Tom Stemnock, Retiree from Public Works/Engineering and Planning, passed away Oct. 2 after a six-year battle with renal cancer. He had been First Vice President and a Board Member of the Retired Los Angeles City Employees, Inc. (RLACEI) for many years.
“I don’t have just one special memory of Tom; I was impressed with his gentle and giving nature,” remembered Ruth Perry, RLACEI President. “He always spoke of others well and never highlighted any of his own accomplishments. I wish I had known him better and in his memory will make every attempt to be more like him.”
“The Club worked with Tom for many years on the RLACEI golf tournament and other events,” said Club CEO John Hawkins. “We will miss him. The Club sends its deepest condolences.”
“I met Tom when I joined RLACEI,” remembered Beverly Clark, RLACEI Second Vice President. “He was the epitome of professionalism serving as the First Vice President and the Golf Committee Chair. I was amazed that through his struggles with his illness, that he never complained. And few, if any, serving on the Board knew of his illness. He expressed his passion in serving the City and especially those in need. He will be sorely missed.”
“I have known Tom since my first year at the Employees Club back in 1998. That means that I have known him for 21 years,” commented Club COO Robert Larios. “From the moment I met him, he was always so kind to me, and when he spoke, he preferred to view the bright side of life. He loved golf and he was masterful at coordinating the annual golf tournament for the Retired Los Angeles City Employees, Inc. association. He did that and more for decades to honor and celebrate the lives of Retired City Employees and their families. I wish his wife Christine, Jeffrey, and his entire family courage and continued blessings.”
“Tom worked hard for many years for RLACEI on the golf and audit committees,” remembered Michael Wilkinson, LACERS Representative and former RLACEI Board Member. “We all will miss his kind gentle wit and good common sense. He always had a warm smile for everyone.”
The Los Angeles Federal Credit Union commented on the Club’s Instagram entry about Tom: “R.I.P. Mr. Stemnock. We looked forward to sponsoring the RLACEI Golf Tournament every year. We always hand-delivered the sponsored golf balls to his office in Studio City. We look forward to keeping the tradition going in his memory. Our condolences to everyone.”
The Club and RLACEI offer their condolences to the friends, family and coworkers of Tom.
May he rest in peace.
Tom’s widow, Christine, passed along the following biography of Tom:
Tom grew up in South Bend, Ind. and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Detroit Mercy, and his Master of Science degree in civil engineering with a concentration in urban planning from Purdue University. Upon graduation, Tom moved to Los Angeles, where he was employed by the City’s Public Works/Engineering bureau, during which he received his Registered Civil Engineer license. In 1967, he transferred to Planning, where he worked on the development of the City’s long-range Citywide plans and the general plan. He was promoted to Deputy Advisory Agency and was responsible for approval of all subdivisions and parcel maps within the City. In 1977, he became an Associate Zoning Administrator responsible for approval/disapproval of variances and conditional uses for the City. He truly enjoyed working at the City and felt that he gained much experience that he could not get elsewhere.
In 1978, Tom retired from the City and became a partner at ETI, a private land use consulting firm and civil engineering company. In 1994, Tom and Dwight Steinert established Planning Associates, Inc., which provided professional land use consulting services, environmental planning, zoning entitlements for commercial, industrial and residential projects throughout the City and civil engineering services. Throughout his 54 years in his profession, he enjoyed the challenges of his work and the many friendships. He continued to work full time until his passing.
He served on numerous boards, committees and professional organizations, including the American Society of Civil Engineers, of which he was the recipient of the ASCE Harland Bartholomew Award presented to the Urban Planner of the Year. He was also a member of the Institute of Transportation Engineers; the American Planning Association; Lambda Alpha International; Chi Epsilon, an honorary engineering fraternity; and the Retired Los Angeles City Employees, Inc. association, where he served on the board since 1996.
Tom had a deep commitment to serving the community, especially those in need, and he was passionate about helping others. In 1982, he was a founding board member of Arroyo Vista Family Health Foundation, which provides comprehensive healthcare to low-income families and the uninsured who otherwise would not have access to quality healthcare. Throughout his 37 years on the Board, he served as President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary as well as serving on various committees. Arroyo Vista has grown from one storefront clinic in Highland Park serving 5,000 patients to four community health centers serving more than 90,000 in the Northeast Los Angeles area. In 2016, he was the first honoree to receive the Arroyo Vista Compassionate Care Award.
In 2005, he joined Homes 4 Families Board (formerly Habitat for Humanity SF/SCV), which has built or renovated more than 385 homes for low-income families and veterans. He served as Secretary and using his expertise served on the Construction and Acquisition Committees to help secure sites for the building of homes. He was honored at the 2018 Hearts for Heroes Builder’s Ball for his contributions and commitment to Homes 4 Families.
Tom was a devout Catholic and throughout the years wholeheartedly served St. Richard Catholic Church in Borrego Springs in various capacities from ushering, volunteering, fundraising, serving on various committees and helping those in need find housing.
Tom is survived by his wife Christine of 47 years; son Jeffrey; daughter-in-law Ginger; his precious granddaughter Felix Anne-Marie; and his sister Kathleen Brown of Virginia. Tom was predeceased by his stepson Philip, parents John and Anne Stemnock and his sister Suzanne.
He will always be remembered for his love of his family, a kind soul, an eternal optimist, a dear friend, mentor, Dodgers fan and his love for the outdoors, especially the desert.