Philip (Phil) Thomas passed away peacefully on May 7, 2021, surrounded by his family, after a long and courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 82 years.
Phil was born on April 15, 1939 to parents Marjorie and Peredur Thomas in England, where he attended Liverpool University and received a Bachelor’s degree in Languages and Social Sciences.
In 1966, he and his wife Barb came to Canada on an adventure with their infant son Russ. Soon after, their daughter Cathy was born in Sudbury, Ontario. In 1967, the family moved to Creston and fell in love with the valley. Phil was employed as an English and French teacher at Prince Charles Secondary School until his retirement in 1999.
As an athlete, Phil played rugby at a university level in England. Upon his arrival in Creston, he continued to develop his golf game and became the Creston Golf Club’s club champion on several occasions. Finally, with the arrival of the Cedar Court Raquetball Club in Creston, he took to the game very quickly and competed in tournaments in Idaho and Washington.
As a golf enthusiast, Phil served as club captain and was the town golf coach prior to the arrival of golf professional Randy Panton in the early 1980’s. In addition, he was one of the driving forces behind the junior golf program in the valley serving as the golf coach at PCSS for many years. Phil was a co-founder and executive member of the Rick Clark Memorial Tournament which provides scholarships to Creston youth. Finally, after Phil’s retirement, he researched and wrote a book on the history of the Creston Golf Club with proceeds going to the club.
His dedication to preserving local history inspired Phil to write and present the oral histories of many Creston Valley Pioneers. These interviews will keep alive the story of Creston’s first settlers, life in Erickson and the history of Canyon.
Community involvement and volunteering was very important to Phil. In 2006, he actively promoted the pool and recreation centre upgrade and even set up a booth at the Home and Garden show to educate the public during the town referendum to finance the project. In addition, Phil made a huge contribution to the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. For more than 10 years, he took on the selling of luminaries and inaugurated the HOPE sign that was photographed from the sky. Finally, both he and his wife led teams in fundraising events and made generous donations themselves.
In 2012, Phil became citizen of the year in Creston in recognition for his longstanding contribution to the community. Through his many interests and desire to help others, Phil had a very fulfilling life.
Phil will be dearly missed by his loving wife Barb, son Russ Thomas (Marie-Claude Parent), grandchildren Julianne and Abigail Thomas, daughter Cathy (Larry) Standen, grandchildren Tyler and Dana Standen, his brother David Thomas as well as numerous relatives in England and finally his friends across the valley.
In lieu of flowers, friends and family can make a contribution to the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Institute, #210 – 1095 West Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6E 2M6, Creston Valley Gleaner’s Food Bank, 807 Canyon St., Creston, BC V0B 1G3, or the charity of their choice.
A private celebration of Phil’s life will be held at a later date.