Thomas John Gerrity, 61, passed on Dec. 2, 2020 unexpectedly and peacefully with his family by his side. He was born, one of eight children, to Robert Gerrity and Ann Gerrity on May 9, 1969 in San Bernardino.
When he was age 2, his family moved to Rapid City, S.D. By the age of 7, he learned all the skills required to grow up with seven siblings. These skills served him well when his family moved to Sacramento. Life on the playground in Sacramento was slightly different than Rapid City. At age 9, Tom and his brother Jim, age 7, saw a pocketknife at a hardware store. Neither had any money, so Tom pointed out all the work that they could do at the store in payment for the knife. The storeowner let them work. Tom learned quickly that life was better when he had money in his pocket. He started his paper route at age 9. From there, he grew fresh produce and sold it to local restaurants, washed dishes (briefly) at Little Joe’s restaurant in Sacramento. He did body work on cars with high school friends Richard Hardy and Pat Rake. If the cars were cool, they would take them for “test drives” to high school. Tom and Richard Hardy combined their money and hard work to buy their first flatbed truck at age 18. Hay hauling became Tom’s reason to get up at 4:00 every morning.
Tom met Allison Reed when he was delivering hay to her family’s feed store; they married in 1986. Tom was blessed with three children: Maxwell, Andrea, and TJ. He was so proud of each of them, and they made his chest swell with fatherly pride.
Tom bought his first 18-wheeler truck from Albert Raso in 1985, and Tom Gerrity Hay was born. Tom grew his business and provided for his family in the manner that his father provided for a family of 10. He started with one truck and eventually expanded to three trucks and three hay squeezes. As a small business owner, Tom had to do it all: hauling hay by day, taking phone calls and scheduling by night, and in the late hours doing the mechanic and maintenance work required to keep the equipment running. Tom made many lifelong friends with employees, farmers and customers. He was very grateful when TJ and Andrea started taking over more and more of the tasks required to keep the business running successfully. This gave him some much deserved free time.
Tom spent his free time bird hunting with his hunting buddies, playing beer league softball with the well-known Hay Dogs, and spending time with family. He loved spending time with his grandchildren, Carson and Claire Vanderheiden. They played baseball, rode bikes, watched Barbie’s Dreamhouse and enjoyed waffles with too much syrup and butter.
An avid Oakland Athletics and Raiders fan, Tom and Allison were on a quest to visit all of the baseball parks in America. During the off-season, they visited football stadiums. Some of Tom’s favorite trips were to the Florida stadiums with all of the kids, Cancun with his family, Washington, D.C., New York, a long meandering road trip to South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana. He especially loved the multiple fishing trips that he took to Alaska. In the last 10 years, he logged as many miles on road trips with Allison as he logged hauling hay. He was blessed to have a career that he loved so much that, on the way back from vacations, he could not wait to go back to work.
Tom’s closest companion for the last 15 years was his dog Annie. He never said it out loud, but the look he sometimes gave his family said, “Why don’t you love me like my dog does?”
Tom is survived by his wife, Allison; children, Maxwell (Danielle) Hardy, Andrea (Jason) Vanderheiden), TJ (Elizabeth) Gerrity; siblings Dorothy (Dick) Spangler, Laura Gerrity, Janice (Phil) Todisco, Jim (Sharon) Gerrity; grandchildren Carson and Claire Vanderheiden; and dozens of nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles; and the hundreds of relatives that he chose to marry into.
Thomas was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Ann Gerrity; sibling,s Nancy Gerrity, Kathleen Gerrity and Michael (Chris) Gerrity.
His family would like to thank the Liberty Fire Department, American Medical Response and the staff at Lodi Memorial Hospital for their dedicated care. We would especially like to thank the nurses for allowing us to be with him as he passed.
Thomas was taken from us too soon, but he had a well-lived life that made his parents proud, and he left us peacefully.