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Junior L. Via

Junior L. Via ’55, 86, passed away on Sunday, May 7, 2023 at his home. He was the husband of Elizabeth Via.

Born Junior Lee Via January 13, 1937 in Middletown, PA. Junior Lee Via passed away Sunday May 7th 3:47 am at his residence surrounded by his family. Surviving him are his wife of 60 years Elizabeth, sons Erik and Kevin. Brothers Charles Richard Via and Raymond Via. He is preceded by his parents Beula May Garrison Via and Russell Via and siblings John, James, Jake, and Patricia. Lee was devoted to his extended family and friends and will be dearly missed by all.

Entered Milton Hershey School April 6, 1946 and graduated in June of 1955. While attending MHS he wrestled his junior and senior year. As a senior he won the national prep school championships at Lehigh in the 136lb class. Following graduation Lee worked as a cake decorator at Shearer’s Bakery Hershey, PA. His trade at MHS. He began working Shirk’s motor express October 1955 as a dock jockey, city over the road truck driver, dock supervisor and dispatcher.

Lee was drafted by the U.S. Army in 1960 and proudly served as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division-Screaming Eagles until 1962. After serving he went back to Yellow Freight and was elected president of Teamsters Local 771 Lancaster, PA in 1972. He was an integral part in the American Labor Movement. In 1975 he was elected secretary treasurer (principal officer). Later becoming trustee of Joint Council, Philadelphia, PA. Then secretary treasurer of joint council, 53 covering Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey and Delaware. Along with John Morris (Philadelphia) and James Berros (Western PA) formed the PA Conference of Teamsters becoming its first secretary treasurer. He was also a chairman of the Eastern Conference of Teamsters Freight, covering the east coast. A member of the I.B.T. National Negotiation Committee appointed by Gov. Thornburg to the PA Training Council. Appointed by Gov. Casey to the Motor Carriers Board. Lee retired in December 1996 after 41 years in the union.

At 60, following retirement he became strength coach of Middletown High School (Wrestling) under head coach Mike Nauman and coach Griffin. Lee trained with weights and worked out to stay fit his whole life into his 80’s. He was awarded the service plaque from Lancaster-Lebanon County Coaches Association. Graveside services will be private per family request. Arrangements have been entrusted with Miller-Finkenbinder Funeral Home.

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