Robert J. Tolmie
Robert James Tolmie
February 6, 1945 - October 2, 2020
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die.” (Eccles. 3.1-2)
In the darkest moment of Bob’s pilgrimage of life, a shadowy figure slowly slipped into the room. Bob looked up, a little startled and perhaps a little afraid. As the visitor reached out to touch Bob’s shoulder, the room was suddenly bathed in a comfortingly subdued light, and in that light Bob beheld the figure’s face, radiant with courage, compassion, and comfort. “Do not be afraid,” said the figure, “for there will be no more pain or sorrow. The time has come.”
With that, the figure took Bob by the hand. Thereupon Bob got easily out of bed: something he had not done in years. He thrust his shoulders back: something he had not been able to do for years. He lifted his head from his chest, and looked steadily forward: something that he had not been able to do for years.
As they began to walk away from the bed, Bob glanced back. There, lifeless, lay the husk of a body, emaciated and contorted by years of disease and suffering. “Thank you,” said Bob to his guide, “I’m free at last, free at last.”
The figure let go of Bob’s hand, and Bob walked forward, confident and comforted. At that moment he embraced, and was embraced by, eternal rest. Free at last, free at last.
Bob was predeceased by his father, Andrew, his biological mother, Laura, stepmother Gertrude, and stepsister Marilyn Manchen He is survived by his sister, Marilyn Smyth (late William) and step-brother Ron Manchen (Linda).
Bob also leaves behind his best friend, spouse and soul-mate of over fifty years, Brian Shaw. It was a marriage of true minds that admitted no impediments but was an ever-fixed mark.
Bob was one of those people who was truly happy in his work. After a summer job in a government program, he had so impressed his bosses with his skill and diligence that their letters of recommendation helped him secure an entry level position at City Hall. Soon he rose to become Secretary to the Board of Control as well as secretary to many standing and ad hoc committees. When the position of Assistant City Clerk became vacant, Bob was the natural choice. After his retirement in 1990, London found itself without a City Clerk, and Bob was asked to return as Acting Clerk, a temporary position that he held for almost a year.
The happiest moments in Bob’s life were those he spent in poring over seed catalogues, scouring nurseries for the perfect specimen, planting and tending his garden, and simply enjoying the nature’s beauty. He also found pleasure in listening to operatic and orchestral music, in reading, and in entertaining friends and family.
Bob’s friends and family wish to acknowledge their gratitude to the many health care professionals who made it possible for Bob to spend his last few days at home. Especial thanks go to Dr. Acktar and the team of palliative caregivers, especially his nurse Christine, who ensured that Bob’s passing was both painless and dignified.
In keeping with Bob’s requests, there will be no visitation or funeral service. Cremation has taken place. Those wishing to honour his memory are asked to make a donation to a cause of choice.
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