mike Klemm. “We are in mourning, but this sadness will only strengthen our fight for better protections at work.”
Claude Daniels (Local 776C, District 776) of Fort Worth, Texas, passed away on April 11, 2020. Daniels, a 43-year veteran at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, worked as a Material Handler in Department 80. Survived by his wife, Hazel, who spent nearly three decades at the same company, friends remember Daniels as a kind man with a strong sense of humor. Hundreds of condolence messages from Lockheed employees circulated the internet remembering Daniels and honoring his legacy and character. “We are a family at Lockheed Martin and we lost one of our own. Words cannot express the sadness we all feel about losing our union brother,” said IAM District 776 Directing Business Representative Paul Black.
Louis Fabello Jr. (Local 1726, Districts 141) of Atkinson, NH, passed away on April 15, 2020. Fabello, 64, had been employed in American Airlines’ fleet service for the past 40 years at Boston Logan International Airport. He played hockey as a young man and helped to coach his two sons in the sport he loved the most, as well as volunteering his time as a baseball coach. Fabello enjoyed the time spent with his family and possessed a strong work ethic. He was proud to be able to provide for his family he cherished. “The American Airlines bag room will not be the same without Lou,” wrote one coworker. “Deepest heartfelt condolences to the family and my IAM brothers and sisters on the loss of such a down to earth genuine good guy.”
Rita Griffin (Local 1391, District 34) of Harrison, OH passed away on August 5, 2020 surrounded by loved ones. Griffin, 60, worked for Wayne Water/Powerex as an Assembler and a proud member of the machinist union for more than thirteen years. Rita was the 10th child in a family of 12 children, making her a surrogate mother to many nieces and nephews. Friends and coworkers remember her as a sensitive, faithful woman who loved reading, creative arts, especially music and films, and who was willing to help anyone in need.
Marc Hovell (Local 1487, Districts 141) of Louisville, KY, passed away on April 8, 2020. Hovell, 59, was in the Air National Guard and was a U.S. Air Force veteran. He worked for United Airlines as an aircraft mechanic instructor. Hovell was an avid karaoke singer who loved life. He is survived by his loving wife, three children and three step-children. “He made each day enjoyable and I loved to meet with him and family during the holidays,” wrote one coworker. “We lost a good one.”
Lester James (Local 447, District 15) of Brooklyn, NY, passed away on April 16, 2020. James, 77, worked as a shuttle driver for Budget Rent a Car in his retirement after working at Domino Sugar Co. and at a Broadway condo earlier in life. He is remembered as a selfless and devoted family man, and an amazing father, husband and friend to those who crossed his path. He leaves behind his wife, Stephania, two daughters, four sons and numerous grand and great grandchildren.
Aimee Kheuanesombath-Carbonell (Local 700, District 26) of Manchester, CT, passed away on April 14, 2020. Kheuanesombath-Carbonell, 38, had worked as an inspector at Pratt and Whitney’s division of United Technologies since February 2020. It was her dream job. She was encouraging to others seeking to pursue a happier and healthier lifestyle and built the confidence and self-esteem of everyone around her. Kheuanesombath-Carbonell leaves behind her husband, Justin, her parents and her 9-year-old daughter, Eemia.
Lydia Lopez (Local 218, District 60) of Saginaw, MI passed away on April 12, 2020. Lopez, 63, was a healthcare worker at the Samaritas Senior Living Center in Saginaw. “Sister Lopez is a true American hero—like all healthcare and frontline workers, regardless of title, during this distressing and devastating time who are serving to protect all of us, especially those who are most vulnerable, like residents of senior care facilities,” said IAM District 60 Assistant Directing Business Representative Jeff McLeod.
Janine Meritet (Local 434, District 15) of Middle Island, NY, passed away on March 31, 2020. Meritet, 59, a member since June 1996, worked as a patient care assistant at Saint Catherine Hospital on Long Island. She was known by family, friends and coworkers to be kind and hardworking. She cared deeply for the welfare of humans and animals alike. Those who knew her remarked that “she was tiny in stature, but big in personality” and said “her patients got only the best care.” “She was a person who gave her heart to everyone and asked for nothing [in] return,” wrote another.
John Oles (Local 753, District 19) of Croton-on-Hudson, NY, passed away on April 13, 2020. Oles, 58, a 27-year IAM member, worked for Metro-North Railroad at its airbrake room in Harmon, NY. He was a dedicated volunteer with the Columbian Hook and Ladder Company in Croton-on-Hudson. Mourners remember him as “an integral part of the social fabric of the Croton community” who “always made you feel you were the most important person at that moment.” Oles is survived by his beloved wife Karen (Smith) Oles and his cherished daughters Kristen and Kimberly. He is also survived by his mother Dolores and brother Douglas.
Ronilo “Ronnie” Quitco (Local 914, District 141) of Elizabeth, NJ, passed away on April 12, 2020. Quitco, 60, worked for United Airlines for more than 30 years at Newark Liberty International Airport and was well liked by all of his colleagues, who remember him as a good and kindhearted man who brightened their day with smile and conversation. Quitco loved to travel the world, but equally loved spending time with his family.
Patrick Reginald Richards Jr. (Local 340) of Harbor View, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, passed away on May 12, 2020. Richards, 45, worked for the Virgin Islands Department of Health and Hospitals at Juan F. Luis Hospital in St. Croix. He is preceded in death by his parents, Patrick Sr. and Bernadette, and survived by his wife, Surgeyar, six children and a grandchild. A husband, father, grandfather and uncle, Richards loved quality time with his family and friends.
Hernan Sanchez (Local 914, District 141) of Union, NJ, passed away on April 15, 2020. Sanchez worked for United Airlines at Newark Liberty International Airport for many years. He was a devoted husband and a role model father who was very much loved by everyone. Sanchez was the beloved husband of Janeth Gomez and the loving father of Christian Sanchez and the late Hernan Sanchez Jr. “The world will be a little dimmer without his light in it, though I believe he is in a better place smiling down upon all of us,” remembered one coworker.
Rosa Garcia Vega (Local 2725), 63, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, was a nurse bravely serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic at Auxilio Mutuo Hospital in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico. She passed away on August 27, 2020. She was a delegate and a Bargaining Committee member for her bargaining unit at Auxilio Mutuo Hospital, where she worked as a nurse for 28 years. Her loss is felt so deeply among her brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico, because she was an amazing human being who always fought for others, and who lost her life battling this pandemic that has impacted us all.
David Veloz (Local 126, District 8) of Chicago, passed away on April 7, 2020. Veloz, 64, served as foreman and machinist at a building-maintenance division for the City of Chicago. Veloz, a U.S. Navy veteran, was an active union member and a delegate to the Chicago Federation of Labor. He was described as a strong advocate for workers’ rights and protections. “I was talking to him right up through when he was put into the hospital. Always thinking about his fellow workers. He was just that kind of guy. It’s a terrible loss for us as an organization and as an individual,” said IAM Local 126 Business Representative Ryan Kelly.
Elton Washington (Local 751F, District 751) of Everett, WA, passed away on March 22, 2020. Washington, 57, was a longtime Boeing Co. worker and a shop steward. He was a flight-line inspector and was described as a family man who loved going on vacation with them. “My dad loved his family and friends but he really loved my mom. That was his best friend, and I know that he’s back with her and they’re both watching me,” wrote his son E.J.
An IAM Local 48 (District 8) member passed away on April 6, 2020. The member was a 15-year machinist at the Chicago Transit Authority. The family has asked that the name of the member not be released publicly.