Local 2 New York/Vermont Veteran Survived Pearl Harbor
ixty-seven-year BAC member and Army veteran Charles Sontheimer says perseverance and his feet are partly responsible for the tour of duty that placed him at Pearl Harbor just months before the deadly attack that ushered the United States into WWII. The Troy, New York native and member of Local 2 NY/VT, age 90, first tried to enlist with the Marines in early 1941. After being rejected for flat feet, he went to the Navy. Rejected again for the same reason, he tried the Army. “Finally they took me!” he says. Brother Sontheimer says he asked to be stationed in Hawaii because he thought it was farthest away from his hometown. Had he been more knowledgeable about geography, he says he probably would
have ended up in the Philippines, which is 3,400 miles further than the Aloha State. Charlie survived the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941, “a day that will live in infamy,” and served until September 1945. His principal duties included training new draftees on becoming proficient at hand-to-hand combat, and, as a gunner, using an 8-inch gun that coincidentally was manufactured just a stone’s throw from where he grew up, at the historic U.S. Army Watervliet Arsenal. After the war, Brother Sontheimer joined then-Local 10 NY in Troy, and went on to enjoy a successful masonry and Union career during which he worked with the tools as a bricklayer, followed by many years as a highly respected Local officer and leader.
Pictured here outside the Troy, NY Veterans Memorial in January 2013 are Paul Marcoux and Local 2 NY/VT members retired officer and Field Representative Sal Mauriello, retired officer Charles Sontheimer, Field Representative Mike Suprenant, retired reservist Lou Manico, and BAC Northeast Regional Director Al Catalano.
Local 3 California Life Member Manny Sears
hen retired Local 3 CA Field Representative Manny Sears’ last term as Vice Chair of Local 3 drew to a close in February, it capped more than 50 years of dedicated union service.
Brother Sears’ formal union service dates all the way back to 1960, when as an official of the then Tile Marble Finishers & Shopmen Local 7 CA, he led a strike “for a mere two cents, which established the tile finishers pension fund,” Retired Local 3 CA says Sears. Sears Field Representative helped spearManny Sears. head his local’s affiliation with former BAC Local 19 CA, then became a Business Agent for the finishers. He served many terms as a trustee for the Local’s apprenticeship and training and pension funds, and takes special pride in his efforts to reduce the tile finishers retirement age from 65 to 60. He also
proudly served as a delegate to “many International Union Conventions for the tile, marble, and shop workers and terrazzo finishers.”
In Brother Sears’ own words, “I have spent a lifetime dedicated to the union cause, and my wife Beatrice stood with me through all the battles.”
Local 5 Pennsylvania Retiree Breakfast
Local 5 PA Harrisburg Chapter hosted a retiree breakfast last fall. Attendees in the first row from left, Istvan Palotai, John Fetterhoff, and Merlin Hoch; second row from left, Bill Hoch, Jim Bixler, Don McCrone, Paul Peters, Wayne Stoner, and Jim Kramer; third row from left, Clair Koppenhaver, Harold Herman, Gene Lyter, Dean Jones, Joe Wida, George Bittinger, and Carl Pletz; back row from left, Dick Schaar, Andy Peters, Bruce McCrone, Gene Smith, Jack Stoll, Lamar Reitz, and Paul Keener. Not pictured, Local 5 President Lester Kauffman.
| b ric kl aye rs and a lli ed cra f t work e r s
bricklayers union and allied craftworkers