On March 4, 2012, our family was saddened by the passing of our wonderful husband, Grampa, Great-Grampa, and friend to so many. Thomas William Fleming, 81, passed away peacefully with his loving and devoted wife Betty at his side at Chilliwack General Hospital after a long illness which he courageously accepted without complaint. Each time Tom was hospitalized and regained some measure of health, he would say “God must have something more he wants me to do, so he is not ready for me yet”.
Tom was born March 14, 1930 in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan to parents Thomas and Margaret (Anderson) Fleming. He was predeceased by his older siblings; brother Jack and sister Mary.
Tom met the love of his life, Betty Mae Fitch, in Prince Albert in 1945. They married December 27, 1949, and enjoyed 62 beautiful years of marriage. Tom was blessed with two children; daughter Gwendolyn (Lynn) Willis born September 28, 1950, and his son Thomas (Tim) Fleming born March 6, 1954. Sadly, Lynn passed away in 2007. Tom loved being a grandfather, and had 5 grandchildren; Andrea, Michael, and Victoria Willis, and Hali and Danika Fleming. He was proud to be known as “Grampa Great”, a name coined by his first great-grandchild Kylie Willis, daughter of Andrea. Michael and his wife Karen continued that tradition with their children Parker and Payten Willis. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren alike always looked forward to being entertained by Tom, his sense of humour will be remembered and treasured, even ‘bad mouse’.
Tom graduated from Prince Albert Collegiate and later attended the University of Alberta for two years, studying courses in Management. After a transfer to Vancouver, he finished his schooling at UBC. He had a passion for learning which stayed with him all his life, and he was honoured when asked to conduct seminars in both Canada and the US. He was a member of RSES International, an organization which he was proud to become President of in 1994.
Tom and Betty were keen travellers, visiting many places all over the world. Tom’s work had him residing in the 3 western provinces of Canada. When Tom and Betty moved to Chilliwack in 2006, he told Betty that “Chilliwack is the best kept secret in the world”, but his heart and his home will always be Maple Ridge.
There will be a celebration of Tom’s life on Friday, March 9, 2012 at 1 pm at Cooke’s Presbyterian Church. Following the service, guests are invited to a reception in the church hall. In lieu of flowers, donations in Tom’s memory can be made to Cooke’s Presbyterian Church Memorial Fund.
Online condolences can be left at www.hendersonsfunerals.com