Thomas Jerry Potter

Thomas Jerry Potter, 89, passed away at home on Nov. 13, 2022, surrounded by family.

Tom was born May 8, 1933, in Chandler, Okla., to Floyd and Thelma (Gaylord) Potter. When Tom was 3 years old, the family moved to California, eventually settling in Norwalk.

Growing up in Norwalk, Tom raised cattle, sheep and horses. He enjoyed riding his horse in parades and horse shows, winning many trophies and ribbons.

In high school, Tom was a member of FFA and 4-H and excelled in agricultural classes. He also loved country music, starting a band and learning to play the guitar. The band, “Tommy Potter and the Tune Wranglers,” played gigs in the local area including USO shows.

It was through music that Tom met Darlene when he invited her to join the band as pianist. They began dating in high school and were engaged after graduation.

Tom entered the United States Army in August 1953. In the Army, Tom was stationed in Germany, an experience that had a great impact on his life.He liked to retell the stories of the many villages he saw and the lifestyle of the local citizens.

Tom and Darlene Lorraine Pickup were married on July 22, 1955, in Norwalk shortly after his discharge from the Army. They had three children: Gary Thomas Potter (1959), Cheryl Lynn (Potter) Cowgill (1961), and Terry Lee Potter (1962.)

In 1967, Tom and Darlene moved the family to Sweet Home. They found their dream property on 265 acres in Holley where he enjoyed raising cattle and horses.

Tom designed and built their home on the hill with expansive views of fields, trees, mountains, and spectacular sunsets. Tom often remarked how lucky he was to be able to look at this view every day.

Tom was an entrepreneur at heart and launched many businesses. Together with Darlene, he sold real estate for United Farm Agency, winning sales awards from the company.

At other times during his life he owned a lumber yard, a trucking business, and an excavation business. He also dabbled in real estate development, building duplexes and houses.

He drove a school bus for many years and particularly enjoyed driving the pep band and rally squads because of their fun and spirited attitude.

Music was a central part of Tom and Darlene’s married life. They formed several bands over the years, playing mostly country gospel music.

Whether they were in a band or not, Tom and Darlene performed often at church and local events with Tom on vocals and Darlene on piano.

In recent years, they were members of the Pacific Gospel Music Association and performed at the Gospel Jamboree and Fall Festival.

Tom enjoyed and appreciated warm friendships with his neighbors, members of the Sweet Home community, and fellow congregants of the Sweet Home New Life in Christ Fellowship Church.

Tom loved his family dearly, always ready to help wherever he could.

He is survived by his wife, Darlene; children Gary Potter (wife Valerie), Cheryl Cowgill (husband Michael), and Terry Potter (wife Becky); grandchildren Henry Potter; Scott Cowgill (wife Ashley), Brett Cowgill (wife Brittany), Lisa Cowgill (fiancé Eric Edison), Steven Potter (wife Tasha), and Stacy Griffin (husband Andrew); and great-grandchildren Karis, Josiah, Eden and Titus Cowgill; Lucas and Emilia Potter.

A celebration of life service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Dec. 9, 2022, at the Sweet Home New Life in Christ Fellowship.Burial has taken place at Gilliland Cemetery in Sweet Home.

Sweet Home Funeral Chapel is handling the arrangements.