HOWARD Ð Bruce Andrew Thomas, born December 5, 1922, died September 11, 2002 of complications from Parkinson’s disease.
Survived by his loving wife Blanche, his children, Allison, Stephen and Leslie and their spouses, David Corbeil, Irene Howard and Austin Cullen, and six grandchildren, Gregory & Jacqueline Zweng, Katherine & Thomas Cullen and Peggy & Steffy Howard.
Bruce was born in Drayton, Ontario and attended school in Toronto. He served in the armed forces during the war as a Flying Officer in the R.C.A.F.
He married Blanche Machon in 1945, and after a year’s service in England returned to study at the University of Toronto. He and Blanche moved to Penticton in 1948, where he was active in business and community affairs.
Following a life-long dream, he was elected to parliament as the Liberal member for the Okanagan Boundary riding in 1968 when Trudeau came to power.
Bruce was quickly promoted to parliamentary secretary to the Hon. Jean-Luc Pepin, Minister of Trade and Commerce. In this role he was one of the first to go with the Hon. Mitchell Sharp on a parliamentary delegation to China after it opened its border to the West, and was able to talk to Chou En Lai about the need for China to foster a tourist industry.
Following an election defeat in 1972 he served as executive assistant to the Hon. Marc LaLonde, and then accepted an appointment as a judge of the citizenship court in Vancouver and the family moved to North Vancouver.
After seven years he accepted an appointment to the Immigration Appeal Board, which later became the Immigration and Refugee Board, and served there until his retirement in 1987.
He and Blanche sailed their 34 foot motor sailor and explored Desolation Sound and the Gulf Islands until Parkinson’s disease forced him to abandon sailing.
His diagnosis with Parkinson’s Disease in 1990 forced him to curtail many of his other activities, although he took up painting and displayed a talent for it.
A Memorial Service was held at the North Shore Unitarian Church at 370 Mathers Ave., West Vancouver, on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 at 3:00 p.m. Donation in lieu of flowers to the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Institute, Suite 210, 1095 West Pender St., Vancouver, V6E 2M6.