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and ours since 1876.
10366 Yonge Street
Richmond Hill, ON | L4C 3B8
905-884-1062
Thomas Harpur
Memorial Candle Tribute From
Marshall Funeral Home
"We are pleased to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
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Memorial Candle Tribute From
Susan Harpur
"Always and forever, Tom...."
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Memorial Candle Tribute From
Margaret
"To my dear Dad, with much love."
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Memorial Candle Tribute From
Madeleine
"To dear Grandpa Tom, with love"
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Memorial Candle Tribute From
Mary Catharine Harpur
"To dear Dad, with much love, Mary Catharine"
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Memorial Candle Tribute From
Robert and Marguerite Aziz
"We light this candle in honor of the Path that Tom walked in this life for the b"
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Memories of my Dad

      I have an abundance of wonderful memories of my Dad, but I have to say, most of my favorite ones involve the out of doors: camping, hiking, fishing, cross-country skiing, and canoeing. My Dad had such an enormous appreciation of nature that it infected us all. When we went up to my grandparents’ cottage at Minden, a place that was almost magical to me, my Dad would take me for walks in the woods sometimes, pointing out all sorts of interesting plants and animals. He had an eagle’s eye and seemed to be able to spot wildlife, particularly birds, and sometimes little toads, that I never would have detected otherwise. I loved these walks as it was a little time when I had him all to myself. He loved all the animals we would come across, and as my husband could attest, this has definitely rubbed off on me! Occasionally he would take me fishing, although he had to put the worms on the hook for me, and, once they were caught, I would throw them back as I felt sorry for them. Still it was fishing to me, Again, and probably more importantly again, a little time in a noisy family when I could spend time one on one with my Dad in the tranquility of nature. We would canoe quietly so as to sneak up on and catch a close glimpse of turtles sunning themselves on rocks, or blue herons. In the winter we would take picnics and go cross-country skiing, melting snow to make coffee or hot chocolate. He taught me how to make a good campfire by arranging the logs so that the air could flow through. As those that know him well will attest, with my Dad there was always a camp-fire. Even sometimes when we were just going for a walk he would stop and make a little fire (where it was safe to do so of course) just for the fun of it. As a result his lumber-jack jacket always emanated the scent of camp-fires- a smell which always evoked all the wonderful times we’d had.

       He often had such an outdoorsy look that one day, after my Dad picked me up from a gr 8 school dance wearing a large sheep-skin jacket, a shaggy beard, and holding a husky dog  from  each arm (much to my embarrassment!) the boys in the class asked me if my Dad was Grizzly Adams!

Sometimes he would get postings as a minister to locations in cottage country for the summer, such as MacGregor Bay or Stoney Lake. I don’t think any of us truly appreciated how lucky we were to spend whole summers together as a family in these beautiful places. I sometimes wonder if my positive associations with going to church are partly due to my experiences at these places on a Sunday, hearing his deep voice resonate through the small wooden church while through the partially opened windows we could see pine branches swaying and hear water lapping at the shores. 

  In later years whenever I talked to my Dad on the phone he would always tell me about the deer or the fox he had seen when he was out walking, or the birds he could see from his window busily building nests. He felt a strong spiritual connection in nature and I know that it also helped to spur his writing as he always went for long walks when he needed to think deeply or find inspiration.

Another memory I have which affected me in a different way was the way he treated the homeless who sometimes hung around the liquor store on Spadina. There was one tall aboriginal man who always said, “Hello Tom” when he saw my Dad. Rather than give him money, my Dad, on occasion invited the man into a diner, buying a sandwich and coffee for  each of them, and sitting down together to eat at the counter, much to the vexation of the owner. I was impressed with the respect he showed the man and his bravery at not worrying what those around might think.  

I could go on, but will just say, he was an amazing and unique person and I feel extremely proud and fortunate to have called him Dad. We’ll miss him so much, and I will always remember him particularly fondly when sitting around a campfire or taking a walk in the woods.

 

Posted by Mary Catharine Harpur
Friday January 13, 2017 at 7:19 pm
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