It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Thomas George Pagdin, forever loved by his family and friends. But it is also with gratitude for his life – well-lived, full of love and music.
Tom was born in Nelson, B.C., the only child of Alfred Pagdin and Ina May Steed. After graduating from Grade 13 at Nelson High School, Tom attended Victoria Normal School where he met his future wife, Mae. He taught his first year in Victoria then came to the Comox Valley in 1954 to a Grade 5 class at the old Courtenay Elementary School. He and Mae were married on April 9th, 1955. Two years later, his music-teaching career began at the brand-new Lake Trail Junior Secondary School – on the gym stage, where he was required to teach all the students, whether they were interested or not! In 1963, after many years of Summer Session at U.B.C., Tom acquired his Bachelor of Education with Music Major.
Meanwhile, their children Joanne, Ross, Nancy, and Allan, were being born in Comox – and Tom became a family man in the fullest sense of the word.
In 1967, Tom and Ian Potts pioneered the Student Driver Training program for Vanier Senior Secondary students. This program was popular and later became Ian’s full-time business.
In 1968, with the full support of the School Board, Tom and Albert Wedel teamed to develop a music program – bands, choirs, and strings – for the school district. Tom took special interest in his students, encouraging and supporting them, throughout his 35-year teaching career.
Tom was a man of faith – from Cradle Roll at Trinity United Church in Nelson to Comox United Church, he was nurtured in his Christian walk. Throughout his youth, he attended Camp Koolaree on Kootenay Lake, and later he led many boys’ camps at Camp Moorecroft near Nanaimo. Wherever he lived, Tom became active in the church – sharing his gifts of music and wisdom.
Tom’s passion and talent for music gave him the ability to play several instruments – piano, trombone, drums – in a variety of bands, such as the Princess Mary Pipe Band and the Comox District Band. Many will remember dancing to the Dixon Brothers Band, Tom on the piano – and later to The Desperation Dixieland Jazz Band. Tom loved singing – his baritone voice an asset to church and community choirs wherever he lived. He directed choirs at St. George’s and Denman Island United Churches, and the Hornby Island Community Choir.
After retiring, Tom and Mae moved to Hornby Island in 1992 to live in the log home that their son, Allan, built with Tom’s assistance. He and Mae enjoyed their participation in the Hornby community before moving to Comox in 2011. They travelled to England, Ireland, across Canada, and to various places in the United States, often related to researching family history and meeting new-to-them family members.
Tom was predeceased by his parents and daughter, Nancy McDonald. He is survived by his wife, Mae; daughter Joanne (John) Lougheed, sons Ross (Michele) Pagdin and Allan (Valerie) Pagdin; grandchildren Emily (Mike) Lewis, Jennifer (Don)Driedger, Lindsey Pagdin, Burke (Laura) Lougheed, Tom (Kailey)Lougheed, Jocelyn (Spencer Treffry)Lougheed, Rachel Pagdin, Jeremy Pagdin; great-grandchildren Olin and Toby Driedger, Huxley and Argelia Lewis, Raymond and Gemma Lougheed, Ava Lougheed; his special cousin, Edna Whiteley.
A Memorial Service in celebration of Tom’s life will be held on Saturday, January 19th at 11 am at Comox United Church, 250 Beach Drive, Comox. It will be followed by a luncheon and reception in the adjacent church hall. A private family service of Interment will follow.
Donations to the Comox Valley Regional Hospital Foundation in Tom’s memory would be appreciated.