Co-workers start fund for kids of slain union member

FREDERICKSON — Members of Machinists Union District Lodge 751 have set up a fund to aid the children of a union member who is believed to have been murdered.

The body of Leon Dwayne Baucham Jr. of Puyallup was found in July in wetlands alongside a road near Gig Harbor. The Pierce County Sheriff’s office reported that Baucham had been shot, and that they believe the body had been dumped there.

Two suspects – Baucham’s former mother-in-law and a man she’s accused of hiring – have been arrested and charged in connection with his death.

Baucham worked for the Boeing Co. at Frederickson, building 777 horizontal stabilizers. He was well-known and liked in the shop, said Patricia Roland, a Machinists Union member who worked with him.

After his death, his co-workers decided to set up the Leon Baucham Jr. Benevolent Account at BECU to collect donations for his children. The money will go into a trust fund for them.

Anyone wishing to donate to the fund can do so at any BECU branch.

“Whenever he’d talk about his kids, the man would glow,” Roland said.”He adored his children. We know he’d want them to be able to go to college, if they chose to. This is something we could do for him.”

Baucham “lived for his children and he lived for his family,” his mother, LaVonne Brown, told KIRO-TV.

“He had a good job,” she added. “He had a full life, he had an absolutely full life with people that loved him, a family that loved him.”

Originally formed in 1935 to represent hourly workers at Boeing, District Lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers now represents some 32,000 working men and women at 48 employers across Washington, Oregon and California. In 2011, members of the union’s Machinists Volunteer Program gave more than 10,000 hours of their time to community service, while other volunteers collected more than $263,000 for Guide Dogs of America, the union’s charity of choice.

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