Thomas Speakman Barnett, born September 3, 1909 in Red Deer Alberta, died peacefully at home in Comox, B.C. on June 5, 2003.
Tom will be dearly missed by his wife of 60 years, Ruth (nee Pidcock) of Comox, his sister Winifred Healy of California, his daughter Nancy Bosomworth and her sons Alan and Shane of Vancouver, and his son Paul and his partner Shelly Hollingshead of Black Creek.
Tom spent his childhood at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta and Genoa Bay near Duncan. He was educated at Bridgeport High School in Richmond and the University of British Columbia. Tom had a varied and interesting work history which included serving as a student missionary for the United Church of Canada, placer mining, editing a newspaper and working in and managing a sawmill. Tom was manager of the Alberni and District Co-op, the first employee of the Alberni and District Credit Union and a long-serving executive member of the IWA, Local 1-85.
Foremost in Tom’s life was a devotion to public service. He served as a school trustee in Wells, BC in the 1930’s, was an alderman of the former City of Alberni between 1959 and 1962 and was the Mayor of the District of Campbell River from 1976 – 1980. He was honoured to be the first Freeman of Campbell River. Tom was most proud of having the privilege to be the CCF/NDP Member of Parliament for Comox-Alberni for seven terms — 18 years — between 1953 and 1974. The area stretched from Port Alberni across and to the north end of, Vancouver Island, including the northern Gulf Islands and a large part of the Central Coast.
Throughout his life, Tom was a proud and dedicated democratic socialist who constantly demonstrated his belief in the equality of all persons, no matter what their means and heritage. He was committed to addressing the concerns of all residents of his far-flung constituency and was a tireless advocate for the First Nations People.
Tom was a humble and self-effacing man. His good humour, kindness, and intelligence affected all who had the pleasure of knowing him. A gathering to remember and honour Tom will be held on Saturday, June 21 at 2:00 p.m. at the Campbell River Community Centre. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to your local Food Bank.