We lost a true dyed-in-the-wool Renegade earlier this month.
Thomas Nery, a BC grad and member of the storied 1961 Renegade football team that played in the historic Junior Rose Bowl against Cameron University, passed away a few weeks ago.
I first met Tom, 76, at last year’s Homecoming game and was immediately struck by his winning personality and deep sense of pride and enthusiasm for his alma mater. So it was with great sadness that I received this email earlier this week from Tom’s daughter Kim Nery Drndarski.
I wanted to share the news of the passing of my father, Thomas Nery, a former BC Renegade from 1961.
At last year’s homecoming, you interviewed him and me during the game. You really made him feel special that afternoon, the hero he is to his family.
We went to the GWC game last week, and I saw you there. I wanted to tell you my thanks in person and give you a giant hug, but I knew I was going to cry and I decided to send you cyber hugs instead.
My Dad passed on 9/1/15, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. It takes the worst cancer to bring down a Renegade. He will be placed at Greenlawn on River Blvd., on 10/3/15 at 11am. He worked there when he was attending BC. I made sure that his niche faces the school and asked if he could hear the game from where he is on Saturday nights. :o)
Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart, for making him feel so special that day.
Kim also sent this photo of Tom in his vintage 1961 BC jersey along with his grandson. 50 years later and the jersey still fits…
During our time together at 2014 Homecoming, I shot this quick video talking with both Tom and Kim.
First, a thank you to Kim for taking the time to reach out and pass along the sad news. I’m returning that cyber hug and adding my thoughts and good wishes for you and your family as you go through this difficult time.
And also, a sincere thank you to Tom. You represented Bakersfield College with distinction 50 years ago on the gridiron, then spent a half-century further honoring this institution by leading a life that bettered your community while raising a beautiful, loving family.
As Tom himself said in the video, “I had a good life.” No one could ever ask for more.
I know I’ll be thinking of you when I head out to Memorial Stadium Sept. 26 for our next home game against Allan Hancock. And I’m heartened to know that your spirit will be there cheering on future Renegade squads for decades of Saturday nights to come.
Rest easy, Tom.
Tagged: Bakersfield College, Kim Drndarski, Renegade Football, Renegades, Sonya Christian, Tom Nery
This post warms my heart. Thank you for capturing a video of Mr. Nery. I never met him, but I immediately like him. How fitting that we can mourn his passing through your digital memorial. I so appreciate the degree of personal contact you maintain, Sonya. It’s one of the great things about you, and one of the great things about BC. RIP Tom Neary.