Arthur Thom, a lifetime resident of the Williamsburg area, passed away at the Rosbridge Manor in Eastons Corners on Wed., Feb. 24, 2016. He was 90.
Arthur was born in Williamsburg Township on March 7, 1925 to his parents, Lyle and Bessie Thom (nee Weegar). He was the first born to an Irish family that had made their roots on Barkley Road for 175 years. He had a real longing to learn, he took Grades 3 and 4 in one year, as well as 7 and 8 in another year. He stayed home to work the farm as his younger siblings went on through school to become an engineer, a special needs teacher, and his younger sister ended up with a doctorate in education.
Arthur and a neighbour, Ted, ventured out to the Prairies to do the grain harvest like so many boys did in those years. When he got paid, instead of coming home with the others, he boarded a bus destined for Vancouver. Returning with pictures and stories of what the “coast” was like and how big the Rockies were.
He told stories of his buddy, Jim, and the Indian motorcycle that was rode all over. He loved the wind in his face! Whether it was in his boat powered only by a “Johnson” or peeking over the windscreen of a bike roaring down the countryside. In 1945, Jim and Arthur had toured all the way to Stratford, Ont., which would have been an epic trip in those days.
Arthur was an entrepreneur. He started his own business called Arthur Thom Electric Ltd. by borrowing some money from his folks, driving into Ottawa for supplies, and then wiring his first house on the Webb Road. By the time he had completely wired his third house, he’d made enough money to pay back his loan to his parents. When the Seaway was being built things boomed, and during those years Arthur worked day and night trying to keep up with the demand for work.
He was frugal in business. His motto was waste not, want not. He always collected the scrap, used up the small pieces, and stripped the remaining wire to be recycled. When on a job figuring out the length of wire he would need, he had a special formula. He would pace out distance a couple of times, calculate out the footage to order then the special formula … Minus 10 feet.
His passion for work was balanced by his passion for play. He taught his children to ski in both winter and summer, he took them to all the local hills in winter as often as work would let him. He was thrilled later in life to learn that ski passes were free after the age of 70. After work in the summer, and maybe a little coaxing, he would take the little boat out to one of the bays on the river and let his family water ski. It didn’t matter how many tries it took for someone to get up on their skis, he was always willing to keep driving if they wanted to try again. Once in a while, driver permitting, Arthur would take out the big white slalom ski and he would show the family some serious spray.
Arthur always had a dog and he called every one of his dogs Woofy. He would tease them in the morning while lacing up his work boots till they said their name … “woof.”
When his children got older, he gave them the choice of any career — no limits. Jimmie opted to follow in Arthur’s footsteps, and become an electrician/refrigeration mechanic; Heather went off to Ryerson to get her degree; and David studied mechanics so he could fix the machines on the farm. Through all the years, Arthur stood behind any decisions his children made, right or wrong. He was also the first there to help pickup the pieces. Helping in any way he could, he had a huge heart. Art lived life to the fullest, seeing everything in life he could possibly see, and trying everything at least once … for the last 90 years.
Arthur is survived by his children, Jimmie (Christine) of Williamsburg, David (Tammy) of Williamsburg, and Heather Stukalo (Bohdan) of Mississauga. He will be fondly remembered by his grandchildren, Tara, Weston, Casey, Noah, Jackson, Orianna, and his great-granddaughter, Maya. He was predeceased by his sisters, Margery Fraser and Evalene Thom, and his brother, Robert. He is also survived by nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Williamsburg on Fri., Feb. 26 from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm. The funeral service was held at the funeral home on Sat., Feb. 27 at 10:30 am with Rev. Feras Chamas officiating, followed by interment at Maple Ridge Cemetery in Chesterville. The pallbearers were Weston Thom, Noah Thom, Jackson Thom, Jim Loucks, David Phifer, and Steve Saunders.
Donations to the Alzheimer Society would be gratefully acknowledged by the family.
Online condolences may be made at www.marsdenmclaughlin.com