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Marshall Funeral Home
10366 Yonge Street,
Richmond Hill, ON L4C 3B8
Marshall Funeral Home
10366 Yonge Street
Richmond Hill, ON CA
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Tom was 10 years my senior but that difference in ages did not prevent a close relationship until he left home for residence at U of T at 18 as we shared a bed. It was cozy but worked well despite the fact that, in order to accommodate his expanding frame, he slept diagonally across the bed. Fortunately at that age I was a runt and could make do with a corner and it was fair exchange for the stories he told me about animals and imaginary events for he was a story teller even then. The tales he told lit the fire of my curiosity and imagination which, thankfully, still burns brightly.
He taught me many things in those years most of it unwittingly. Struggling with him physically taught me that force was not a useful way to effect change. He could make me "surenser" quickly but it rarely changed my opinion. He taught me to hunt and fish which had the unintended result of arousing so much empathy for the creatures involved that he refused to take me fishing later in life as he said I made him feel guilty about catching anything and he would often wind up throwing fish back.
The bed arrangement became difficult when we both required the whole bed and at that point when he would come home from residence for a weekend I would wake on Saturdays in a spare bed with no idea how I got there only to be advised by Tom that I had walked down of my own accord after giving him an argument when he woke me the night before. We took different paths at almost every turn Tom treated me gently most of the time and in exchange I disassembled his prized possessions, toy train set, bicycle and flashlights with the intent to repair as I remember it. I can only recall one instance of pique in all of this despite repeated aggravation.
He taught me that you could debate, even argue with our father and survive an important step to the mental self-employment Tom wished to encourage in us all. The lively debates during family dinners covered a broad range from the perils of Catholicism to the need for Tom to come out more strongly in support of the Conservatives and what project Tom should pursue next. I listened but stayed out of the fray. Tom played the flute and to this day I love to hear Largo on the flute it always takes me back to those days with Betty on the piano.
Thomas was always reading and the books about nature and about science that he left around served to set me on a lifetime of reading particularly the books on science that he paid less attention to. Tom excelled at sports while I was not great and he would refer to me as quadrupeds for my lack of ability to catch a ball. I don’t remember being upset by that but it may explain why I never got into many sports other than running and eventually rugger which I played with him. He was a prop I was a Lt. wing on the U of T team. He had cause to develop a better appreciation of my skills with mechanical things as he at one time owned a 31 chev coupe that would frequently quit for no reason he could fathom. I would make my way to wherever he had left the car and often with no more than a pat on the bonnet get it started and drive it home. He was also renowned for his skill at losing keys so required my services to open suitcases and such on a number of occasions.
One his most impressive accomplishments in my eyes was not in the realm of scholastics or journalism but in the simple ability to persuade a commercial airline to fly him across the Atlantic C.O.D. once in the early 50’s. In the midst of a romantic crisis he was determined to get back to Canada post haste to set things straight. He had managed to talk his way onto the plane but the airline refused to permit him to disembark in Canada until our father had wired the fare to them at the airport. As phone calls go dad was less than thrilled with that one. Unfortunately the effort proved futile as Tom’s words proved less persuasive in the romantic arena.
Thomas excelled at pretty much whatever he tried, not without hard work but he made it look easy. School was not just something he did well he took prizes. What an act to follow. I had his chief competitor as my Latin teacher the year I failed grade 10 and I heard, “Your Tom’s brother you can do better.”, so often that year I began to think it was my name. Fortunately we both survived and as adults remained fast friends and confidants through many of life’s trials and despite following different paths arrived at very much the same destination with convictions that coincided and equally strong beliefs in the Christian message as we came to understand it.
Thanks for the journey Tom you were a truly great Big Brother in every way and I will miss your wisdom and council but more your presence by a fire in the bush, out in a canoe or by a beach far from the maddening crowd.
Your little brother, George