We mourn the passing of Brother John Sorensen, who was 81 years old. He had been a Local 569 and IBEW member for over 54 years.
During his very long career with the IBEW, John began as an Apprentice Wireman at Local 447 (El Centro), graduated to Journeyman Inside Wireman, and then proved his leadership and organizational qualities throughout his career. Before Local 447 was amalgamated into Local 569 in 1980, John had already “served on the board, was chairman, and also served as the [Loc. 447] President for two terms”.
Following amalgamation, John continued to work steadily; it didn’t matter to him if the contractors were in Imperial Valley or San Diego counties. His contractors included: Bob Van Der Linden, Supreme Electric (4 separate dispatches), Southern Contracting, Bechtel GPMA, H.P. Foley, Dravo, Morrow-Meadows, Newbery, Owl Dynalectric (which later became Dynalectric), SoCal Electric, and Fuller Electric. By the early to mid-90s, he was hired as a Foreman for two successive contractors. Brother Sorensen also taught apprentice classes at the Joint Apprenticeship Training Center (JATC) and was a member of the Apprenticeship Committee.
By late 1996, John was tapped to become a Local 569 Business Rep. He spent a short time in the San Diego office, but where his services were really needed was in Imperial Valley. Due to limited Local funds at the time, John began as a part-time rep. Having grown up in Brawley, and then in the city/town of Imperial, and the fact that John had already “worked for most of the electrical shops before they went non-union”, he was ideally situated and experienced to become Local 569’s first business rep in Imperial Valley. In fact, there were only two Union shops at the time of amalgamation. John was not only fiercely motivated to bring the former Union electrical shops back to the Union; he was also willing to step-aside when our Local had enough funds to hire a full-time rep.
Brother Sorensen was the epitome of an upbeat attitude. Whenever he would come into our office, or even called the office, that ever-present optimism was evident. Add that optimism to an encouraging yet assertive mindset of organizing non-union shops; that becomes a winning combination. John’s experience, knowledge, and optimistic attitude have influenced those who either had the pleasure of working with or were taught by him. Even after he retired from the trade, he continued to serve others.
John and his wife moved to Arizona and found themselves in proximity to Local 518 in Globe. He was instrumental in helping to organize electrical shops in that jurisdiction for many years. In fact, Seventh District Organizing Coordinator Robert Sample credited Brother Sorensen for teaching him the methods of how to be the best organizer and representative of the trade.
This GoFundMe campaign was set up by Brother Robert Sample and Bus. Mgr. Mark Marcanti (Loc. 518 – Globe, AZ). All funds will assist John’s widow, Theresa, as she transitions to life without John: https://www.freefunder.com/campaign/john-sorensen-memorial.