Tom was born in the Old Victorian Hospital in Kaslo on December 27, 1949, to Ted and Elaine Burns. He was very premature weighing just over 2lbs. It was touch and go for weeks but the nuns pulled him through by keeping him in a chick incubator to keep him warm. Mother, his brother Teddy and Betty Olsen brought him home to Ainsworth in the spring.
Tom was born with cerebral palsy which dogged Tom his entire life. At one point our family doctor told our mother not to have high expectations, “Life is likely to be a struggle for Tom”. The trouble was, no one told Tom that, so he just assumed he was normal and set out to do everything other boys did and did them well.
After Ainsworth, the family moved to Nelson and then on to California where Tom did well in school. Tom played Little League baseball and Pop Warner football. Tom also excelled at swimming and added a good deal of weight and muscle because of it.
The family returned to Nelson in the 1960’s where Tom played high school basketball for the LVR Bombers. After graduation, Tom went to Mt. Royal College in Calgary then on to UBC where he earned a teaching degree, he kept active playing hockey.
After graduating from UBC, Tom taught in Burns Lake, Fort St. John, Bella Bella, and numerous locations in the Kootenay’s as well as the Fraser Valley and SW States. Later in his teaching career he taught English in Japan, China, and Korea.
Tom was an avid traveler and was named after his maternal grandfather, Thomas Joseph Flynn, a world traveler himself.
Tom was well loved and a journey down Baker Street sometimes took him hours as he stopped and greeted friends with his infectious smile and laughter. He will be missed.
For all his wanderlust, there was one constant in Tom’s life, the one place he loved above all, Nelson.
Tom is survived buy his brother Teddy (Barbara), sisters Kathleen (Steve) and Susan. He is also survived by nephews Wes (Brooke), Darren (Arami), niece Jaclyn (Justin), great nephews Ethan, Ben, Blake and great niece Lauren and many cousins.
The family would like to thank Dr. Richard Milde for his dedication and care. The family would also like to thank the staff at Kootenay Lake Hospital and Mountain Lakes Seniors Community for their kindness and care.