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The Source for Public Transportation News and Analysis December 16, 2011
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In Memoriam: Saluting Public Transportation Professionals

Over the past year, the public transportation industry said goodbye to transit agency chief executives and board members, a past APTA chair, and a former APTA deputy executive vice president.

In chronological order of their deaths, here is how they were remembered in the pages of Passenger Transport.

Bertrand (Bert) Gagne, 78, co-founder and former chairman of TDG Transit Design Group Inc. in Mississauga, ON, died Oct. 6, 2010. Gagne worked in the rail industry for more than 40 years, remaining active following his retirement in 2005, providing contributions to many industry standards.

Patricia M. Nielsen, 62, vice president of paratransit services for Oahu Transit Services Inc. in Honolulu, HI, operator of TheHandi-Van, died Dec. 25, 2010. She also spent 20 years with the Tri-County Metropolitan Transportation District of Oregon, during which time she received awards from National Easter Seals Project ACTION and the National Transit Institute.

Lou Parsons, 76, APTA chair in 1991-92 and a two-term chair of GO Transit in Toronto, died Dec. 29, 2010. Parsons chaired the GO Transit Board of Directors from 1980 until 1993, appointed by the Ontario provincial government, and later served as president of Orion Bus Industries.

Cameron Beach, 62, a longtime employee of the Sacramento Regional Transit District (RT) who joined the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) Board of Directors in 2007, died March 18. Beach’s 44-year career in public transportation included 25 years with RT, where he served first as a consultant; he was named chief operating officer in 1991. In October in New Orleans, APTA honored Beach posthumously with its Local Distinguished Service Award, and SFMTA renamed the San Francisco Municipal Railway’s (Muni) Geneva Yard, home of the F Market & Wharves historic streetcar fleet, in his memory.

Joseph DiJohn, 67, professor of transportation at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) and the founding executive director of Pace Suburban Bus in Arlington Heights, IL, died March 19. He began his teaching career at UIC part-time in 1988 while working at Pace, becoming a full-time faculty member and researcher after retiring from the bus system in 1998.

James Barbour, 84, a 34-year board member of the San Joaquin Regional Transit District in Stockton, CA, died March 24. He chaired the board four different times, and received APTA’s Outstanding Public Transit Board Member Award in 2003.

Robert H. Glines, 70, a 40-year employee of General Railway Signal Company (now part of Alstom), died March 26. Following service in the U.S. Navy, Glines joined General Railway Signal in November 1962 as a commercial engineer and retired early in December of 2003. He served 22 years on the APTA Business Member Board of Governors.

Charles McGlashan, 49, vice chairman of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit Board of Directors, died March 27. He had served on the Marin County Board of Supervisors since 2005.

Doris Powell, 69, a board member and former chairwoman of the Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority Board of Directors, died April 13. She had served on the board since 2005.

James F. (Jim) Bender, 80, a public transportation professional for three decades, died April 21 in Pensacola, FL. Bender began his transit career in Pittsburgh with the Port Authority of Allegheny County and joined the former American Transit Corporation in 1972 as a marketing specialist, eventually becoming regional vice president. He also operated his own consulting services company, JFB Enterprises.

Robert W. Batchelder, 66, of Chula Vista, CA, a 15-year employee of APTA who retired in 1996 as chief counsel and deputy executive vice president-government affairs, died Aug. 12. Batchelder joined APTA in 1981 as staff counsel and was promoted in 1983 to chief counsel and executive director-management services before assuming his final position.





Bertrand Gagne

Patricia M. Nielsen 

Lou Parsons

Cameron Beach 







Joseph DiJohn

James Barbour

Robert H. Glines 

Charles McGlashan 

Robert W. Batchelder

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