WALKLING, Thomas Henry—passed away peacefully at Toronto General Hospital on Sunday, March 20, 2022, with his adoring wife of 45 years, Lorna, at his side.
Tom was a loving father to his children, Chris Walkling (Kristina), and Sarah Innes (Gary). Cherished Grandpa to his four beloved grandchildren, Keira Walkling, Ryan Innes, Noah Walkling and Anna Innes. Much loved brother to David Walkling and Beth Mazurski, and brother-in-law to Rick Mazurski, John Casey (deceased), Ron Casey (deceased), Angela Casey and Wilda Alford. Tom was the treasured uncle of Susan Casey, Mike Casey, Kellie Casey, Bob Casey, Bill Casey, Shana Ruch, Brett Walkling, Craig Walkling, Jared Walkling, Jennifer Little, Jonathan Goodman (deceased) and Jennifer Goodman. He was also the great-uncle of 15, and the great-great uncle of one.
Tom was born in Hamilton, Ontario, to William (Bill) and Anne Walkling (nee MacMillan). His childhood summers were spent on his uncle’s market garden farm in Jerseyville, Ontario, and he had many fond memories of working in the fields and selling produce at the Hamilton Market. Growing vegetables was in his blood, and this developed into a lifelong passion for agriculture. After completing high school at Hill Park Collegiate in Hamilton, Tom attended the University of Windsor and completed a BA in Social Work, followed by a Master’s degree in Social Work at Wilfred Laurier University. In 2021, he completed the Licensed Lay Worship Leader training program through the United Church of Canada. Tom was a true spiritual and emotional healer to many throughout his lifetime.
Tom and Lorna moved with their children to the farm on Three Mile Lake near Raymond, Ontario in March,1979, and have spent 43 wonderful years there, raising an assortment of barn animals and growing produce to sell at the local farmers’ markets throughout Muskoka. Many will remember the Walkling Family Farm squash and pumpkin booth at the Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh over the years. His professional work included many roles as a medical and counselling social worker in Muskoka and Parry Sound. He retired for health reasons in 2019, just a few months before having a lung transplant at Toronto General Hospital.
Tom and Lorna loved to travel when they could, and they had many amazing trips during their 45 years together, some to quite exotic places. One memorable journey was to Africa, where they travelled with a small group to visit a Maasai village in Kenya that was building a primary school they supported. Transatlantic voyages on the Queen Mary 2 were a favourite get-away, and they enjoyed several crossings and the wonderful people they met on the ship.
All who knew Tom knew he was a very special individual. His community involvement included being a long-time member of Utterson United Church and a volunteer firefighter for 31 years with the Windermere/Raymond Fire Department. Tom’s niece, Susan Casey, sent this message to the family and they wish to share it as it says it all.
“When I think of my memories of Tom, I always see the same image. We’re sitting outside in the summer twilight, talking and laughing. Tom is asking me questions about some crazy thing I’ve done, and his curiosity is engaging. He’s smiling, and speaking in his beautiful soft voice, and there’s a twinkle in his eye. He emanates peace and happiness, surrounded by his family, his farm, the lake and the fields and the trees. Tom is goodness in human form, but not in a mawkish way; he gives everyone the gift of being able to truly relax in his presence. He’s the kind of person who, if you’re lucky, you meet once or twice in life—that rare combination of strong and gentle. It’s impossible to imagine him screaming at someone in a parking lot, or freaking out if (say) he missed his transatlantic cruise, or looking the other way when help is called for. He’s the kind of person you want to know, and the kind of person you want to be. In essence, he’s kind. And along with the many people whose hearts he touched, I know that I’m a better person for having known him.”
Heartfelt thanks to the doctors and nurses at South Muskoka Memorial Hospital, the transplant team at Toronto General Hospital, the incredible medical workers in the ICU at TGH, and to the many, many friends, neighbours and community members who have supported Tom and Lorna throughout his years of illness.
A visitation will be held at Reynolds Funeral Home on Monday, March 28, 2022, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m.. The funeral service will be on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at Windermere United Church. A lunch reception will follow at the Raymond Community Centre.
***As seating is limited in both venues for the service and reception, if you wish to attend, please RSVP below this obituary***
With respect for the medically vulnerable in attendance, it is expected that masks will be worn by all for the visitation and the church service.
A recording of the service will be available below this obituary following the service.