TOM (THOMAS HENRY) WRIGHT

(1929 – 2010), much loved husband, father, brother, grandpa and friend died on September 8 after a brief illness.

He was born in Detroit, Michigan, first child of Thomas Frederick and Grace Armstrong (Wilson) Wright of Ontario, and moved with his family to England in 1935. He grew up in Sussex during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz. Tom moved to Scotland in 1944 where he completed high school in Arbroath. He served in the RAF in England and Germany in the Occupation Forces. In 1949, Tom went to St. Andrews University in Scotland where he took up geology, zoology, flying, golf and young ladies. He graduated in 1952.

Tom came to Canada in 1953 and joined the exploration branch of Richfield Oil Corporation in Calgary. In 1955 he married Irene Witherspoon. Over the next ten years they had two sons, Hal and Sandy (Alex) and their daughter, Penny.

Disillusioned with the ethics of the oil industry, he and Irene spent 1966/67 at SFU preparing to become teachers. They were delighted to be hired by the Gulf Islands School District in 1967. Tom fondly remembered the kids, and teaching and working with fine colleagues, at Salt Spring Elementary and Fernwood Schools.

Tom was involved as an active member with many groups before and after his retirement: the Gulf Islands Teachers’ Association, the NDP Club, the Advisory Planning Commission, the Power and Sail Squadron, the Water Preservation Society, the Community Planning Association, the Royal Canadian Legion, the Citizens’ Patrol, the Grace Point Strata Council, the Fickle Fingers, the Trail and Nature Club, the Historical Society, the SSI Coalition of Concerned Citizens, the Mt Belcher Neighbourhood Watch, and the Eggheads. He leaves his best wishes for many friends and neighbours, particularly those on St. Mary Lake, Grace Point and Mt. Belcher.

He enjoyed studying the geology of Salt Spring Island and sharing his knowledge and mapping with others. Trips with Virginia Newman and Kay Kos (driven by son Hal) were a source of pleasure. He loved the concerts at ArtSpring, hiking with the SS Trail and Nature Club, gardening, writing articles and giving talks on a variety of subjects, drawing cartoons, playing with his grandchildren, and doing cryptic crosswords and having a good scotch with Irene.

Tom was a strong environmentalist and student of the problems with our financial system, climate change, global warming, peak oil and world overpopulation.

Irene, Nancy, Christine, Annette and her family on Salt Spring, as well as Hal, Sandy and Penny and their families have fond memories and stories to tell. Tom was sorry to have had so little time at Meadowbrook. The family appreciates the kindness of Dr. Crichton and the staffs at Lady Minto and Royal Jubilee Hospitals.

Consistent with Tom’s philosophy, no service is planned. If you wish to remember Tom, please make a gift in his honour to the NDP, the Water Preservation Society, or the Fernwood School library.

Tom wrote, “It was good to be here, and I’m glad I came.”

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