MORTON, Tom Kenny
September 27th, 1930 – November 18th, 2011
On the morning of Friday, November 18th, 2011, Tom Kenny Morton peacefully passed away. Tom was born and raised on the Columbia River Narrows on September 27th, 1930 to World War One Veteran Frank Morton and School Teacher, Lottie Miner Morton.
From a very young age Tom was instilled with the value of hard work and determination as he and his four brothers, Frank, George, Val and Curry with a team of horses, hand cleared 200 acres of land. As result of a lot of blood, sweat and tears, the Morton boys developed the homestead into a successful cattle ranch. Alongside his dad and his brothers, Tom became an excellent shot and shot his first bear at 10 years old. In the 1950’s, Tom moved from the family homestead and began to raise a family in Arrow Park as a Chokerman, Faller, Lumberpiler and Truck Driver. Tom could land a tree where ever he wanted as many non believers lost bets when they placed their stake in the ground only to have it flattened by Tom’s tree. At the age of 32, Tom was involved in a major logging accident that severely injured his leg. He retrained as a Heavy Duty Mechanic with Columbia Cellulose and began working as a field mechanic for Celgar. When the family homestead was expropriated by BC Hydro in the 1969 as well as his own home in Arrow Park, Tom moved to Vernon where he worked as a field mechanic for International Harvester dealership where his passion for International trucks, tractors, machinery and stationary engines began.
After the break up of his first marriage, Tom moved to the Queen Charlotte Islands with his son Jim and worked as a field mechanic. It was here that Tom was reconnected with his long time friend, Herbie Hampton and his family, which are days he always spoke of fondly and with a sparkle in his eye. His health caused him to relocate to Black Creek where he began work as an inside shop mechanic for MacMillan Blodel at Menzies Bay. It was also at this time in his life where Tom met and married Michele on August 3rd, 1982. At the age of 52, Tom began to raise another young family.
In Black Creek, Tom spent a great deal to time in his shop restoring cars, tractors, powersaws and old engine, all of which he had significant collections of. He loved to share his knowledge with others and if you had the chance to spend time with him in his shop it was well spent as you always left with a humorous story and quite often a new skill. Tom was also an inventor and would make do with what he had around. Some of his creations included woodsplitters, buckets and blades for tractors and other farm machinery.
Every spring and summer, Tom and his family would tend to a large garden. Tom spent a great deal of time tending to his green house where he grew his beloved tomatoes. If anyone every looked after his greenhouse, there was a skilled way in which you watered and fertlized as he came up with the perfect tomato. Tom also loved his corn field and would always let everyone know if was not up to “snuff.” Tom’s nemesis was broom and racoons that stole his grapes and ate his corn just as they were to be picked. Tom spent hours devising ways to diminish the racoon population and came up with many traps and inventions but they always seemed to “get away.”
Tom had many humorous one liners that made life issues seem so much simpler. You would often leave his presence a little lighter and with a smile in your heart, as he would remind you of life’s simple lessons. His parting words at the door were “take care and drive safely.” He was a father figure to many that came into his life as he provided guidance and stability when you need it most. Tom also had a strong belief that girls were just as capable as boys as there was no difference for him.
Tom achieved his lifetime wish to play the violin and began lesson at the age of 75. Tom received huge enjoyment from this accomplishment and would often say, “when I play, my leg doesn’t hurt.” Tom looked forward to his weekly Jam session and practised diligently for hours. It became his greatest pleasure in his final years.
In his last years, Courtenay became his final home place where he spent time in his shop working on his gun collection, joking with neighbours as he walked his faithful companion, Missy, and recruiting anyone to help him pick walnuts and rid the world of broom.
Tom is survived by wife, Michele, daughters Debra (Perry), Brenda (Dwayne) and Andrea (Micah) along with son Jim, many grandchildren, great grandchildren and brother Curry (Pat).
Tom’s ashes will be returned to the Arrow Lakes to a spot he chose and a celebration of life will take place at a later date.
“Take care, drive carefully,” there will be a party up in heaven for you tonight.