March 12, 2018
The Champaign-Urbana community lost a great leader when Tom Berns passed away on February 19, 2018. Others can describe better than we can how he founded the engineering firm of Berns Clancy and associates with his partner Ed Clancy, how he was politically active, serving a term as a representative in the Illinois House of Representatives, and how he contributed both time and money to many organizations that were important to him.
In this tribute, however, we want to focus on Tom’s role in the Urbana Parks Foundation. The Urbana Parks Foundation was incorporated in 2007. Given Tom’s long-standing support for the Urbana Park District, it is not surprising that he eagerly joined the first Foundation board despite his already-full set of business and service obligations. In the years since then he served as an important source of ideas and support for the new organization. Tom’s seemingly inexhaustible store of good humor and positive outlook on life served both him and the Urbana Parks Foundation well, helping to guide the organization through its early years. He was a stalwart friend of the Urbana Park District and saw the Foundation as a means of providing substantial help to the District over the long term. He will be missed.