Thomas, Melvin, passed away peacefully on September 13 at Comox Valley Senior’s Village in Courtenay where he had resided for the past two and a half years. Mel was born in Ladysmith, B.C. He learned the cooking trade at a young age as a student at Vancouver Vocational Institute and went on to a successful career. This included a year and half as chef on the DEW Line in Canada’s north in the mid 1950’s. After moving to Courtenay in the late 1960’s Mel was hired by G.P. Vanier School where he taught for twenty two years.. His challenge was to develop a student operated cafeteria program.. At that time the concept was quite unique in the province. The program he developed gave many students the opportunity to work in a first class preparation facility. Many of his students moved on to become chefs and all gained a working knowledge of basic food preparation. Mel was a master teacher and continued to speak fondly of his students long after his retirement. Upon retirement, he became one of the founding members of the Comox District Retired Teachers Association.
Mel married Frances (Tolman) in 1965 and together they shared many happy hours together with friends and giving freely of their time and talents at Comox United Church and at various community events. They shared a love of travel and enjoyed a number of ocean cruises together. When not cruising or making pies for the church UCW, Mel loved his garden, did much reading and had a deep love of ships and the sea.
His dear Frances passed away in 2012, leaving Mel survived by a sister: Ann Berryhill of London, Ontario, his brother-in-law Gordon Tolman (Linda) of Richmond, B.C., brother-in-law Bruce Tolman of Vancouver and several nephews.
A memorial Service will be held at Comox United Church Saturday September 28, 2013 at 1:00 p.m Rev. Maggie Enwright officiating.