Sharon Silva, recently president of the Los Banos Downtown Association and president of the Los Banos Rotary Club, passed away April 29 in Turlock. She was 76.
Silva came out of retirement to return to her hometown of Los Banos in 2017 to take on the leadership of the downtown association. She helped rejuvenate Los Banos’ downtown, as she had done in Turlock years before.
An active member of Rotary for many years, Silva agreed to be the president of the Los Banos Rotary Club for 2021-22. She revived the club after COVID, adding 10 new members to its rolls.
“She believed in the Rotary motto, ‘Service above Self,’” said her friend and fellow Rotarian Gene Lieb. “Even when her health wasn’t the best, she kept the downtown association moving forward and the local Rotary club active.”
Silva is well known in Turlock for revitalizing its downtown and for serving for years as CEO of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce.
“Sharon Silva was a catalyst of economic activity for Turlock for all the years I’ve known her,” said former Turlock mayor John Lazar. “Downtown Turlock, the business community and Turlock’s economic health all benefitted from Sharon Silva’s good works.”
Silva served as the executive director of the Turlock Downtown Association and chaired its Design Committee when Main Street underwent a major facelift in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In fact, the project was so successful the downtown association received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Revitalization Achievement in Design in 2001.
She served as the President and CEO of the Turlock Chamber of Commerce from 2001 until retiring in 2015. During that time she also ran the City’s Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and co-chaired the City’s Centennial Committee in 2008. In 2011 she received the Chamber Executive of the Year award from the Western Division of Chamber Executives, representing the 14th state, and the Woman of the Year Award for the 26th Assembly District.
In her life, Silva also served for eight years on the school board, owned and co-owned a phone center and a moving company, and actively worked as a fundraiser for non-profit organizations. As a public figure, she hosted an impressive resume of civic activities in Turlock and Stanislaus County.
Silva’s philosophy of business was focused on building relationships and utilizing leadership skills to help others.
“I like relationships,” she said to the Turlock Journal in a 2013 interview. “I think things should be built on relationships.”
“Sharon was a tireless advocate for Turlock. She had the energy of multiple people and wouldn’t take no for an answer. She was the driving force behind so many important projects throughout the community. Most of all, she was my friend and will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with her family,” said County Supervisor Vito Chiesa.