Former San Joaquin Supervisor Frank L. Hoyt of Tracy,
who witnessed more than 50 years of change in San Joaquin County,
died Saturday at Tracy Community Memorial Hosp. Hoyt died of respiratory
failure after more than four months in the hospital following
cancer surgery in May.
Hoyt, 88, who served from 1960 to 1972 as Fifth
District San Joaquin County supervisor, worked a number of jobs.
During his life, He worked as a cowboy, a rodeo rider, cattle
rancher, farmer, World War I machine gunner, industrial executive
and civic leader as well as supervisor. He was born in Norton,
Kansas in 1898, in a home dug out of a clay river bank on the
Sapple River. When he was a year old, his parents moved to Fairfield,
Neb., where his farther worked as a blacksmith and wheelwright.
In an interview with the Stockton Record in 1972, he said, "As
a boy...my ambition was to have a great big cattle ranch, like
all good red-blooded Western American boys."
When World War I began, he was 19 years old. He
was too young to enlist at the time -21 was the minimum age- but
he lied about his age and signed up for the Army and became a
machine gunner in the trenches of the European war. "I read the
statistics many times." he said in the interview. "In the first
World War, they figured that average life of a machine gunner
was 22 minutes. I went through five major battles and came out
with just a few scratches. The scratches included shrapnel in
his left leg and scars from several bullets.
At war's end he was assigned to Paris and was one
of the members present at the original caucus of the American
Legion. He returned to Nebraska after the war and operated a 160
acre cattle ranch. He later abandoned it during the Depression
and became secretary-manager of the Nebraska Sugar Beet Growers
Association. He went through a succession of jobs and came to
Tracy and San Joaquin County in July 1935 to take charge of the
Holly Sugar company's Tracy area farm operations.
He stayed on until 1943 and then became vice president
of the Berverdor Corp., a Tracy agricultural and business equipment
rental firm. He also served for nine years on the San Joaquin
County Planning Commission until his retirement from Berverdor
He said he didn't decide to run for elected office
until he was urged to by his friends. He decided to give the elected
position a try and servive the primary. "Then I really went to
work and won the post in the fall." he said. He was often referred
to as the "Plain-speaking dean of the Board of Supervisors". At
his retirement as a supervisor, he said he enjoyed the post and
the accomplishments that he had made representing Southern San
Joaquin County, particular getting an adequate water supply for
the area, but he was happy to be retiring. "It was the second
time I've retired." he said. "So this time I'm going to make it
Sam Matthews, the publisher of the Tracy Press and
a longtime friend, said Hoyt had been ill for almost four months.
"He went into the hospital and just never came back, " Matthews
said. "It's too bad. He was quite a guy." "He was never what you'd
call an articulate politician."
Well known and well respected. He was personally
responsible for many improvements in San Joaquin County. He was
"for the people" and spent countless hours on the phone patiently
listening to citizens complain and argue. All the while, he looked
for solutions. There is a new park in Tracy as well as a street
named after him.
He was a master sergeant in WW1, serving in France
and Texas. He was a member of the First Christian Church and a
charter member of the American Legion. He attended the founding
of the American Legion while in France and was a charter member.
He died of colon cancer on Oct 11, 1986 in Tracy, California at
the age of 88, in the Tracy Community Memorial Hospital that he
helped build and supported with both his money and time, have
served several terms on the Hospital's Board of Directors.
Frank is buried in the Tracy Community Cemetery
(who's board of directors, he also served on until his death)
along side his wife of many years, Edna Mae SILLIVAN. He was a
San Joaquin County Supervisor for 12 years, serving as Chairman
of the Board.