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Union electrician William D. Hancock dies; was ‘hardest working man I ever met’

William D. Hancock Sr. | Provided photo/Terrence J. Hancock

Terrence J. Hancock, president of Teamsters Joint Council No. 25, remembers his father as a “no-nonsense” family man who spent much of his life working as a union tradesman and training electrical apprentices.

His dad, William D. Hancock Sr., died Tuesday from complications of congestive heart failure following a six-month battle with the disease. He was 84.

“My father was the hardest working man I ever met in my life. He worked to ensure that our family was safe and taken care of,” said Terrence J. Hancock, who went into union organizing after admiring his father’s work ethic.

The elder Hancock was a proud member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers No. 134 for 68 years, remaining active with the union after he ended his 44-year tenure with the Divane Brothers Electric Company in Franklin Park.

“He was a machine,” his son said. “He was proud to work there and I know they were proud to have him.”

He added: “He was certainly a man’s man.”

But Hancock Sr. also had a sensitive side that his family saw. He leaves behind his wife of 64 years, Margaret Mary, as well as five children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

William D. Hancock Sr. and his wife, Margaret Mary, on their wedding day. | Provided photo/Terrence J. Hancock
William D. Hancock Sr. and his wife, Margaret Mary, on their wedding day. | Provided photo/Terrence J. Hancock

Terrence Hancock called his father his “absolute hero.”

“I just want you to know about his incredible devotion to his family and his incredible love for his wife, and that he was always there for us for guidance and supported us in whatever decision we made in life,” he said.

Thomas W. Stiede, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Joint Council No. 25, which represents more than 100,000 workers in Illinois and Northwest Indiana, said Hancock Sr. is remembered as “a strong, devoted and loving husband and father.”

“As always, in proper Teamster fashion, we stand with the Hancock family in solidarity during this most difficult time to comfort them in their sorrow and uplift their spirits with exchanges about a truly humble and talented man that will forever be missed,” Stiede said in a statement.

A visitation will be held from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday at Salerno’s Rosedale Chapel at 450 W. Lake St. in Roselle. A final visitation will take place at 9 a.m. at the chapel followed by a procession to his funeral at 10 a.m. at St. Matthew’s Church at 1555 Glen Ellyn Rd. in Glendale Heights.

Contributing: Sam Kelly