Obituary: Thomas J. Cavan, former Conrail General Chairman

Thomas J. Cavan, 87, former BLE General Chairman on Conrail, passed away on September 19.

He was born on Dec. 13, 1918, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., son of the late Thomas H. and Helen Doster Cavan. A 1936 graduate of Coughlin High School, he served in the Army during World War II as a radar operator in the Philippines, and worked for a time with the U.S. Postal Service.

Brother Cavan hired on with the former Lehigh Valley Railroad on Sept. 30, 1941 in Wilkes-Barre. He served as a fireman on the last steam locomotive that came into Wilkes-Barre in the late 1950s.

He served the Brotherhood for many years and eventually won election to the office of General Chairman on the Lehigh Valley Railroad. With the formation of Conrail in 1976, Brother Cavan was elected as Seniority District "G" Chairman from 1976 to 1980. He later won election to the office of Conrail General Chairman in 1980 and held the office until his retirement in 1983.

"He served the membership of Conrail during some of the toughest times of the merger era and separation of the passenger committees," said W.A. Thompson, 2nd Vice General Chairman of the Norfolk Southern-Southern Lines General Committee of Adjustment.

Brother Cavan was a former resident of South Wilkes-Barre, where he was a member of St. Therese's Church, Wilkes-Barre. He also belonged to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Anthracite Post 283, Kingston.

He was preceded in death by his wife, the former Kathleen Gannon; brothers, Donald, Girard and Robert Cavan.

Surviving are daughters, Cathy Jamiolkowski, Selinsgrove; Molly Lowe, Wilkes-Barre; granddaughters, Katie Lowe, Aileen Lowe and Jackie Lowe; sisters, Mary McGrew and Lorraine Loftus, both of Wilkes-Barre.

His funeral was held on September 23. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association, 71 N. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701, or the American Diabetes Association, 63 N. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701.



© 2006 Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen