Born in 1902 in Conway, Ark., 1981 Senior Farmer Sherman Thomas settled in Madera in 1928 after leasing a half section of land. By 1933, he started the Sherman Thomas Ranch, growing barley, corn, alfalfa, melons, beans, sugar beets, peas, oranges, almonds cotton and grapes.
Thomas and his late wife, the former Cordilia Leach, raised two sons.
On top of growing his crops, Thomas served as director of the Westlands Water District. As an avid cattleman, he raised purebred Hereford cattle and launched a large dairy operation.
He served on the boards of Madera Community Hospital and Valley Children’s Hospital (now Children’s Hospital Central California) and the Bank of America advisory board. He was also on the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Association county committee and cancer committee...