Citizen of the Year – 2018

Each Spring,  BCAC board members, Members at Large, and past honorees nominate a Berryessa resident as “Citizen of the Year” for their dedication and hard work towards our community.  This year we recognize Mr. Ron Appleby for his tireless commitment and contribution to our community


We hope that this acknowledgement of Ron Appleby will help you appreciate the decades of service he has provided and his impact on the Berryessa community.  Ron’s roots go deep into the land with his Father, Clyde, leading the house band at the Palomar Ballroom, and land near the Hayes Mansion where his Mom was raised.  His linkage to our community included local public schools, and, after graduating from James Lick High School, San José City College, and San José State University.  After a short period of service with Volunteers In Service To America (VISTA) in Richmond, VA, he returned to the area and worked for and retired from Lucky’s (34 years).  Ron then earned a teaching credential and taught adult education for 13 years.  His teaching skills were recognized when he was awarded the “Excellence in Teaching Award” by the California Council for Adult Education, Mid-Peninsula Chapter.

But if you want to see Ron in our area, look at what you see, and what you don’t.  What you don’t see are graffiti, trash, and weeds:

  • Organized 12-person Street Cleanup along 3 blocks of Capitol Ave
  • Cleaned the area of garbage at the intersection of Landess and Capitol
  • Cleaned the debris and waste in the culvert that borders the CVS/Safeway Shopping Center
  • Painted over many “charming” local graffiti as a member of the Clean San José Team
  • Collects trash wherever he goes and has enrolled his family in the effort – Ron’s 5-year old grandchild picked up trash and put it in the only container nearby…his Mom’s purse
  • Participated in several Penitencia Creek clean-up projects

What you do see are trees and art.  Ron has been the “Johnny Appleseed” of Berryessa, but rather than apple tree, Ron plants trees that are adapted to our climate.  And his membership in the Berryessa Art Council nurtures local artists.  Ron works in collage and has given multiple classes in the area.

  • Purchased, planted, and nurtured the 20 date palms that grace the Sierra Road median
  • Purchased and planted trees at Cherrywood Elementary – since the school’s hose couldn’t reach them Ron and Nancy schlepped buckets of water to ensure their survival
  • Planted dozens of trees between the sidewalk and roadways in the Berryessa area
  • Worked with the San José City Forest to replace trees unnecessarily removed during the solar panel installation at Cherrywood Elementary
  • Been a vigilant protector of area trees, by ensuring that removals are justified and permitted
  • Organized the display of original art at the San José Main Library as well as the Berryessa Community Center that included many of his whimsical creations (You must see his Mona Lisa, featuring Lisa Simpson, that hangs on the Community Center walls.)

Ron’s service to community also includes:

  • Over a decade of leadership on the Berryessa Citizen’s Advisory Council Board – including Vice-President
  • Leadership of a community outreach effort, Love INC, that matched people willing to help others with members of the community in need
  • Researched San José’s Photo Archives to document a “History of Berryessa Presentation” to the community
  • Generated a remembrance display for Bill Hughes, one of the BCAC founders

Ron is drawn to beauty and has repeatedly acted to make Berryessa a great place to live.  Thank you, Ron.

We of the BCAC; his wife, Nancy: and his family invite you to join us in celebrating Ron’s decades of service and we encourage you to contribute some of your many skills in service to our community.