LODI — A longtime Lodian with a history of service to civic, nonprofit and agricultural organizations will be honored by the county next month for his decades of commitment.
“There are a lot of other people more deserving,” Tom Stokes said with a laugh. “But I guess I’ll go along with all of it.”
Stokes is one of four to be inducted into the San Joaquin County Ag Hall of Fame next month as its Class of 2019.
He has long association with San Joaquin County agriculture, as his parents owned a dairy on Woodbridge Road in the 1950s.
The family purchased property on Ray Road soon afterward, where they farmed grapes and had a family supply store. The ranch is still being farmed today.
“We started out in custom hay work,” Stokes said. “But I was able to talk my dad into planting grapes. Now we have alfalfa, cherries and apples.”
In addition to farming, Stokes and his family have purchased real estate properties around the Lodi area, both residential and commercial, although he said he is not as active in that industry as he once was.
Nominations for the Ag Hall of Fame are given to the Stockton Chamber of Commerce from the entire San Joaquin County community.
The Hall’s selection committee then reviews each nomination based on three factors: success demonstrated in agriculture, contributions to agriculture and non-agricultural contributions to the community.
The committee, which consists of to Hall of Fame members, three members of the agricultural community and three Stockton Chamber board members, then chooses for living inductees and a posthumous inductee for the Hall.
Stokes said he thinks he might have been nominated and inducted into this year’s class for his charitable work and donations.
One of the donations he highlighted was the San Joaquin Hospice Building at 1300 West Lodi Ave. He has also donated office space to Lodi Regional Care Center.
Currently, Stokes supports several regional agricultural preservation and educational organizations, including the Lodi Chapter of the Hospice of San Joaquin Butterfly Auxiliary, the Lodi Boys & Girls Club and Lodi Memorial Hospital Foundation.
Stokes is currently a member of the San Joaquin County Farm Bureau and Lodi Rotary Club, as well as a San Joaquin County 4-H Foundation board member.
Over the years, Stokes spent 13 years on the Federal Land Bank board of directors and 15 years on the Thornton Fire Department board of directors.
He has also served on the East Side Winery Board, and has been a past member of the California Cattlemen’s Association, California Wool Growers Association, and the Thornton Chamber of Commerce.
Stokes still operates Stokes Farms on West Kile Road just outside Thornton, and his daughter Sharon serves as manager.
His two sons, Mike and Bill, operate Stokes Brothers Farms just a stone’s throw away.
Stokes will be inducted with Lucas Winery owner David Lucas, Sundance Kids Boer Goats owner Christina Schallberger and Everett Rankins of Tracy’s Rankins AG Incorporated,
The Hall’s posthumous award will go to Patrick “Pat” Connelly.
Now in its 35th year, the Ag Hall of Fame will honor the 2019 inductees on Oct. 17 at the Robert J. Cabral Ag Center, 2101 E. Earhart Ave, in Stockton.
The doors open at 5:30 p.m. and tickets are $45. For more information, visit http://stocktonchamber.org/ag-hall-of-fame.