Robert Stanfill, 1923 – 2015

Longtime Plasterers Local 82 leader Bob Stanfill passed away Feb. 4 at the age of 91.

Robert StanfillStanfill served 16 years as executive secretary-treasurer of the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council. He retired from that post in 1984.

Stanfill began his labor union career in 1946 after World War II service in the U.S. Army Air Corps, (now the U.S. Air Force). He used his Federal GI Bill benefits to enroll in Local 82’s plastering apprenticeship program.

He was elected business agent and financial secretary of Plasterers Local 82 in April 1956. In that job he was instrumental in establishing a health and welfare plan, vacation plan, and pension plan for the membership. In 1959, he helped form the non-profit Plasterers and Lathers Administration Office, which still exists today.

During his career, Stanfill served as president of the Portland Building Trades Council (later renamed Columbia Pacific BCTC). He served as vice president of the Union Labor Retirement Association, which built the Westmoreland, Marshall and Kirkland Union Manors that provide affordable apartments for hundreds of retired workers. He also was among the hundreds of delegates to the 1956 merger convention in Portland that produced the Oregon AFL-CIO.

In the mid-1970s he was appointed by Gov. Bob Straub to the first State Building Codes Advisory Board. The board established a  uniform building code for all cities and counties in Oregon.

Stanfill was inducted into Labor’s Hall of Fame in February 2001. The Hall was a program of the now defunct Northwest Oregon Labor Retirees Council.

Robert Lester Stanfill was born on Nov. 26, 1923, in the Rose City and grew up in southeast Portland in a family of eight sons and one daughter. His father, Bill, worked as a union grain miller.

Stanfill is survived by his wife of 42 years, Pinky; children Barbara Hess, Cheryl  Hemmingsen, Karen Bilyeu, Jeff Woods, John Petty, Bob Petty, and Laura Abernathy; 16 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; and two more on the way. Hemmingsen is a member of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555;  Bilyeu is a member of Office and Professional Employees Local 11; and Woods is a member of Plumbers and Fitters Local 290.

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