Claude J. Farinha
Claude J. Farinha, 87, of Gold River, California passed away Tuesday, September 18, 2012 after a long struggle with Parkinson's and Lewy Body Dementia.
He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Shirley; his daughters, Jana, Lori and Sheri; and grandchildren, Nicole, Geoffrey, Brent, Trevor, Ryan and Alexandra. Also surviving are his sister Emily and brother Aldo, in addition to numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Claude was born in Lincoln, California to John and Mary Farinha, recently emigrated from Madeira, Portugal. He grew up on a ranch outside of Lincoln, California, the 3rd of four children. Portuguese was his first language but he mastered English early in grade school. He was the first of his family to attend college. He studied first at California State University, Chico and then graduated from University of California, Berkeley where he earned his first Master's degree.
Claude began his stellar career with the United States Air Force in 1951 rising through the civilian ranks to Senior Executive Service at McClellan Air Force Base. During those years he steadily accumulated distinctions including his selection for the Sloan Fellowship Program in 1960 to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earning a second Master's Degree in Management Theory.
During his long career he received numerous awards for his innovative leadership. For his achievement in saving the taxpayer millions of dollars, he ultimately received the Distinguished Executive Rank award from President Carter in 1980, the highest recognition the federal government can bestow on a civil servant. He was the first civilian in the Air Force Logistics Command to receive such an honor.
Claude retired from federal service in 1986 and became active in the Sacramento Community. He was elected as a trustee for the Los Rios Community College District in 1981, served on the Governing Board of the Sacramento Employment Agency, and as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Eskaton Corporation. In 1997, he was permanently honored for his spectacular contributions to the local Sacramento military environment, being approved as the namesake of Sacramento Chapter 116 of the Air Force Association. The charter was revised and the organization renamed the "Claude Farinha Gold Rush Chapter 116." Each of us who knew Claude has special memories of an incredible individual. His sunny disposition, impeccable manners and lifelong love of learning was with him to the end. He touched the lives of everyone he met. Claude will be sorely missed by the community he loved and by his entire beloved family.
The Memorial Service for Claude will occur on Monday 1 October, 10 am at Divine Savior Catholic Church, 9079 Greenback Ln, Orangevale, CA 95662 | (916) 989-7400.
The family requests donations to the organizations below in lieu of flowers: NorCal Services For Deaf And Hard of Hearing Attn: Sheri Farinha, CEO 4708 Roseville, Suite 111 North Highlands, CA 95660 Aerospace Museum of California Attn: MGen (Ret) Jim Hopp, Museum Director 3200 Freedom Park Dr McClellan, 95652.