POLITICAL NEWS local headings

by Victor D. Torres

As we continue into the Fall season, unfortunately we continue to be hit with rather unpleasant circumstances.

We were recently informed that on September 6, 2018, one of our most tenured and beloved members, Ms. Barbara Smith, was taken away from us.

Sister Barbara Jean Smith worked at Ace Parking in the Special Events division predominately at the San Diego International Sports Arena and occasionally at San Diego Stadium.

Many of you may not be familiar with the old school terms “San Diego International Sports Arena” or “San Diego Stadium”, because in recent years these venues are referred to by their corporate sponsorship name plates “Valley View Casino Center” and “Qualcomm Stadium/San Diego County Credit Union Stadium”, respectively. However, when Barbara Smith became one of our Sisters in our Teamster family, these facilities were referred to by their original names as stated above.

In addition to Ace Parking, Barbara Smith worked for an array of Employers and Organizations throughout her career.

Barbara Smith graduated from Kelsey Jenny College with a degree in Business Administration and Accounting. She was also a trailblazer as evidenced by her becoming the first African-American woman in the state of California to receive her license to sell insurance. She was a Charter Member of the Soroptimist International South Cities Club where she served as Secretary. She was also a member of Toastmasters International.

Barbara was the last living original employee of Anderson-Ragsdale Mortuary where she was the mortuary’s makeup artist and hairstylist. She also served as the Office and Billing Supervisor for the Western Medical Center and as an Instructional Aide at Logan Elementary School.

Barbara also worked with the California Association of Compensatory Education (CACE) for the betterment of education and so many other good causes and groups, all about pitching in to make our world a better place.

Barbara attended the Logan Temple A.M.E. Zion Church where she served as a church missionary.

I recall the first time I met Sister Barbara Smith. This was at a special meeting at the Sports Arena to discuss various workplace issues. After inquiring as to what was going on at her workplace, Ms. Smith proceeded to explain, “…now let me tell you young man what’s going on here…”. From there Sister Smith gave me the run down on what was really going on in minute detail that were as precise as you could ever hope for. This attention to detail must have come from her accounting background because her facts and figures were to the penny and her details were described as if you were watching it on the big screen.

I was a bit overwhelmed by all this. Since this was my introduction to her for the first time, I wasn’t sure if the passion that was part of Barbara’s delivery was for some reason aimed at me for maybe the wrong reason or maybe we were getting started on the wrong foot.

My trepidation soon subsided as we continued to engage when I noticed a twinkle in her eye and a slight grin. I began to realize that since I was the new kid on the block, Barbara was checking me out to see if I was for real, it wasn’t anything else. From that day forward to her retirement and through the last time I saw her, we knew we respected each other, and our relationship reflected all that is good.

Barbara would also show up to meetings as a retiree to show support and pride for our organization. Belonging and getting involved was a significant part of her life. We were fortunate to have her part of our family. We have all benefitted from her contributions to the cause.

It is with the heaviest of hearts that we send our sincere condolences to Barbara’s children Brenda Smith-McElroy, Elaine D. Smith (who is also one of our Teamster Sisters at Ace Parking), Dwaine Smith Sr. and Sibert Smith. She is also survived by countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Thank you for sharing your Mother, Grandma and Great-Grandma with us. Please know that she will forever be missed, but never forgotten.

On behalf of the membership of Teamsters Local 481, thank you Sister Barbara Smith for being an important part of our family all these years.

Rest in peace.

In scholarship news, the 2018 Local 481 Scholarship Program is now closed. We will announce the scholarship recipients soon.

In additional scholarship news, the 2019 John S. Lyons Scholarship Program is now available. Interested applicants must be a high school senior enrolled in the San Diego or Imperial County school system, whose parent or legal guardian is a member in good standing of any local labor union. Students must have a 3.0 or better GPA and participate in community/extracurricular school activities. Contact Danielle Paukner at the San Diego Building Trades office (619) 521-2914 or our office for an application. Deadline to submit is January 25, 2019.

On behalf of the Officers and Staff of Teamsters Local 481, we wish you and your family an enjoyable and safe holiday season.


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