Freak accident claims life of Arthur Tom

Arthur Tom will be remembered for his smiling face. (Facebook photo)

Arthur Tom will be remembered for his smiling face. (Facebook photo)

A friendly and familiar face always seen hanging around downtown Smithers has been laid to rest. Arthur Tom died on Oct. 17 in Smithers.

His sister Bernadine Tom said his death was very sudden. Her son got a phone call at work because he was next of kin. He didn’t know what condition Arthur was in, he just heard he fell down the stairs. Bernadine said her son stayed up that night then picked up family members from Prince George and brought them to Smithers.

Bernadine saw the video footage of him falling down the stairs and it appeared to be a freak accident.

“It looked like he died instantly,” she explained. “Once he was on the ground, he didn’t budge. It came as a whole shock to the whole family.”

The family held a small memorial for Arthur in the funeral home with a limited number of people.

On the way to Smithers, their vehicle broke down in Burns Lake but Bernadine said it was almost serendipitous.

“Arthur was very fond of suits,” she said. “He loved wearing them to church. We found a custom made suit in Burns Lake at a thrift shop, that seemed like it was made for him. The lady that donated it said it was made for her husband and he just passed. She overheard us talking and said her husband would have been so happy that we got it for my brother and it was going to be his last suit. He looked so sharp in it. I wish I could have seen it on him when he was alive. He would have been so proud.”

Tom said she will miss his smiling face and added for the most part he was always happy.

He always came to visit her and her family in Prince George for Christmas.

“This will be a hard Christmas,” she said. “We are so used to him coming. He would always have money in his hand, he would hand me some money and say, ‘for you sister, because I love you.’ It wasn’t about the money, he just wanted us to be happy. And he always called me sister. He made our Christmases complete. He always made us laugh, our pet name for him was monkey. He always did anything to make us laugh, he wanted to make everyone happy.”

Arthur’s other sister, Margaret, is most sad that she never really got to know him.

“I didn’t get to know him. I was away for 30 years. I was looking so forward to this Christmas because it would have been our first Christmas together. It is really bothering me,” she said through tears. “I was so looking forward to seeing him. But he is resting in peace now.”

Bernadine added she is grateful Arthur lived in Smithers and that he loved the community.

“That is where all of his support was,” she added. “I’m glad he had Smithers and the people were supportive of him. He had a church that was supportive of him. Some of the members that used to live in Smithers live in Prince George now and when he was visiting us, they would pick him up for church in Prince George. He loved going to church and he always had candy in his pockets for the children.”

She said he is going to be missed so dearly.

Members of the Smithers Canadian Reformed Church also said in his obituary he was well loved and cherished by his church family, which he was a part of for the last 20 years.

“We will miss his cheerful attitude and friendly smiles,” they wrote. “Although Arthur faced many hardships and difficulties in this life, his child-like faith and trust in the Lord was a good example to us all, and we can rejoice that he can now live with his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in peace forever, free from the brokenness of life.”