D. THOMAS obituary (1927 – 2022) – Toronto, ON – 71Bait

D. WYNNE THOMAS Wynne Thomas died Friday, April 8, 2022 in Picton, Prince Edward County, Ontario after living nearly 95 years. He was born on 24 September 1927 in Blaengarw, Wales to Llewellyn and Florence Thomas but spent most of his young life in Caersws, Wales. He had two siblings; his sister Doris, who died before he was born, and his older brother, who died in the early 1950s, as did his parents. Wynne was an exceptional student in his young years, but World War II intervened and he never pursued post-secondary education. Instead he joined the Royal Air Force, although not soon enough to actually take part in dogfights. Despite this, he learned to fly, a passion he pursued for most of his adult life. During his time in the RAF he was based in Gibraltar and later Paris where he honed his intellectual and athletic skills between flights by playing chess, billiards, table tennis and the occasional rugby, among other youthful pursuits. After demobilisation, Wynne began his career in journalism, first in small Welsh weeklies and then in a Cardiff daily. However, when he was denied a job in one of Britain’s most prestigious newspapers, he decided to seek his future in North America and arrived in Montreal in the 1960s virtually penniless. To make ends meet, he took a job as a night watchman on the docks, but soon found employment in the Canadian Pacific Railway’s publicity department. Wynne progressed and, after working at the AC Neilson Company in Toronto, took a job as editor of a new magazine called Stimulus. Wynne had several outside interests during his time in Toronto, the most important of which was flying gliders. He joined a club near Rockton, Ontario and was so knowledgeable that he became one of Canada’s first certified glider instructors. He was in his element, either gliding or flying long distances. Wynne was also an avid art collector, restoring antique clocks and regulators, as well as antique barograph barometers (which were later no doubt inspired by his aviator’s concern about the coming weather). He also started bird watching. While in Toronto, he hired Barbara Moon, an accomplished freelance journalist, to write an article for his magazine. They quickly realized that they were soul mates, shared many interests and together could definitely be counted among the city’s social and literary elite. They married in 1968 and began life together in a small apartment east of the Beach District. They then bought a lovely house in Thornhill. Their last home in Toronto was a house overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs, where they developed a home remodeling urge, an urge that continued for many years to come. At about the time of his marriage, Wynne accepted a position as Communications Director at Imperial Oil, where he was responsible for publishing the company’s report and annual reports, as well as other duties such as writing speeches for senior management. He worked there with distinction for 22 years. After retiring in the late 1990s, Wynne and Barbara bought a farm in Point Petre, Prince Edward County, and then undertook a major renovation of the farmhouse. Upon completion, they set about becoming a permanent part of the county and making many friends. They joined other enthusiasts to promote the cinema and attended or hosted social events, including a smoked salmon soiree at the farm. Wynne became a member of the so-called Shadow Cabinet, a group that broadened her interest and satisfied her curiosity by arranging tours of local businesses followed by a fine meal at one of the county’s fine restaurants. Barbara and Wynne also supported the artist community by investing in the work of various local artists. At the same time, they continued their professional careers and formed Editors at Large to undertake writing and editing duties on a freelance basis. Around 2007 they sold the farm and moved to Picton where, unsurprisingly, they converted a house overlooking the harbour. But before the renovations were complete in 2009, Barbara contracted viral encephalitis and died shortly thereafter. Wynne was, of course, devastated. Despite this, he persevered and continued to be a pillar of the community. His final home was a beautiful bungalow in Picton, where he enjoyed hanging out with his friends, reading books, magazines and newspapers, and being surrounded by art and antiques. Besides being an interesting man, Wynne was intelligent, well-read, and worldly. He could carry on a conversation effortlessly, with wit and charm, and had an opinion on almost every topic or event. It’s fair to say, however, that he didn’t take fools lightly. In the end he just succumbed to old age and died in Picton Hospital. He is survived in Canada by two nephews, Graham and Scott Murray; and their families; as well as relatives in Wales and elsewhere. The family would like to thank the caregivers who have helped Wynne lead an independent life over the past few years, particularly Cindy Pilon. She would also like to thank John Clarke for acting as Wynne’s power of attorney during the difficult months leading up to his death. Finally, she would like to thank Peta Hall, a dear friend of Wynne’s, who was able to comfort him in his final hours. Mr. Thomas is buried at the Rushnell Funeral Home – Picton Chapel, 33 Main Street West, Picton (613-476-2450). The memorial service will take place on Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 2 p.m. in the chapel, with visitors for 1 hour before the service. Rev. Fran Langlois officiates. His ashes will be interred alongside those of his wife Barbara and their family in the Victoria Lawn Cemetery in St. Catharines, Ontario on a date to be determined. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice. To offer condolences online and share memories of Wynne, please visit: www.rushnellfamilyservices.com

Published by The Globe and Mail April 13-17, 2022.

Leave a Comment