HAROLD OLIVER (TOMMY) THOMASSON 1921 - 2014 Tommy, as he was known to all, went "gently into that good night" Sunday evening, January 26, 2014 in the peaceful and loving warmth of the Palliative Care floor of Grace Health Centre, Toronto. His wife, Islay, was at his bedside. Born in Ulverston, Lancashire, England, Tommy came to Canada in 1941 to train with the WWll Commonwealth Air Training Plan, graduating as a Navigator at Mount Hope, Ontario, and as an Observer, at Debert, Nova Scotia. 1942 found him on active flying duty as a Coastal Patrol Navigator for anti-submarine patrols. Wartime exploits saw his aircraft shot up in a U-Boat attack, plunging into the Mediterranean Sea. He had a second plunge into the sea at Gibraltar from which only he and the pilot survived. In 1944 he returned to Canada as a Navigator Instructor at Rivers, Manitoba and married his Canadian wartime sweetheart, Dorothy Lella Louise Parke of Hamilton, who predeceased him. Following his RAF years Tommy made Canada his home with one of the delights of his life being to receive his Canadian Citizenship. In 1945 he began an ascending career with the Hamilton Spectator, from a Dispatch Clerk to National Advertising Manager. In 1970, he was sent to the Calgary Herald with subsequent promotions to General Manager in 1977. In 1982, he returned to Toronto as Vice-President of Human Resources, Southam Inc. Upon his retirement, he returned to Calgary, Alberta. Tommy was a valued member of his beloved Downtown Calgary Rotary Club where he was honoured with a Paul Harris Fellowship, and as an active member of the historic Ranchmen's Club. He belonged to the Chaine des Rotisseurs/Calgary Bailliage as Vice Charge de Presse, Honoraire and Commandeur, for many years. Another affiliation was the Commanderie de Bordeaux of Calgary. In 1992 he married Islay Wyckham of Oakville, Ontario and the two subsequently moved back to Toronto to their much loved "condo in the sky" in Bloor/Yorkville. Tommy is mourned by his two sons, Robert, of Calgary, his wife Violet, and two grandsons Anthony and Timothy, and by son James of Hinton, Alberta, his wife Carol and granddaughters Laura, Charlotte and Mary. He will be missed also by step-son Peter Kingsman and step-daughter Caroline Kingsman, both of Toronto. With much gratitude to staff and nurses at the Grace, and special thanks to Dr. Beverly Smith, Dr. Kate Whitehead, Chaplain Sharon Hayward and Social Worker Jodi-Zaitz Dubin. Thanks also for the kindness of staff and caregivers at Wellesley Central Place, Toronto. Donations to The Salvation Army, Toronto Grace Health Centre, 650 Church St., Toronto M4Y 2GS. Tel: 416-925-2251 Fax: 416-925-3211. www.torontograce.org
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Published in the Toronto Star on Jan. 29, 2014