1936 - 2018
It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Thomas George Blake in Taber on January 15, 2018 at the age of 81 years.
Relatives and friends were invited to meet with the family at the Royal Canadian Legion, 5205 – 48 Avenue, Taber on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 at 6:00 P.M.
Thomas is survived by his wife Clara and their children Thomas Fredrick Blake, Debbie Blake, Dorothy Alice Blake and William (Bill) Anthony Blake; grandchildren Audrey Louise Blake, Devin Thomas Pollitt and Nathan Thomas Blake; great grandchildren Breanna Marie Blake, Dahlia-Mae Elizabeth Blake, Edward Blake, Elena Jenifer Blake, Freya Griffith Pollitt, Lilly Marie Blake and Mickey Blake. He is also survived by his sister Betty (Elmer) Halvorson.
He was predeceased by his parents and his sister Lilly (Jimmy) Whitwicky.
Thomas was born in Provost to Fredrick Ernest Blake and Alice Jane Mons James. He was the youngest of three children which included his sisters Lilly and Betty. Thomas spent most his childhood in Alberta and British Columbia, with his parents spending a number of years farming. He left home in his younger years to join the Canadian Armed Forces in 1952, before becoming a graduate of the Provo-core regiment, which was a disciplinary unit at the time. Thomas later drove an armored unit in Korea for a short time, and was then transferred to CFB – Camp Gagetown, New Brunswick, where he met the beautiful Clara Chamberlain, a French-Canadian debutante. The two fell in love, got married and began a sixty year journey together, which took them around the globe and back again, starting with a move to London, England, where Thomas joined a military police unit.
Not long after moving to London, their first son Thomas Jr. was born. They spent four years in London, travelling around Europe while there. Thomas’ father Fredrick, was born in Christchurch, England and many of the Blakes’ reside in England still, including an old pub in Dursley founded by the Blake family over one hundred years ago. After four years in England, Thomas and Clara returned to Canada and Thomas honourably discharged from the Canadian Armed Forces to focus on a dream of owning a farm. After a number of years working in Alberta, their daughter Debbie was born in Ashcroft, British Columbia. The family farmed there for a number of years, then moved to Enderby, British Columbia where their youngest daughter Dorothy was born. Later, Thomas’ parents Fredrick and Alice, moved to Enderby, British Columbia and bought a farm, where they would spend the remainder of their days and retire. Thomas, Clara and children then moved to Lac La Hache, British Columbia, where William “Bill” was later born and they would spend the next thirty years. They bought a small farm property on the edge of Lac La Hache lake, off Dodge Road, which was perfect because Thomas loved Dodge trucks, especially ones that needed love and care. It was this place that Thomas really loved - the country side, the dry summers, the view of the lake and Clancys Diner, where he could visit his buddies and have coffee. Thomas started a water well drilling company with Ray Rosaneau and the two drilled the majority of the water wells throughout that region. Later, Thomas expanded into logging and slashing.
He loved the outdoors including fishing and hunting. He was also known for having lots of friends and loving to visit and have visitors. Some folks called him “magnum Tom”, but most knew him as “Old Tom” or “Big Tom”. He would share stories of his times with his buddy “Jack under the truck”, where one time Tom made Jack fetch the drive-shaft from his truck that flew off the truck and down Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump - Jack managed to find it. Thomas was of the same generation as Clint Eastwood, John Wayne and Lee Marvin, where how it looked and sounded didn’t matter, but getting things done did! Thomas worked hard his whole life and wasn’t much to complain. He loved a great game of crib, a cup of tea, a view and to watch films on the War. Falling asleep in his chair was a favorite thing. After thirty years in British Columbia, many of the kids had left home and Thomas and Clara moved to Taber, where they resided until his passing and Clara still resides today.
Thomas lived at Linden View Lodge in Taber for many years. The staff at Linden View cared for him well and they deserve praise and the utmost respect from the family for the exceptional care they provided. We thank all of you. Carin Jensen (pharmacist); Dr. Rasmussen (family MD), we thank you greatly for the care and attention you provided, you went over and above! Thank you to the Taber branch of the Royal Canadian Legion for your support and honor of Thomas and the service he dedicated to his country. We all love and miss you Thomas – Rest in Peace!