Arthur Carl Viat, Jr. Reunited in heaven with his beautiful wife, Marijane, on February 2, 2013.
Born on October 30, 1925 in Ft. Wayne, IN, Art hit the ground running. His first job was as a milk delivery boy, thus beginning his lifelong preference of warm weather over cold. Honorably discharged from the Navy in 1942, Art next joined the Merchant Marines, moved to San Francisco and travelled throughout the islands of the South Pacific. His family joined him here in the 50's when his father, Arthur Carl Viat, Sr., a Regional Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Detroit, was appointed to run the West Coast division.
After a stint as a San Francisco cab driver, in 1955, Art became a member of the IUOE, Local 39 Stationary Engineers at Hamm's Brewery. Coming from a strong family background in the labor movement, Art truly found his passion with the Stationary Engineers. He spent his career helping improve the lives of his membership, friends and family. Art was elected Business Manager of Local 39 in 1965, a position he held until his retirement in 2001. He was elected IUOE International Vice President in 1992, served as an IUOE Trustee and was active on many related boards and committees.
Art was as comfortable walking a picket line with his members as he was in the halls and conference rooms of their employers. Whether negotiating with high ranking officials of the buildings, hotels, hospitals and other industries represented by Local 39 in and around Northern California and Northern Nevada or interacting with political movers and shakers like Jerry Brown, Dianne Feinstein, Willie Brown, and Milton Marks, Art thought nothing of the challenges they brought forth. One of Art 's favorite quotes was, 'There are no problems, just unsolved opportunities'. It is with this attitude that he was able to grow the local from 3,000 members to over 12,000 during his 36 years in office.
When he wasn't busy working, Art spent his free time pursuing his other passions. He and his first wife, Jeanne, were 'hot rod' owners and racers of super modified stock cars, filling their home with trophies, awards and countless stories of their pursuits in the pits and around the tracks. Art and his second wife, Marijane, loved travelling and sailing, often combining the two with trips to locations around the globe. They opened their home to many, entertaining frequently and regularly hosting foreign exchange students, family and friends from near and far. Whether in his working life or in his personal life, Art was always willing to lend a hand, to extend a hand, and to give a hand. Rarely, if ever, was a favor asked not granted, to any who inquired.
Art is preceded in death by his wives, Jeanne Hartman Viat and Marijane Clark Viat, his children, Vincent ('Butch') Viat and Kelly Frey, and his sister Betty Jane Ryan. He is survived by his great aunt, Helen Ann Federspiel, stepchildren, Natalie (John) Coon, Loretta Chopey and Adam (Stephanie) Reader. Art is also survived by his grandchildren, Shelley (Chris) Gendusa, Troy (Isabel) Viat, Joshua Gomes, Sierra (Chet) Bruhn, Dylan and Skylar Reader, great grandchildren, Sara Jane Jurmanovich, Julia and Tommy Viat, and a large and loving extended family.
Art's legacy will live on through his nephew, Kary Gladieux, great nephew, Jeff Gladieux, stepdaughter, Loretta Chopey and countless others who followed him into the trade and who share his love and commitment to the IUOE and the labor movement.
Visitation will be held from 1-3 pm Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at Green Valley Mortuary, 3004 Alexandrite Drive, Rescue, CA. Art's life will be celebrated from 1-5 pm on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at Bel Marin Keys Community Center, 4 Montego Key, Novato, CA.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the
, or your local Hospice provider.