It’s been often said that, “the legacy of successful leaders lives on through the people they touch along the way. They invest in people, and encourage those who they develop to pass on everything they learn from them to others who will do the same. People are what matter in this world—not money or fame or buildings or organizations or institutions. Only people.”

This was the case for recently deceased Grand Lodge Representative Don Whitaker, who passed away the morning of October 30, 2019. A celebration of life for Brother Whitaker will take place on Saturday, November 16, 2019, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Vintners Inn, 4350 Barnes Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95403. 

Brother Whitaker has been an IAM member for 41 years, faithfully serving the membership throughout those years in many capacities. Whitaker started with the IAM as an apprentice journeyman welder for Bepex Corp. in 1972. He would go on to serve as a Union Steward, Recording Secretary, District Lodge Delegate and then Business Representative for District Lodge 115. 

He also served as Recording Secretary for the Sonoma County Labor Council before becoming a Grand Lodge Representative for the Western Territory. Brother Don has worked on countless negotiations, arbitrations and strikes during his years with us.  In 1999, Don became the Western Territory Area Steward for the IAM Reps. Association and eventually served as President of the Association from 2007 until his retirement in July 2013.

Don has worked hard for the membership throughout his career as he serviced existing members, organized new members and mentored IAM Representatives at all levels throughout the IAM. His dedication and leadership was valued by all.

“Brother Don was a great trade unionist and a true Fighting Machinist,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “Don lived a meaningful life and the work he was fortunate enough to be tasked with left us a legacy of service in the Western Territory. Many lives of our members and their families are forever changed. I am proud to call him a true friend and Brother.”

“The IAM has lost a great champion for our membership and all working people with the passing of Brother Don Whitaker,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “Don was a trusted friend and ally to many IAM members in his storied career, and we will never forget his legacy. I send our deepest condolences to his family during this difficult time.”

His memory is forever engrained in our hearts.

In lieu of flowers, Don’s family has asked for donations for UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay (UCSF Lockbox, PO Box 45339, San Francisco, CA 94145) or to Guide Dogs of America (13445 Glenoaks Blvd., Sylmar, CA 91342). Please note that the donation is “in memory of Donald Whitaker.”

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