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Retired Amtrak Vice General Chairman “Mac” McDowell, 1951-2021

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, January 26 — The BLET National Division sends deepest condolences to the family and friends of Brother Craig A. “Mac” McDowell, who lost his battle with cancer on January 21, 2021. Brother McDowell faithfully served the BLET membership for many years as Vice General Chairman of the Amtrak General Committee of Adjustment. He was 69 years old.

Brother McDowell’s 37-year railroad career began in September of 1974, when he hired out with the Burlington Northern as a track gang welder’s helper in Grand Island, Nebraska. He was accepted into the locomotive engineers’ training program in Lincoln, Nebraska, in July of 1976 and earned promotion to the craft in August of 1977. When Amtrak assumed employment of train and engine crews in June of 1988, Brother McDowell was called for an engineer’s job in Zone 11 in Salt Lake City, Utah. In November of that year he transferred to Denver, Colo., where he worked until retirement. He safely completed his Last Run on December 30, 2011, working as the locomotive engineer of Amtrak’s California Zephyr from Grand Junction to Denver.

Brother McDowell first joined the Brotherhood on July 1, 1977, as a member of Division 98 (Lincoln, Neb.). He transferred to Division 940 (Denver, Colo.) and Division 349 (Salt Lake City, Utah) before becoming a member of Division 47 (Denver, Colo.) in November of 1988.

Mac was elected Local Chairman of Division 47 in March of 1989, and Western Regional Chairman in January of 1993. Under the wing of the late Ronald E. Wiggins, former Amtrak General Chairman, Brother McDowell was groomed for the Vice General Chairman’s position. He was elected to that office in May of 1998, at Amtrak’s 5th General Committee of Adjustment meeting in Atlantic City, N.J. Brother McDowell was subsequently reelected by acclamation to the VGC position at the GCA’s 6th, 7th and 8th meetings.

As part of his duties as Vice General Chairman, Brother McDowell wrote arbitration briefs, and was involved in hundreds of cases over the years, fighting to preserve and protect the jobs of countless BLET members.

Amtrak General Chairman Mark B. Kenny said: “Mac was the bedrock on which the Amtrak General Committee was founded and built since the creation of the national system in the mid-1980s. He was thoroughly dedicated, in every way possible, to his beloved Division 47 and every member of the Amtrak GCA, and tireless in his commitment as a BLET officer. He leaves behind an enduring legacy of what it truly means to be a ‘good and thoroughly reliable brother’ and friend.”

“Brother McDowell was an exemplary leader who helped protect the jobs of countless BLET members during his decades of service to our Brotherhood,” BLET National President Dennis R. Pierce said. “On behalf of the BLET National Division, I extend our most heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Brother McDowell.”

Details regarding funeral services or a celebration of life have not been finalized due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

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