Remembering Bernard J. Tyson

Bernard J. Tyson on August 14, 2019, at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, during a conversation about homelessness, the first in the club’s new Destination Health series by Kaiser Permanente. Photo taken by Ed Ritger for Kaiser Permanente.

Bernard J. Tyson and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas at the Commonwealth Club on August 14, 2019. Photo taken by Fernando Ramirez for the Board of Supervisors.

On November 12, 2019 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adjourned in the memory of Bernard J. Tyson.

Born in Vallejo, California in 1959, Bernard passed away on November 10, 2019 in Oakland, California, at the age of 60. We lost a titan of our community. At the time of his passing, he was the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Kaiser Permanente.

He was an extraordinary individual, and what made him a titan – what truly separated him from everyone else – is that everyone else would tell you the same thing. He graduated from Golden Gate University with a Bachelor’s degree and Master of Business Administration degree and worked at Kaiser Permanente for more than 30 years. He began in the medical records department and rose to President and Chief Operating Officer, before being appointed to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in 2012. And in this role as leader to one of the most admired healthcare organizations in the country, his view of his responsibilities did not just begin and end at the boardroom table. Bernard was a stalwart and incredible partner in our statewide work to fight homelessness, changing the course of so many lives for the better.

Bernard received various accolades and recognitions, such as being named to Time Magazine’s 2017 list of the 100 Most Influential People, and 2018 list of 50 Most Influential People in health care. He also sat on the boards of such influential organizations as the American Heart Association. But as trailblazer to the highest reaches of corporate America as Kaiser Permanente’s first African-American Chief Executive Officer, it was his examples of heroism and enterprise that have given people of all backgrounds confidence, courage, and faith to pursue their own dreams.

On behalf of the Board of Supervisors and the Second District, I send the deepest condolences to his extended family, friends and colleagues, who will all miss him dearly. Let us pause and give thanks for the fact he was able to live a life full of impact and grace. May God bless his memory and keep him in peace.