Thomas V. Berne
1936 - 2017
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Dr. Thomas Van Cleave Berne M.D. passed away peacefully on Friday, October 27, 2017 at the age of 81. He was in good health until the end.

Tom was born on April 8, 1936, in Los Angeles, California, to Clarence J. Berne, M.D., and Esther Van Cleave Berne, Ph.D. He met his wife Cynthia in high school, proposed on the bank of the Seine in Paris, and they were happily married for 60 years. He loved to spend time with his children, Susan, Katie, and John, and his grandchildren.

Like his father, Tom dedicated his life to surgery: teaching, patient care, and research. After completing undergraduate studies at Pomona College and USC, he graduated from USC Medical School in 1960 and then completed his surgical residency at the now Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center (LAC/USCMC). He served as a Fellow in renal transplantation at Guys Hospital in London from 1966 to 1967. Upon his return, Tom established a renal transplant program and performed the first kidney transplant operation at LAC/USCMC. He joined the faculty of USC in 1967, rising to the rank of tenured Professor, and was instrumental in establishing the LAC/USCMC Level 1 Trauma Center. He served on the staff of not only LAC/USCMC but also Good Samaritan Hospital and the USC Norris Cancer and University Hospitals. He served as president of several surgical societies, including the Pacific Coast Surgical and Western Surgical Associations, and was widely published. Through his mentorship, Tom inspired doctors now working throughout the world.

With Cynthia, Tom loved traveling and visiting friends all around the world. He also enjoyed scuba diving, skiing, and USC football. Tom (W6TAG) was a ham radio operator from the time he was a teenager, sharing that passion with his children, grandchildren, and friends. His interest in ham radio and public health and safety led him to coordinate disaster preparedness activities in Silver Lake and Royal Oaks.

Tom will be fondly remembered for his kindness, generosity of spirit, and love for his family and friends.

Donations in Tom’s memory may be made to “USC Development” with a note “for the Berne Professorship” and mailed to USC Development, 1975 Zonal Avenue, KAM 300, Los Angeles, CA 90033. Memories, photos, and messages to the family may be posted on

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, January 6, 2018, at the Louis B. Mayer Auditorium at the USC Health Sciences Campus. (For directions search Google for USC Health Sciences Campus Map.)

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Nov. 4, 2017.
Memorial service
11:00 AM
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16 entries
November 26, 2018
I am so very sorry to hear of Dr. Berne's passing. I worked for him at USC in the early 1990's and he was very kind to me, and always encouraging.

My sincere (belated) condolences. I will miss him.
Diane Clark Robinson
December 25, 2017
Ginny Kamano
November 11, 2017
We were so grateful that Tom came to see Guil when he was in the Burn Ward at the County. It was a great comfort to have his knowledge and sympathy.
Gwen Babcock
November 7, 2017
They say that those who come into the profession as healers are called to it by a higher power. Tom Berne exemplified this spirit with his colleagues, patients and staff at LAC + USC Medical Center. The patients and our community here will miss him dearly.
Rene Rothrock-Singleton
November 6, 2017
Dear Cynnie, Susie, Katie and John, Our hearts and love are with you at this sad time. Tom was a great man in every respect of the word and we were honoured to know and love him. We were so pleased to be able to see both of you in September and shocked to hear of Tom's death. He was full of life and will be greatly missed by everyone whose life was touched by him.
We will miss him always.
Love Tony, Sarah, Harry and Tom xxxx
November 6, 2017
A great man, teacher, educator, surgeon and friend.
Ron and Beverlie Latimer
Ronald Latimer
November 5, 2017
We saw Dr. Berne's obituary in the paper this week and wanted to send our condolences to the family. My family was friends with the Bernes when I was young and we lived in Silver Lake. It is so difficult to lose a parent or spouse and we send our deepest sympathy. Azar and Marylin Kattan
Azar Kattan
November 5, 2017
A great surgeon and a true gentleman. He was so kind to me when I was a new faculty member. I will miss him greatly.
Kathryn Anderson
November 5, 2017
Thank you Tom for your generosity and kindness, your contributions to the Silver Lake Community wii always be remembered. RIP.
Nadine Trujillo
November 5, 2017
I will miss you, Uncle. Thanks for all you did for me and so many others.
Sean Berne
November 5, 2017
Katie Ward
November 5, 2017
We love you, Dad. You'll always be in our hearts.
Katie Ward
November 4, 2017
Dear Cynthia and family,

Please accept our deep sympathy and fond memories of happy times with you all. I am reminded often of your hospitality; my recipe file contains several delicious items of your creation. We shared the custom of hosting Swiss visitors, and connections with Marlborough School, as well as USC (through the Williams family). It is wonderful and fitting that a Professorship will be established in Tom's name.
We send prayers and love.
Emily and Andy Maverick
Emily and Andrew Maverick
November 4, 2017
Tom was a steadfast member of Flintridge Class of ,53. Living in Arizona, I didn't get to see much of him over the years, but I was very impressed and gratified when he cane to Wally Dedrick's funeral in Palm Springs a few years ago as the only other member of the class of 53 beside myself. He was one of the very few classmates who attended both the 03 and 13 reunions as well. I can remember the '03 reunion best when you and he gave a party for classmates and their wives, and both Robby and I enjoyed seeing you in your home, with so many photos posted on walls, immensely. She too sends her condolences. Robby has physical problems that make travel difficult, but I will try to attend the funeral service. God bless you and bless Tom in the afterlife. Don Laidlaw
Donald Laidlaw
November 4, 2017
Don Laidlaw
November 3, 2017
Dear Cynthia and family I wish to offer you my sincere sympathy at the passing of Thomas our dear cousin. May the Lord God comfort you and your loved ones during this difficult time.
Liam Sharkey
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