2013 Inductee - John R. Vera

2013 Inductee - John R. Vera


The second of three children, John R. Vera was born in French Camp, California to Adrian and Dora Vera. To take advantage of employment opportunities his family moved to Merced Falls, a lumber community which no longer exists. When John was a little over 3 years old, the family returned to Stockton, and established residence in East Stockton until the passing of Adrian Sr. in 1993.

John’s early years were spent going to school at Fair Oaks Elementary and to Franklin High School. He graduated from Stockton College (High School )in 1957. John went on to graduate from Stockton Jr. College and Sacramento State College in 1961 with a degree in journalism. There was never a question in his family about whether he or his older brother or younger sister would attend college. His father, a long time carpenter, and his mother a cannery worker, made it very clear that education was the path they were to follow. Consequently, all three obtained Master’s degrees.

John soon found that newspaper jobs paid very little and spent time working at odd jobs in San Francisco and other places until he became a social worker for San Joaquin County. John was very ambitious and soon secured a scholarship to attend graduate school. He enrolled in the Florida State University School of Social Welfare in Tallahassee, Florida. His experience living in the South during the Civil Rights era helped shape his future as he became able to impact services and programs for persons who were underserved.

With degree in hand, John returned to San Joaquin County and resumed his work as a social worker. Due to his hard work and opportunity focus, he became Assistant Director in ten years. At age 38, John was hired as the Welfare Director for Yolo County; the youngest county welfare director in the state! For the next seven years he was able to begin work on improving access to services for the underserved. His skill and ability was recognized and he was recruited to become the Assistant General Manager for the Department of Social Services for the City and County of San Francisco. During this time, John was invited to participate in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts for state and local executives.

John returned as Director of the Human Services Agency of San Joaquin in 1997. At retirement in 2003, he continued his work in the community. He has served on the board for Su Salud, Delta Health Care, Stockton Symphony, and the St. Joseph’s Medical Center Community Board. He is currently on the board of the Financial Center Credit Union of San Joaquin, the community board of San Joaquin, and is presently the chairperson of the Mary Graham Children’s Foundation which he helped found in 2000. This foundation provides college and trade school scholarships to foster youth of San Joaquin

Through his career, John has been accompanied by his wife Francesca of Stockton. He has a daughter living in Clovis and a grandson in Taos, New Mexico.