Retired department Director C.A. ‘Cal’ Terhune passes away

C.A. "Cal" Terhune, as seen in this photo taken during his retirement party in 2000, passed away July 31 at age 86.

C.A. “Cal” Terhune, seen in this photo taken during his retirement party in 2000, passed away July 31 at age 86.

Terhune went from intern in paroles to department head

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR editor

Former department Director C.A. “Cal” Terhune passed away July 31, according to CDCR officials. He was 86.

Terhune served as director of the department from Aug. 15, 1997, until Nov. 4, 2000, coming out of retirement to assume the duties. He had decades of state service to his name, having started in 1955.

When 71-year-old Terhune retired for the last time in 2000, then-Governor Gray Davis praised his years of service.

“‘Cal’ Terhune is a dedicated public servant who has tackled a tough assignment for two administrations,” Gov. Davis said. “He has shown leadership, integrity and a true commitment to public service.”

Terhune previously served as deputy secretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency in 1991 and as director of the California Youth Authority from 1987 to 1991.

From 1991 to 1994, he was as a corrections consultant on a study of incarcerated juveniles, which was presented to the U.S. Senate.

A 1997 issue of Correction News describes Terhune’s varied correctional experience. He served as deputy secretary of the Youth and Adult Correctional Agency, deputy director and director of the California Youth Authority, superintendent of four different institutions, deputy director of the Parole and Institutions Camps, assistant superintendent, supervising social worker, assistant to the chief, budget officer, personnel officer and parole agent. He got his start as an intern in the parole division.

“‘Cal’ Terhune knows California’s correctional system inside and out,” Gov. Pete Wilson said in a press statement in 1997, regarding Terhune’s appointment to head the state prison system. “He has devoted his career to protecting public safety and improving our correctional system.”

No stranger to public service, he was serving as the mayor of Ione at the time.

CDCR Secretary Jeff Beard said Terhune was well respected.

“I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of ‘Cal’ Terhune,” he said. “He was a widely respected leader of our department during a time of many challenges. I join the staff and retirees of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in sending condolences to Cal’s family and friends.”

In 2000, the Los Angeles Times wrote, “During his tenure, Terhune was credited with reorganizing and strengthening the prison system’s internal investigation operation and rewriting its policy on the use of deadly force. He said he is also proud of extending the training (for correctional officers), a move he believes will increase the professionalism of prison staff.”

Terhune also served as chairman of the Conference of Amador County Mayors and was a commissioner of the County Transportation Commission. He was also elected to the Board of Delegates for the American Correctional Association from 1988 to 1991.

He served on numerous boards and commissions including the Amador County Juvenile Justice Commission, Comanche Lake Park Board, Amador Transportation Board, Governor’s Policy Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, California Council on Criminal Justice, California State Juvenile Officers Association Board of Directors, State Board of Corrections, Parole and Correctional Association, National Association of Training School and Juvenile Agencies and the Blue Ribbon Commission on Inmate Population. He was also chairman of the Prison Industry Board.

A Celebration of Life will be held at 1 p.m., Friday, Aug. 14, at the offices of the Correctional Peace Officers Foundation, 1346 North Market Blvd., Sacramento.


9 Responses

  1. Hector Rodriguez, Retired Tuesday, August 25, 2015 / 8:25 am

    Cal was a great man. I had the pleasure of working under him in the Youth Authority. He will be missed. When Cal said he would something, it got done. We will miss you and love you.

    Hector Rodriguez

  2. robert walsh Thursday, August 13, 2015 / 12:10 am

    I knew Mr. Terhune only in passing but he always impressed me as a basically decent guy, which was not necessarily a given in our line of work at the time.

  3. F. Williams-Brown Monday, August 10, 2015 / 1:27 pm

    I met Mr. Terhune and his lovely wife once when they attended my wedding 29 years ago as guests of my mother. Mr. Terhune was very kind and I remember that it was also their wedding anniversary that same day! May God rest his soul.

  4. Thomas Marich Thursday, August 6, 2015 / 9:42 am

    I’ve known Cal for over 30 years. He was not only a unique individual, but one hell of a manager and a great role model. Not only was he a great listener, but he followed through and cared more about his staff and the direction in which the Department was headed. Rest in peace, pops.

  5. M Viale Thursday, August 6, 2015 / 7:30 am

    I met Cal Terhune in 1997 when I was Chapter President for CCPOA at High Desert State Prison (HDSP). I was introduced by my friend Lance Cocoran who was then Vice President of CCPOA. The three of us sometimes ate breakfast together at the old Lyons restaurant. We, along with others, negotiated several items (40 mm, pepper spray). We became business friends of sorts. I found him to a very kind and understanding man who took the time to hear from the people he had working for him. Once at a CCPOA convention, I watched him listen to Correctional Officers who didn’t understand why he did things a certain way. Cal took the time to explain himself. Although the C/O may not have been happy, at least he understood where Cal was coming from. The C/O later told me he appreciated that Cal took the time to talk to him. His leadership style will not likely ever occupy 1515 S Street again. He will be missed.

  6. don novey Wednesday, August 5, 2015 / 2:38 pm

    Terhune was unique. He served in the USMC later to graduate from the UC Berkeley master program; subsequently achieving the status of Director in state service under Governor’s Deukmejian, Wilson and Davis. Our hearts go out to his immediate family and wife Artyce.

  7. P. Green Wednesday, August 5, 2015 / 2:24 pm

    I had the pleasure of working with Cal Terhune when I was Secretary to the State Commission on Juvenile Justice, Crime & Delinquency Prevention. This Commission met monthly with Mr. Terhune and advised him on their findinds during inspections of CYA’s institutions and camps. He was a pleasant person to be around and was very knowledgeable about CYA. In my opinion, he was one of the best Directors CYA ever had. He has been missed since he left CYA. Rest in peace, Cal. You worked hard. May God comfort your family at this time.

  8. Captain T. Verras Wednesday, August 5, 2015 / 1:13 pm

    I remember meeting Mr. Terhune in 1997 at MCSP. It was Christmas morning on “A” facility when Mr. Terhune arrived on the yard. It was chilly and he was wearing a heavy down coat. He spent about an hour out on the yard walking with us. He asked lots of questions and before departing, wished us a merry Christmas. I have always thought highly of him. He probably could have been many places on Christmas day, yet he chose to come spend it with us.
    Rest in peace, sir.

  9. Lt. S. Duncan Wednesday, August 5, 2015 / 11:39 am

    I met Mr. Terhune in 1997 when he toured PVSP ASU. He looked at our unit, shook everybody’s hand and told us to keep doing exactly what we were doing. He seemed like a down to earth gentleman who cared about his staff. R.I.P., sir.

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