Obituary of Thomas Frederick Robson
ROBSON, Thomas Frederick left this life reluctantly but peacefully on June, 2nd, 2021 at the VG site, QEII Hospital. He leaves behind family and friends who are heartbroken but so proud of the way he dealt with his health struggles over the last few years. Always a writer and storyteller, he penned this obituary in the months before he passed.
Proud of his Yorkshire heritage, he was born in Leeds on June 16th, 1936. Tom was the only child of the late Fred and Vera (Oliphant) Robson.
He was never a disciplined student but was educated and taught in the New Forest, Hampshire, for most of twenty years, interrupted by a two year stint in the Royal Navy where he developed his love of travel. Then he began university experiences and successes that the 11+ system decreed that he was not appropriate for.
His 38 year teaching career began with secondary students but he moved on to work in schools with problem youth.
One of Tom's best days was in 1971 when he brought his young family to Canada. Five years later his life changed and a renewal came with marriage to Barb Caplan which lasted forty five happy years, most of them in Nova Scotia. Lynsey's arrival compensated, in part, for the distancing from her three elder siblings in Ontario. Even so, the connection has been positive but, regretfully too infrequent.
Tom found his teaching niche in elementary education. He was proud to have been a founding staff member at Holland Road School when teachers, parents and students could mold the institution to the needs of the community, without excessive bureaucratic interference, and students seemed more important than outcomes or 'deliverables'.
Tom's lifetime interest in a number of sports was marked by an enthusiasm that far exceded his ability as player or coach. Cricket was akin to a religion for his first thirty years. A regret is that he will not be around to see the return to glory for “Les Habs”. Leeds United rewarded Tom for his seventy five years of support by winning promotion to the top football echelon. Tom's earlier obsession, his golf game, is best left without commentary.
Writing is an art of creation that Tom enjoyed in the second half of his life. He has left a body of work, some of it inspired by, and for his students. The novel that he felt was inside him was writtten in his eightieth year and followed his published memoir, “Written WhiIe I Still Remember” and preceded his poetry anthology. Travel was also a source of inspiration for story writing and poetry. Quantity probably exceeds quality.
Starting at age 17, Tom visited 48 countries, many in the company of Barb, his fellow traveller and adventurer.
Tom leaves behind his wife, his best friend and redeemer, Barb (Caplan), sons Paul (Ann) and David (Cheryl), of London Ont., daughters Katy (Bruce), London, Ont., and Lynsey (Justin), of Dartmouth. Grandchildren Julian, Dylan, Ashley, Vera, Samantha, Amy, Alexandra, Isaac, Emma and Ridley are all in the London area, as well as great grandchildren. It is regrettable that life did not allow more time to be spent with all these families. Tom was comforted in that he became a loving supportive husband to Barb and father to Lynsey, when offered a new opportunity.
There will be a gathering of family and friends in London, Ontario at a later date when current restrictions due to Covid 19 allow it, probably in the summer of 2022. Arrangements and cremation have been entrusted to T.J. Tracey Cremation and Burial Specialists, Halifax. To leave words of comfort and condolences for the family, please visit www.tjtracey.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the QEII Foundation, the Red Cross or the VON. The family would like to thank all the nurses and doctors in Hematology and on 8A of the VG Hospital who helped Tom through his illness and final days.