Dr. Tom Saunders, a man beloved and cherished by all who knew him, passed away peacefully on Monday, May 12, 2008 with his family by his side.
In his 86 years he touched many lives, leading by gentle example and living his life with tremendous compassion and enthusiasm. Tom was a vital force, enjoying golf and skiing until his illness took hold late last year. Tom was born in Biggar, SK on November 2, 1921. He spent summers as a teen on a threshing gang, until he joined the RCAF in 1939. He started as a Wireless Air Gunner, flying reconnaissance missions over the North Sea from 1940 until 1943. In June of that year he was invited to attend Flight Training School where he earned his Pilot’s Wings. After active service Tom completed his pre-medical studies at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. He was subsequently accepted at McGill University Medical School, graduating in 1951. While at McGill, Tom met his future wife Bertie, a pharmacist, at the Royal Victoria Hospital. In June of 1949, Tom and Bertie married in Montreal, eventually moving to Edmonton where Tom completed his internship. Tom and Bertie settled in Calgary in 1952. As involved citizens in the Calgary community, Tom and Bertie raised their seven children in Elboya, Kelvin Grove and Redwood Meadows.
Tom worked as a general practitioner from 1952-1968. He moved on to help develop the Ambulatory Care Centre at the Foothills Hospital before becoming a founding faculty member of the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine. Tom was appointed Associate Professor and director of the Division of Family Practice from 1968-1972. In 1976 he received his Master’s Degree in Medical Education from Michigan State University. Tom was promoted to Full Professor in 1977. His passion for life-long learning touched many lives. In addition to his clinical and teaching responsibilities at the university, Tom was the Calgary Director for the Post Graduate Training Program for rural Nepali physicians from 1981-1987. Bertie and Tom lived in Kathmandu for eight months during these years. Retiring in 1986, he was not idle for long, deciding to combine his life long passion for golf with his interest in hypnosis. This culminated in the publication of Mind-Body Golf, a book exploring the integration of self-hypnosis and the game of golf.
Tom was predeceased by his wife of fifty-five years, Bertie, his sister Margaret, and his brothers, Francis and Bill. Tom is survived by his sisters, Bess, Eleanor and Hazel (Bill); brother, Nelson (Barb) of Calgary; brother-in-law, Hector of Montreal, QC and sister-in-law Eileen of Timmins, ON. The legacy of Tom and Bertie now lives on in their children, Marie (Wayne) Patton of Calgary, Tom (Sue Pors) Saunders of Edmonton, Jim (Jane) Saunders of Rocky Mountain House, Corinne Saunders of Calgary, Mike (Linda) Saunders of Houston, TX, David (Christie) Chaplin-Saunders of Chester, NS and Elizabeth (Mark) Van der Wee of Calgary and fourteen grandchildren, Mike (Rhonda), Kathleen, Lauren, Meagan, Tommy, Christopher, Amy, Marc, Marie, Emily, Graeme, Jacob, Ian and Elliott.
Relatives and friends are invited to Prayers and Tributes at McINNIS & HOLLOWAY’S “Park Memorial Chapel” (5008 Elbow Drive South West) on May 15, 2008 at 7:00 P.M.
Funeral Mass will be Celebrated at Holy Name Catholic Church (2223 – 34th Street S.W.) on Friday, May 16, 2008 at 11:00 A.M. Forward condolences through www.mcinnisandholloway.com. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made directly to Hospice Calgary, Suite 900 833 – 4 Avenue S.W., Calgary, AB T2P 3T5, Telephone: (403) 263-4525, www.hospicecalgary.com. The family would like to thank the Physicians and Nurses at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, the Palliative Home Care Team, as well as all the staff at Rosedale Hospice.
In living memory of Dr. Tom Saunders, a tree will be planted at Fish Creek Provincial Park by McINNIS & HOLLOWAY FUNERAL HOMES Park Memorial Chapel, 5008 ELBOW DRIVE S.W. Telephone: (403) 243-8200.Print This Obituary & Condolences