An Interview With 332 Retiree Gary McDowell

Even though he retired in 2010, Gary McDowell has stayed deeply connected to the union that was a major part of his life from the time he transferred his IBEW card from Local 134 in Chicago to Local 332 in 1974. He has been serving as president of the Local 332 retirees’ club since 2011. 

“It’s a fun group,” Gary said. “We try to do as much as we can. We meet once a month on the second Wednesday at the union hall. I try to get different speakers to make it a little more interesting. We have a Christmas party every year, which happened on December 13, with a turkey dinner catered for us by a local restaurateur and a raffle. Everyone enjoys it.”

Gary’s long career began as a Navy electrician and took him through newspapers (the Chicago Tribune and the San Jose Mercury News) to the City of San Jose, where he was a maintenance electrician for 15 years, to several different contractors. Eventually he started teaching at the JATC (now ETASV). 

And he’s been making the most of his retirement, too. He, his wife, her son, and their children moved to Boulder Creek together, and he spends a lot of time getting around to see his many grandchildren and three great-grandkids, traveling around the state and country, and working on projects around the house. 

“The thing that helped out was the nice little retirement check each month,” he said. “The healthcare was a nice little perk too.”

Gary’s advice for active members: “You can’t always count on working every day. Put something aside for tomorrow. Create longevity. Get to work on time. Give it your best shot. Don’t count on the other guy to do it for you.” 

If you’d like to like to learn more about the 332 Retiree Club or attend the next meeting, reach out to Gary directly at The group is a lot of fun and keeps the brother– and sisterhood alive!

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