Jack W. McCorkle Sr., 80, officer for union of electrical workers

May 16, 2002|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

Jack W. McCorkle Sr., who rose from journeyman wireman to become business manager of Local 24 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Baltimore, died Sunday of congestive heart failure at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis. He was 80.

Mr. McCorkle, formerly of Severn and an Odenton resident since 1994, was born in McKeesport, Pa.

Raised in Elizabeth, Pa., where he graduated from high school, he attended Athens State University in Athens, Ala., for a year, before enlisting in the Navy in late 1941.

An aviation mechanic and tail gunner, Mr. McCorkle served in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, until being discharged as a petty officer in 1945.

Returning to civilian life, Mr. McCorkle went to work as a journeyman electrician in Mississippi. He returned to Pittsburgh, where he worked until moving to Baltimore in 1961, when Local 24 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers was established.

Mr. McCorkle held various offices within the local until 1968, when he was elected business manager, a position he held until retiring in 1988.

"He was one of those guys for whom the union always came first, then his family, even though he loved his family dearly," said Frederick J. Bachman, a son-in-law who lives in Pasadena, and is also a member and training director for IBEW Local 24. "He would never let the union or its members down. He was well-respected, made friends easily, and always won union elections hands down."

During his tenure as business manager, Mr. McCorkle's accomplishments included the establishment of the union's first pension fund in 1971, the construction of its headquarters building in the 2700 block of W. Patapsco Ave. in 1973, and creation of a severance-and-annuity fund in 1976.

After his retirement from the union, he began a second career as a benefits administrator for the union's fringe benefit funds, working for Administrators Inc. in Cherry Hill from 1988 until 1991. The funds' management was taken over that year by Eugene & Eugene Associates in Northeast Baltimore, from which Mr. McCorkle retired in 1993.

"Jack was a gentleman and very compassionate and fair to the participants of the plans," said Joseph R. Swann, president of Eugene & Eugene Associates, a third-party benefit administrator that specializes in union benefit plans. "He brought a wealth of experience into the position because he had been in the trades and, when he was gatekeeper, had a better understanding of the impact of its various decisions on the members."

Mr. McCorkle served as vice president of the Baltimore Building and Construction Trades Council AFL-CIO, vice president of the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, and president of the West Virginia and Borderline States Electrical Workers Association.

He also held positions with the Maryland State Electrical Workers Association, the State of Maryland Electrical Board and various committees of the IBEW's international.

Mr. McCorkle was an avid golfer and a member of Glen Burnie United Methodist Church.

His marriage to the former Verna Jo Griffin ended in divorce.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. today at Loudon Park Funeral Home, 3620 Wilkens Ave.

Mr. McCorkle is survived by his wife of 30 years, the former Carolyn Wheatley; a son, Jack W. McCorkle Jr. of Annandale, Va.; three daughters, Peggy Fisher of Frederick, Jodie Bachman of Pasadena and Vickie Kopek of Stevensville; six grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

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