Tom Berryhill was sworn in as Stanislaus County Supervisor on Jan. 9, 2019. Saturday, Aug. 29, he passed away suddenly, leaving his family and elected colleagues with heavy hearts.
After serving 12 years in the state legislature, Berryhill was elected to the District 4 Board of Supervisors seat in November 2018. As a small businessman and a fourth-generation California farmer, he built his career on a legacy of hard work and determination.
“Tom Berryhill has been a dedicated servant his entire life,” said Supervisor Vito Chiesa upon hearing the sad news. “Both in Stanislaus County and at the State level, Berryhill lived to serve. My heart goes out to his wife Loretta and the family at this difficult time.”
During his state legislative tenure, he served on the Utilities and Commerce Committee, Parks Committee, and the Water and Wildlife Committees. He also served as Vice Chair of the Agriculture Committee, Government Organizations, Human Services and Senate Rules Committees.
As a Stanislaus County Supervisor, Berryhill’s committee service included Capital Facilities, City-County 10th Street JPA Commissions, Commission on Aging, Solid Waste-to-Energy Executive Committee and Financing Agency, service on the Stanislaus County Workforce Development Board and the Tuolumne River Regional Park Committee.
“I was blessed to know Tom as a colleague and a friend and to serve with him in both the Legislature and on the County Board of Supervisors. Throughout his career, he was a staunch advocate for agriculture and water, and his leadership will be missed across the State. Tom had an infectious laugh and was beloved by Republicans and Democrats alike. He had a way of bringing people together – from the highest levels of government to the grassroots neighborhoods and farmland of the Central Valley,” said Stanislaus County Board Chairwoman, Kristin Olsen. “Tom was dedicated to serving his community right up until the end, having participated in a seven-hour board meeting just days before his passing. I will miss him, and my heartfelt condolences go to his wife Loretta and daughters Sam and Jessica.”
Having raised his family in this community, Berryhill has been a strong supporter of the California public school system and state universities. He attended California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and returned to the region determined to work at improving the community for his family and future generations.
“I have known Tom Berryhill and his family for 40 years and am saddened by his passing,” said Supervisor Jim DeMartini. “Tom was a good friend, a fiscal conservative and an advocate for agriculture. I enjoyed working with him the past two years and extend my condolences to his wife Loretta, his children, and all the Berryhill family.”
Supervisor Terry Withrow added, “It has been an honor and a privilege to work alongside Tom as a County Supervisor. His heart and passion to serve our community was unmatched. I watched with awe, in spite of his recent physical limitations, a man dedicated and determined to still fulfill his duties. We are all going to really miss him.”