110 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 1 JANUARY 2021
I was dressed to the nines in a suit and tie. Tom wore an open shirt and
cowboy boots. I got the job on the condition that I never wear a suit to the
office again. Tom disdained pretense and arrogance. He loved truth and
integrity. We were an odd combination. I had grown up in a privileged family
on the west side. Tom had grown up in the school of hard knocks. Yet we
bonded. We shared common values.
Tom became my mentor and my friend. He saw strengths in me that I did
not see in myself. He brought out those strengths and encouraged me to
grow as a lawyer. Within a year or two, he severed his connection with the
Maple Ridge lawyers and we became partners. We stayed together for ten
years. Towards the end of our time together, he made the decision to semiretire.
He decided to work from home (something rarely done in those
years) and encouraged me to move on to greener pastures. We parted as
Tom fully retired on December 31, 2010. He spent his retirement years
helping his family. He particularly enjoyed spending time with his son
Evan at his commercial nursery in Creston where he would pot roses, prune
fruit trees and pick cherries. He returned to his farming roots.
During his retirement years, Tom found pleasure investigating his Welsh
and Newfoundland heritage and even taught himself the Welsh language.
He and his wife Linda travelled to Wales, Ireland, England and Continental
Europe. Whenever I spoke to them, they seemed to be laughing, even in the
face of his terrible prognosis. When I subsequently spoke to Tom on the
phone (I was not permitted to visit on account of COVID-19), I was expecting
him to be somber. He was not. He told me that he had lived a full and
complete life and that he was content.
Tom is survived by his wife Linda, his children and their spouses
(Rowena, Frank, Gwynneth, Brad, Evan, Wendy, Megan and Dave), his nine
grandchildren and his two great-grandchildren. He is sorely missed by his
family, his friends and his colleagues at the bar.
Richard M. Wenner