Thomas Morgan Aldrich died peacefully in his sleep at the age of 90 years on October 24, 2013.
Tom, the son of Edison Addison Aldrich and Clara Elizabeth Courtney, was born on January 29, 1923 in Portland, Oregon. Tom spent his youth in Oregon and Idaho until he entered Berkeley High School, Berkeley, CA, as a senior in 1940.
Tom entered the University of California Berkeley in 1941 and was drafted into the U.S. Army on January 3, 1943. He was a combat infantryman serving in the European Theater of Operations where he was awarded the Bronze Star. Discharged in March 1946, he returned home and married Betty Lou Hoover. Tom entered the University of California Davis and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy in 1949. While a senior at UC Davis, Tom was inducted into the National Fraternity of Alpha Zeta for excellence in academic achievement.
In October 1949 he was offered a position in San Luis Obispo County as a farm advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension Service. During his stay there he was granted a sabbatical leave and received a Master's Degree from Colorado State University.
Tom transferred to Colusa, CA, in 1963 as County Director and Farm Advisor. In 1966 he founded the Orchard Equipment Show and its steering committee and leased the county fairgrounds to hold the three-day event. The event drew 82 exhibitors and 14,000 visitors. Because of the tremendous growth of this annual event, the show was turned over four years later to the 44th District Agricultural Association to sponsor.
On December 2, 1967, the Colusa County Chamber of Commerce awarded Tom the Citizen of the Year in recognition of exceptional service to the Citizens of Colusa County.
Tom was named in the will of Leslie J. Nickels to establish the Nickels' Field Laboratory on several hundred acres in the Arbuckle area. The purpose of the laboratory was to conduct experiments to enhance the production of almonds but not to duplicate similar experiments carried on by UC Davis. The laboratory is the largest of its kind in California.
In 1995 the Colusa County Farm Bureau presented Tom with the Floyd Myers Marsh Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award in recognition of his leadership in the Orchard Equipment Show (Colusa Farm Show) and the Nickels Field Laboratory.
Tom's interests in Colusa County were hunting, fishing and golf. He was a member of the Colusa Golf and Country Club, Rotary Service Club, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Sacramento Masonic Lodge No. 40, Colusa Masonic Lodge No. 140, Shriners International, Scottish Rite, and Colusa County Farm Bureau. He was also a trustee of the Colusa Trinity United Methodist Church, served on the Colusa County Fish and Game Advisory Committee, the City of Colusa Tree Commission, and was a Trustee for the Leslie J. Nickels' Estate.
Tom is survived by his wife of 28 years Rose Lee; his son Thomas William Aldrich; son-in-law Michael Minuth; stepsons Jim and Ron Dorris; four grandchildren, five great grandchildren, seven step-grandchildren, and 19 step great grandchildren.
Tom was preceded in death in 1982 by his first wife Betty Lou Aldrich and his daughter Susan Kay Minuth in 2012.
At Tom's request there will be no services. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Trinity United Methodist Church, PO Box 681, Colusa, CA 95932, or to Memorial Hospice of Santa Rosa, 439 College Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401.
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Published in Appeal Democrat from Oct. 26 to Oct. 27, 2013