Florence and Tom Flaherty

Thomas F Flaherty

Tom Flaherty was a dynamic and civic-minded businessman. His Irish parent immigrated to San Francisco where Tom was born, and, at age 13, Tom left school for his first job as a Western Union telegraph messenger. He earned a promotion, becoming office clerk at the district messenger’s office, but at age 22, his desire to travel lured him to Southern California. He landed in Riverside in 1898.

Flaherty opened his own real estate business after several years, and his civic-minded pursuits included the city of Riverside Public Utilities Committee. He was secretary of the Johnson Wallace Club and the Republican Central Committee. He joined other realtors to form the Riverside Realty Board, where he served as president. At the state level, he was vice president of the California Real Estate Association. His real estate success created the groundwork for another business venture—insurance. He established Patterson & Flaherty, an insurance icon in Riverside for many years.

In 1913, the death of Elmer Holmes left a vacancy on the Riverside County Board of Supervisors. Governor Hiram Johnson appointed Flaherty. He was reelected twice then chose not to run and was again appointed to fill a vacant seat. He ran for the seat when it came up, but his own term was cut short when he died suddenly in 1939.