James Thomas “Tom” Hawthorne | September 25, 1928 – March 10, 2022

San Diego, CA — Hawthorne Cat, the exclusive Cat® equipment dealer in San Diego, the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific Region is sad to announce the passing James Thomas “Tom” Hawthorne on March 10, 2022 at the age of 93. Along with his father, J.B. Hawthorne, Tom founded Hawthorne Machinery Co. in 1956. He led the company as its CEO for the next 50 years. Tom was always looking for new business opportunities and ways to grow and improve the company. He believed that helping a customer succeed in growing his own business should be Goal #1. Tom was recognized as an icon in the construction markets and a pioneer in the short-term equipment rental business (Hawthorne Rentals). He was also one of the first Cat Dealers to establish a separate and dedicated Power Systems business unit (Hawthorne Power Systems). His 50-year career as a Caterpillar Tractor Dealer in San Diego, Hawaii, Guam and the Pacific Islands has been stellar.

Hawthorne Cat is in its third and fourth generation of leadership with Tom’s son-in-law Tee Ness as Chairman and grandson Dave Ness, President/CEO. Tom’s legacy of a commitment to excellence lives on through programs such as the Tom Hawthorne Diesel Technology Center at Miramar College which grants scholarships to students earning their degree in Diesel Technology and the Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center sponsored by Interfaith Community Services designed to help homeless Veterans stabilize their lives. In his retirement, Tom started a new company called Tool Shed Equipment Rental & Sales with his brothers Paul, Jack, and Gary Hawthorne.

Tom is survived by his wife Margie, two daughters and their husbands, Tee and Debbie Ness, Steve and Chris Perreault, his daughter-in-law Suzy Hawthorne, sister Kathryn Ireland, brothers Paul, Jack, and Gary Hawthorne and their wives, ten grandchildren, thirteen greatgrandchildren and two great-great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his wife Dorothy and their children Brian, Bruce, Carol, and Linda Hawthorne.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held at 1:00 PM on Wednesday, March 23rd, at The Church at Rancho Bernardo, 11740 Bernardo Plaza Court, San Diego. In lieu of flowers, donations to Interfaith Community Services, Outreach International or Elizabeth Hospice would be greatly appreciated.

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