Today, your Local Union received this incredible testimonial from longtime member TR Leary, who has recently announced his retirement. Congratulations, TR, on an outstanding career with the Teamsters!!!
Brothers and Sisters, Friends and Family:
Everyone has a time in their life where they come to that fork in the road. When we are in our youth and early twenties some of us did not even know what a fork in the road was, we just kept on going and never looked back.
Fortunately for me I had two great parents and 5 brothers and sisters to keep me on track. Joining the Teamsters Union when I was 18 was a big fork in the road. Here I am 33 years later, with another fork in the road.
I have decided to take the right fork for me, to end this journey with no regrets.
On June 2,1977, I joined Teamsters Local 174 while working at the Harlan Fairbanks Company (big surprise it was against the will of the company) on Elliott Ave.
After 641 hours with them, little did I know that was good enough for a vested year! I started working in the shipyards for Marine Power and Equipment in 1978, we built 6 ferry boats when I was there getting laid off in 1982.
Lockheed was up next. You that have been around know that was like going from a death march to a frat party. Before they went under in 1986, I was long gone out of there. Next up was Crescent Foods, Foss, Lake Union Dry Dock and then getting vested (10 years) while pulling orders at Food Services of America in Kent.Then a few more stints and Foss and L.U.D.D. into 1987.
I took every dispatch Teamster Local 117 sent me on. In February of 1988 I got a call to go for an interview down at Todd's Shipyard . My good friend Al worked down there and I think he put a good word in for me with Pete Caple because he hired me! Found out later they were hiring just about anybody, as Todd was coming back from some tough years.
In November of 1990 I was elected Chief Shop Steward for the 125 craft. 20 plus years later , with a lot of "water under the bridge gone by" as they say it is time pass the torch and open up this much needed job to someone else. When I hired in, Big John Cragerud being my lead man set me up with my work station I 've had it all these years in the store, I emptied it out last week for the last time.
My days are done at Todd as a Storekeeper, I seen a lot of craftsman come through here over the years. I went from a kid in the shipyards to a pretty beat up" has been "as far as the physical work goes. My Job was nothing compared to all you that climb on and off these ships and work out in the terrible Seattle weather on the water! I
Thank all of you now because without you guys I had no job. You are the one's that have made Todd what it is, all my respect to you! Being what some of of you call the "Todd Bartender" It's been my privilege to help serve you!
With many factors involved with my decision making process of leaving, they all added up to move on. Not being able to do the work like I once could was one, the needs of my family during the day was another. Being able to retire at 51 was pretty inviting also. To get money put in my account every month for not going to work was one I need to let sink in.
Finally the day I found out my good friend Clarence passed away in his sleep, I came down here. Me and my little brother Clay went up and told Nate "I need to go", Clarence did not see one day of retirement, I tell everyone now what Paul Holten said on his retirement day "be happy to have your feet hit the floor everyday!"
I am very blessed to be able to get a full pension at this age, and I am going to try to GO ENJOY IT! I often also think about Leo Macias who only got a few years of his retirement. Phil Baker and Molly have inspired me also to check out this retirement life! Bruce Adams, George Vinz,, Tommy Smith, and all you retired Golfers I will be with you in the spring hopefully hitting it around some where dry!
Thank yous to Bobby Scott, Joe Warren, James McGee, Mark Eaton, Gary Brown, Tim Sullivan, Larry Roseburg, The Woeck Family, Marty Yellom . Wil Rance I can blame you for getting fat with all the lunches you bought me. Mr. John Williams, Margaret Sacha & Anita Johnson, Kayla all who all ran a proud Teamsters Local 117 for years.
All my co workers along the way, Bill Thede ,Gary O., Jay, Steve Slee, Reggie, Clay Chapman, Dale Pederson , "Moscone" , Dave , Molly , Tony Z., Big John, The Trulin Brothers, Mike Malone, Shawn Dawley Scotty Richard,Vic V.Larry Jones, Greg Rainbolt, Lonnie Sasslin, Stu Snow, Kenny Gannaw, Gary Carson, Kevin Fish, Mark DeLappe and many many more (forgive me if I forgot you and you know who you are).
Thank you to my friend Al Rainsberger who has never wavered. Special Thank You's to Nate Ford for putting up with me, to Mike Marsh for his support even though I probably did not deserve it. Finally, Mr. Steve Welch who supported me through all my family tragedies through the years. You are a very generous man! I also want to Thank my Dad and Number One Hero ,Thomas R. Leary,Sr and my Uncle's Danny and Bob Leary who also were very proud Teamsters!
Arnie Wienmiester legendary Teamster boss and NFL Hall of Famer, a big Thank you for the help building our pension fund!
I feel like maybe not a Hall of Famer but a very,very, very lucky man ! Be safe and keep up the good fight! & long live Todd Shipyards for many years to come ! The last and Biggest Thank you is to my Mom Helen ,who by far is the strongest person I will ever, ever know . She watches me retire with a smile on her face after losing three of her other children Grace Ann, Tommy and Susie.
God Bless! trl