By Alex Weber
Kim Edwin Craft was born on February 3, 1953, in the small river town of Clifton Forge, Virginia, and grew up adventuring around West Virginia.
He joined the U.S. Marine Corps at 17 and served four years in Vietnam. Kim met the love of his life, Opal, at a Shakey’s Pizza in 1973; they were married six months later and would give birth to a daughter and a son. Kim was honorably discharged from the service in 1974 with the rank of sergeant. He returned home and eventually moved to Los Angeles.
In July 1979 — after having spent time as a member of the Industrial Paper Workers Union and the Oil, Atomic, and Chemical Workers Union, as well as earning his associate’s degree in business management — Kim was sworn in as an apprentice at IBEW 11. He passed his wireman exam in March 1982 and quickly rose through the local’s ranks, working as a journeyman, steward, foreman, and general foreman.
As soon as he passed his wireman exam in 1982, Kim jumped head-first into life as a member of IBEW 11, taking on organizational responsibilities within the union wherever possible. He spent four years as Unit 2 recording secretary and five years as an apprentice instructor. In 1983, he earned his vocational teaching certificate from UCLA Extension and joined IBEW 11’s Apprentice Advisory Committee in 1986.
During this era, he was also appointed to the IBEW 11 Political Action Committee, in addition to serving on the Contract Negotiating Committee and attending multiple conventions. He was elected chairman of Unit 3 and served for three years, as well as being involved in numerous other roles at the union.
Kim was elected president of IBEW 11 in 1991. As the 1990s wore on, Kim found that he wanted to refocus on working in the field. So he took on the role of assistant business manager, and, by all accounts, enjoyed it greatly.
By 2015, Kim decided it was time to retire, although he stayed involved with IBEW 11, often appearing as an alternate or guest attendee at conventions. A few years later, he moved with Opal to Salmon, Idaho, and spent his time fishing, shooting pool, and laughing with friends.
He will be missed by his family and friends, and by so many of his colleagues at IBEW 11, where his granddaughter, Jordyn “Goose” Burnell, carries on his legacy as a CW.
“Kim Craft was absolutely dedicated to Local 11 and its betterment throughout his entire career and even into his retirement years,” said IBEW 11 President Rusty Roten, a longtime friend of Kim’s. “He loved this local dearly, and he gave so much to it. That cannot be overstated.”