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Tom Swift Remembered

September 9th, tomorrow, is the 6th anniversary of my father's death, from a blood-clot in hospital, while recovering from surgery on his brain for cancer.  He was a kind, gentle, witty man, very shy, insecure, nervous.  But he was proud of his rise from a working-class Irish-Canadian background to become the youngest director of admissions at a North American university, in the late 60s, after leaving behind a promising music career as a recording artist with Decca and London records.  He did an excellent job at Sir George Williams, later Concordia, university.  He put students first.  He had a great voice, loved to sing, play baseball, swim, and was good with animals.  He was very loyal to his friends, compassionate with students, and protective of his family.  Sadly, he suffered from anxiety and depression, which he tried to deal with by drinking too much.  However, after a difficult period in his Forties, and after a mild stroke, he sorted out his demons, and was happily retired, for a few years, when the cancer struck at age 64.  By 66 he was dead.  His funeral  was a large event, with hundreds of former students, employees, colleagues, and friends, converging on the tiny quaint Protestant Church in St-Lambert where he had been married, almost exactly 40 years before.  His illness was painful, slow, humiliating, and he faced it bravely, and head on, enduring several trying and innovative surgical interventions, having to relearn to speak after the first operation.  Life is cruel.  My father was kind.  He is survived by his brother Graham, his wife, Margaret, and his two sons, Jordan and Todd, and their families.
Tom Swift, with my mother, Margaret, at my wedding, June 6, 2003, Co. Louth, Ireland


Poetry Pleases! said…
Dear Todd

Sorry to hear about this. My own father died of cancer aged 74 and my mother of a heart attack aged 55. At any age, losing your parents is a major shock and the realisation that from now on, you'll have to face life without their support can be quite frightening.

Best wishes from Simon
Poetry Pleases! said…
Dear Todd

I have just read your poignant obituary on your father Tom Swift. He sounds like a wonderful man and I'm sure you must miss him very much, but he will be with you always.

Regards from Rusty and Simon Gladdish
Anonymous said…
That's a very sincere and touching tribute, Todd.

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