October 17, 1953 - December 30, 2020
Resident of Pleasant Hill, CA
"See you at Jack's, in Pleasant Hill, Friday at 3:00." We will all miss hearing those words. At the first table, on the booth side, in the self-seating area, is where your problems – big or small -- were contemplated and solved with Tom. This is where Tom did his best work forging relationships that will have a long-lasting impact around the Bay Area. Tom knew everyone. And Tom would listen and absorb. He didn't miss a single detail. And it was like he had some sort of matrix in his head that allowed him to sort through and categorize all those details so he could make the necessary connections that benefitted all. He had an especially soft spot for nonprofits.
Tom is survived by daughter, Teresa Guarino (Vince Pineda) of Alameda; granddaughter, Alyssa Rose; grandson, Valentino Guarino Pineda; and, sister, Marilu Marak of Eastdale, (Bob Marak); niece, Heather Ann (Stephen) and great- nephews Logan and Caleb; DonnaMarie Ferro, (mother to T.) and loyal companions, Mona and George Harrison Guarino (woof). Tom loved being a father and grandfather and couldn't stop bragging about his beloved family to anyone who would listen (and there were lots of us!).
Tom was born in Hollywood and raised in Covina, California and grew up an avid athlete and sports enthusiast. Tom was a gifted baseball player and at the age of 14, played on the Covina City League as well as for the first United States team to ever win the World Series and was inducted into the Pony League Hall of Fame. He went on to get his bachelor's degree from Cal Poly Pomona in behavioral science with a minor in communication and subsequently earned a certificate in organizational management from UCLA.
Guarino moved to Northern California in 1978 to take a job as news director for KCPO Radio in Quincy. For six years he directed news and hosted talk shows while also a full-time correspondent for the Sacramento Bee and freelancing news stories for the Associated Press, United Press International, Mutual Radio, and NBC Radio. His time in Plumas County proved beneficial. Guarino married DonnaMarie Ferro, director of disabled student services for Feather River College and two years later welcomed daughter Teresa Ferro Guarino, who the proud parents named after Mother Teresa. The family made the move to Paradise, California where Guarino accepted a position as the news director for KPAY radio in Chico. Guarino spent nine years as a radio journalist, he received a call from Assemblyman Chris Chandler asking Guarino if he knew anyone interested in a field position with the Yuba City Assemblyman's office. After some negotiating, Guarino accepted and became the "eyes and ears" of the assemblyman and kept him in close touch with local officials and community needs.
But it was when he began working for PG&E that Tom built lasting friendships and became an iconic Bay Area hero. Tom's job required him to build relationships with locally elected officials, community leaders and organizations, and to attend their events. However, Tom's philanthropy went beyond his job. Known for his Hawaiian shirt and Crocs, Tom never missed an event that supported the arts, parks, sports, foster youth, elders, and the list goes on. Tom was so incredible at his job, he could get people who weren't PG&E's number one fans to show up at PUC hearings and speak in support of PG&E. Tom rescued the NBA playoffs in 2015, which the Warriors went on to win, when the power went off the day before the game and had power restored in the home of a woman on hospice who was freezing and needed her electric blanket to work. Tom answered the call, no matter the time. And he wouldn't hesitate to call in favors when someone was in need. Tom didn't know the meaning of can't or no. Tom made things happen.
Tom had magic. He had a deep love of the underdog and support of those in need. He sprinkled the love – whether from the PG&E coffers, a friend's coffers, or his own, Tom ensured nonprofits were supported. But he loved more than nonprofits – he took in friends who were down on their luck and lifted them. He mentored others seeking work in government relations as well as supported friends and colleagues in pursuit of better jobs or higher elected office. He was everyone's go to when the power went out.
Tom was the most loyal friend a person (or dog) could have. If you needed a shoulder, a word, or a plotting partner, Tom was there. Cabo was his favorite place, where he traveled with friends every year. Tom was an ordained minister of the Mother Earth Church, officiating over more than 100 weddings. He even hosted private concerts with Tower of Power singer Lenny Williams. Tom brought the party and a heart of gold wherever he went.
There will be a massive chasm in our community for some time as we all navigate the profound loss of Tom. A man of depth, warmth, wicked humor, generosity and complexity. He touched the lives of so many people and will live through each of us in the connections he forged. Tom often quoted Woody Allen, "That life is 80% showing up."
We will best serve his memory by always showing up and always saying yes – and maybe by wearing a Hawaiian shirt from time to time. Godspeed!
"Celebrate Tom", a virtual celebration, will be held Saturday January 30, 2021 12-2 and can be accessed by visiting tinyurl.com/TomGuarino
For questions and inquiries please contact: email@example.com
or call (925)446-8136.
Cards and Flowers for the Guarino Family may be sent to:
Greer Family Mortuary
2694 Blanding Ave
Alameda, CA 94501 View the online memorial for Tom Guarino