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Sylvester Kelley, battled utility over benefits, dies at 87
by Tribune Staff
Jun 20, 2011 | 2780 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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Sylvester Kelley played a leading role in the fight to preserve retiree medical benefits at utility NV Energy. Kelley died June 13 at age 87.
Courtesy Photo Sylvester Kelley played a leading role in the fight to preserve retiree medical benefits at utility NV Energy. Kelley died June 13 at age 87.
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CARSON CITY — Sylvester Kelley, who played a leading role in the fight to preserve retiree medical benefits at NV Energy, died on June 13. He was 87.

According to report last week by Tribune columnist Andrew Barbano, Kelley was a decorated World War II veteran who devoted his working life to Sierra Pacific Power and after retirement fought the company to defend medical benefits for all retirees.

A celebration of his life was held on Saturday at the Little Baptist Church in Silver Springs. A military memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. today at the Northern Nevada Veterans Memorial Cemetery, 14 Veterans Way in Fernley. Anyone is welcome to attend.

Kelley was a 63-year member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1245/AFL-CIO.

He returned from World War II with a Purple Heart and a finger mangled by German shrapnel. When he sought work at NV Energy predecessor Sierra Pacific Power, the company wouldn’t hire him because his bent finger wouldn’t fit into a company safety glove.

Kelley had the finger amputated in order to go to work for the utility and went on to become a highly respected foreman, troubleman and a leader in IBEW Local 1245’s Reno unit in the 1950s.

Last year, Kelley became heavily involved in the union’s campaign to defend retiree medical benefits at the statewide utility. He was featured in full-page newspapers ads as well as 60-second television spots that told his compelling story of service and sacrifice.

Over the next several days, Local 1245 will feature its 2010 interview with Brother Kelley in six video installments in its online media library.

Local 1245 has represented workers at NV Energy since 1945. Overall, the union represents roughly 20,000 energy workers in Nevada and California.

Anyone wanting to share personal remembrances can send them to barbano@frontpage.reno.nv.us. They will be permanently posted at NevadaLabor.com.
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