Francis X. McCartin, long-time business manager of the Chicago Pipefitters Local 597 and one of the country's most prominent UA officials, died of cancer Sept. 29 in his Oak Lawn, Ill., home. He was 83.

Like his father before him, McCartin joined the pipe-fitting business and worked in commercial and industrial facilities. He began to crusade for fair wages and benefits for fellow pipe fitters after the Depression, and served Local 597 for 43 years.

After graduating from high school, McCartin enlisted in the Navy. He served as a master pipe fitter, planner and construction estimator on naval vessels based in Hawaii during World War II. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, he salvaged ships, including the U.S.S. Oklahoma and the U.S.S. Missouri.

During his time at the union, McCartin created a pension fund that now totals more than $800 million. He also created a health and welfare fund valued at $60 million.

"The strength of these funds were his pride and joy," said Jim Buchanan his successor.

In 1991, a pipe-fitting training facility was named in his honor. In 1993, he served as the grand marshal of the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Chicago. When he retired last year, more than 2,000 people came to his party, his son Edward said.

Survivors also include his wife of 61 years, Sis; two daughters, Kathleen McCartin and Janet Kightlinger; a sister, Eleanor Gray; and three granddaughters.