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Charles (Al) Nowlin

Charles (Al) Nowlin, a resident of the rural Ludlow/Braymer Missouri area, (and formerly of Kansas City) passed away Monday, April 24, 2023.

Al was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to Charles & Sybil (McDaniel) Nowlin on February 16, 1955. He was a graduate of Truman High school in Independence, Missouri, and the George Meany Institute of Labor Studies in Silver Springs, Maryland.

Al began his career as a Locomotive Fireman and then Locomotive Engineer for Missouri Pacific Railroad. He continued as Locomotive Engineer with Union Pacific Railroad. Al was proud of his job as an engineer but his true passions were his love for his family and his union.

He saw the United Transportation Union as integral to the provision, support and well-being of his home. Al believed in the brotherhood, the benefits, and the dignity that a union provided for working men and women.

Al began advocating for his union members in 1977, winning election as UTU Local Chairman for Kansas City, Missouri, Local 349. He was re-elected every term for the next 30 years. He was also elected UTU  Legislative Representative and served many terms; advocating for candidates and legislation that  benefited and supported the working men and women of this country, whether they belonged to a  union or not.

In 2007, Al was elected General Chairman for UTU GO-569 (later SMART TD) covering 9 states. He was re-elected 3 terms serving 12 years, prior to retirement. During this time he also served as Chairman of the Western General Chairman’s Association. In addition, he also served as a member of the Board representing Rail Labor for Union Pacific Railroad Hospital Association Insurance.

Al dedicated his life to his union brothers and sisters. The railroad fires as a form of discipline. An employee can be fired days, weeks, months, even years, losing their income and medical benefits.  Many men and women got their jobs back because of Al. They were able to care for their families, because of Al. Safety issues and hard fought labor agreements were upheld because of Al. The same could be said for any other dedicated labor representative.

During the economic downturn after 2008, the railroad was preparing to furlough employees. Al negotiated an agreement that if the members in his district could commit to working just enough days to cover their insurance expenses, the railroad would maintain their seniority and medical benefits.  Babies were born, cancer treatments started and surgery expenses were covered for furloughed employees, because of Al. He was a dedicated union man.

Al’s other passion was his family. He and his wife met on an airplane in 1975, married on October 18th, and spent the next 48 years together. He was for her, “her one true love.”

They rejoiced in the birth of their children; daughter Elaina and son Charles (Jason). Al enjoyed taking them on trips to the Badlands of South Dakota, Rocky Mountain National Park, Canada, Washington DC, Lake of the Ozarks and the family farm. He loved having his family with him around a table sharing a great meal. He was proud of the man and the woman that his children grew up to be. He was also proud of his son-in-law, Jeff. His grandchildren were the delight of his heart. No child, including the adults left his house without a big bear hug and hearing that he loved them.

Al was 6 feet 5inches tall and his heart was bigger than he was. He had a core spine of integrity, hard work, caring generosity and a playful spirit. In addition, in honor of our mothers, once in a while an elderly lady sitting alone in a restaurant had her meal anonymously paid for by big Al.

He is survived by his wife of 47 ½ years, Phyllis (McKee) Nowlin; daughter, Elaina Cochran (Jeff) and their children, Saphira, Airesa, and Addao; son, Charles (Jason) Nowlin and his son Charles Finley; one  brother, Danny Nowlin (Cheryl) their children Erica and Bret and several nieces, nephews and cousins.  He was preceded in death by his parents, Harris and Sybil Nowlin and two infant brothers.

A memorial service will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, 7110 North Route 9, Kansas City, Missouri 64152, on Monday, May 15, 2023, at 6:30 p.m. A scheduled visitation will be held at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer, Kansas City, Missouri, on Monday, May 15, 2023, one hour prior to the service at 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. There will be a reception at the church following the memorial service. A celebration of life will be held at the Ludlow Community Church, Ludlow, Missouri, on Sunday, May 21, 2023, at 2:00 p.m. A private family inurnment will be held at Old Lamine Cemetery, Lamine, Missouri. In lieu of flowers the family asks for donations to the SMART – TD Pac, dedicated to protecting the working families of this country, and may be left at or mailed to Lindley Funeral Home, P.O. Box 47, Chillicothe, Missouri 64601. Online condolences may be made at www.lindleyfuneralhomes.com.

Arrangements are under the direction of Lindley Funeral Home, Chillicothe, Missouri.

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