By JEFF JOHNSON
(Feb. 6, 2017) — “If you believe in something, fight for it.”
This was one of the “Kennyisms” that his son, James, shared with us at the memorial service for his dad this past Saturday.
Of course, those who knew Kenny or those who didn’t know him well but were able to attend the memorial service learned that it was more than a saying but the way in which this fierce, fearless, and devoted family and union man lived his life.
Seattle Town Hall was filled to the rafters on Saturday as people from all over Washington and the country came to celebrate the life of Kenny McCormick. The love and respect for this man, this leader enveloped all of us in the hall.
Union leader Jose Rosado read a poem he had written for his dear friend. King County Executive Dow Constantine, King County Councilman Joe McDermott, and ATU 587 President Michael Shea spoke about Kenny’s passion for serving the members of ATU 587, but also for making Metro the best transit system it could be. Pastor Michael Baruso teased that since he had so often been on the receiving end of one of Kenny’s sermons, this time Kenny would have to listen to him.
On the program for the memorial, the McCormick family adapted a piece from Ralph Waldo Emerson that suits Kenny well:
“That man is a success who has lived well.
Laughed often and loved much.
Who gained the respect of intelligent men and women and the love of children.
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task.
Who leaves the world better than he found it.
Who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it.
Who looked for the best in others and gave them the best he had.”
Kenny, the labor movement will miss you. But we will continue to fight for all that we believe in.
Jeff Johnson is President of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the largest labor organization in the Evergreen State, representing the interests of more than 600 local unions and approximately 450,000 rank-and-file union members.