Longtime Courtenay Fire Department member and Comox Valley resident Tom Slater passed away after a brief illness on Nov. 5. A celebration of Tom’s life will take place at the Florence Filberg Centre on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 11 a.m.
In this letter submitted to The Record, Tom’s close friend, Peter Rehor, expresses his sorrow on the news of Tom’s passing.
I could not have been further away from you when you left us. It was a cold and dark night in the the middle of Prague, the place we always hoped to visit together.
Losing a friend is always hard, but only you would know how hard is this one for me, my friend. I knew from losing Lorne, more than a couple of decades before, that there is a never good time to say goodbye and and it is always too soon. That time we both experienced a deep sorrow that made our friendship stronger and our lives full of determination.
Today, there are no words I can add to perhaps too many I told you over the last 35 years, except these two I have never had chance to tell you before… thank you and I will miss you, Tom.
I thank you for being there for me at any time I needed you. I thank you for sharing with me our love for triathlons, skiing and adventure. But most of all I thank you for making me understand the difference between what is right and and what is wrong and a value of giving, as you did throughout your life. Your courage and perseverance you have shown over and over in completing and winning a plethora of the Ironman triathlons come a distant second to the level of commitment you always had to people’s lives around you.
I will miss you Tom. But, I can promise you Tom, that I will swim across the Comox Lake, run from Mt. Washington to Forbidden Plateau, cycle our Courtenay – Nanaimo – Horseshoe Bay – Powell River – Comox bike route and keep alive many other “yes I can” adventures – we supported each other every step of the way. I will do it all knowing you are beside me (ahead of me) and enjoying your sense of humour. That will make it all feel easy as you always made it for me before, because our friendship.
Thank you and I will miss you Tom
Your Life-long friend