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Obituary of Thomas Henry HUBBARD
HUBBARD, Thomas (Tom) Henry July 4, 1923 – March 27, 2021 On March 27, 2021, with family at his side, Tom peacefully passed away after a long and wonderful life of nearly 98 years. A man of quiet strength, wisdom, and patience he was a true gentleman and a hero to those privileged to know him, most importantly his family. Tom was predeceased by his parents Frank & Annie Hubbard, his wife of 60 years Veryl, his daughter-in-law Barb Hubbard and siblings & in-laws, Jack (Mary) Hubbard, Kathleen (Harold) Linnen, Garry (Alice) Hubbard, Bert Hubbard, Nelson Mills and Dorothy Hubbard. Left to mourn are his partner of ten years, Elsie Hay; his children Lanny Hubbard, Dawn (Ron) Rittberg, Brad (Kathy) Hubbard and Laurie (David) Ridgway; grandchildren & great grandchildren Chris Hubbard (Hendrik), Jocelyn (Jeff) Nielsen (Kaelyn & Marlowe), Rebekah Rittberg, Taryn Rittberg, Joe Hubbard, Ryan (Lynn) Ridgway (Annika) and Megan (Trevor) Wakefield; sister Dora Mills and brother Jim Hubbard; and many nieces, nephews & extended family. Tom was the third child of Frank & Annie born on July 4, 1923 near Truax, Saskatchewan. Growing up on the prairies during the “dirty thirties” was a challenge and an adventure. Tom excelled in everything that he undertook as a child, a young man, and throughout his life. He was Mrs. Van Dine’s special helper in the one room schoolhouse, often taking her buggy to town to do errands, having finished his work perfectly and quickly. As a young teenager with older brother Jack as catcher, he became an exceptional left-handed pitcher helping the Moorefield Grasshoppers become stiff competition at local sports days. His childhood was filled with adventure, a few mishaps, many shared with younger brothers Garry and Bert. Immediately after completing grade 12 at age 19, Tom enlisted in the RCAF to serve in WW II. He aspired to be a pilot, despite an apparent susceptibility to airsickness. He would not be deterred and with perseverance, determination and two years of strenuous training he graduated as a General Reconnaissance pilot. Since the RAF needed GR pilots, Tom was attached to the RAF Coastal Command Squadron stationed in Leuchars, Scotland. He flew Liberators over the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans until the cessation of European hostilities in May 1945. He then rejoined his RCAF squadron, moving troops into the Far East theatre of operation and returning troops to Britain. After Victory in Japan in August Tom supplied the Allied Forces in Europe, and finally, returned aircraft to Canada. His final flight for the RCAF occurred in May 1946, during which the survival of the crew and aircraft depended on Tom’s celestial navigation skills learned as a GR pilot. They were lost over the Atlantic at night due to a navigational error. Tom performed star sightings, calculations and course corrections allowing them to reach Labrador safely with essentially no fuel remaining. This became a favourite story to tell his grandchildren. Tom met Veryl, his first love, as a teenager but their love grew through their letters while he was in training and serving overseas. Upon his discharge from the RCAF Tom began his second career, farming close to his and Veryl’s families. They married on October 13, 1947 and remained on the farm until January 1962. During those years, their four children were born and together they met every challenge the prairies could muster. They were a formidable team, raising cattle, pigs, poultry, and horses in addition to the main farm business of grain production. Tom built a new home for the growing family with all the modern amenities, and he was a driving force in the region to have electricity delivered to rural farm properties. Rural life became increasingly challenging in the 1960s and Tom and Veryl believed that their young family would be better served in an urban location. Tom undertook his third career beginning 24 years of service with Transport Canada. The new job took them to Winnipeg where the family flourished. The four children graduated from university and established themselves in lifelong careers in engineering, agriculture and science, accomplishments of which Tom was deeply proud. Besides his work and leadership in the Air Traffic Control Centre of the Winnipeg International Airport, he was both a Cub and Scout leader for many years and served as a founding member of St. Chad’s Anglican parish. Retirement for Tom in 1986 took the couple to beautiful BC, where he has spent the last 35 years enjoying the well-deserved fruits of his life's labour. He set up the woodworking shop of his dreams and built several beautiful oak rolltop desks, bedroom suites, entertainment cabinetry among many other projects. Square dancing, travelling and gardening filled the rest of his early retirement, all shared with Veryl. After Veryl’s death 14 years ago Tom was initially lost. He regained his love of life when Elsie convinced him to return to square dancing. Elsie had lost her husband Bob the year before Veryl’s passing, and Elsie’s and Tom’s shared square dancing experiences and community brought them together. They have shared wonderful years together in the strata in Sidney. Bowling, theatre, cribbage nights, up island trips, and gardening have kept them active and happy. Tom only started to slow and struggle in the last months and we are grateful that we have shared in his long life. We miss him terribly but know that he is in a better place now with family and his beloved Veryl. We take comfort in our memories and in knowing that he is at peace. Due to COVID restrictions a celebration of life is delayed. A donation to a charity of your choosing is greatly appreciated. Finally Dawn, Brad and Laurie want to express our deepest gratitude to Lanny and his family for the years of care for Dad. Your devotion and patience ensured his independence and dignity until the end. We can never repay you adequately, but we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
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