Thomas "Tam" John McEwen Ph.D.

2 July , 19426 May , 2019

Thomas John (Tam) McEwen, Ph.D.

Peacefully, at Pinecrest Home for the Aged in Kenora, Ontario, on May 6, 2019 aged 76.

Tam was born and raised in Winnipeg - and capped a distinguished career in Canada’s agri-food industry in Portage la Prairie - but he lived his final years in Kenora, in the Sunset Country he knew and loved so well. Anyone who ever got to know him (as business colleague, Rotary Club or United Church volunteer, or loyal friend) will know why he will be so dearly missed by so many. Whether lending a tune or tending a loon, the music of Tam’s gentle soul was profoundly uplifting.

While many who knew him only in his prime (as Manitoba doubles squash champ, Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology president, go-to Rotary Cabaret soloist, or tireless soccer dad) would be shocked and saddened by the cumulative effects of age-associated memory loss and dementia, none would be at all surprised by how bravely Tam battled, nor by how graciously he carried himself in defeat.

Predeceased by father, Sanger and mother, Peg, Tam lives on in the memories of loving and devoted surviving kin, his wife of over 50 years, Lindsay, sons Brock (Sandra), Fraser (Leo), Geordie (Val) and Duncan (Jessi), grandchildren Katlaina, Mason, Rheanna, Cadham, Oliver, Holly, Fenton, Lachlan, Elle, and Anders, brothers Jamie (Linda) and Rob (Rita), and many beloved cousins, nieces, nephews, and in-laws.

The family wishes to thank Pinecrest staff and Kenora Palliative Care volunteers for their wonderful care and compassion.

In lieu of flowers, charitable donations are warmly welcomed. Suggestions from the family include: Trinity United Church (Portage la Prairie), Knox United Church (Kenora), and Alzheimer Society Canada.

Arrangements are with Brown Funeral Home & Cremation Centre. A Memorial Service will be held at Knox United Church in Kenora on Tuesday, May 21 at 2pm, and a private interment ceremony and celebration is planned for June 8/9 at Hemlock Island - the rustic paradise that will forever stand in serene tribute to the inspiration and perspiration of our quiet champion.

Online condolences may be made at


21 May

Memorial Service

2:00 pm

Knox United Church

Kenora, Ontario


Thomas "Tam" John McEwen Ph.D.

have a memory or condolence to add?

Julie Baker

18 May 2019

I have countless memories of working together with Tam in Portage at Trinity United Church. I vividly recall feeling “grilled” during our first conversation about the state of the world and the church - but soon learned that he enjoyed challenging intellectually stimulating conversations, of which we would have many! He was full of ideas (and energy for action) about ways to make things better in the world - I can think of conversations about diverse topics: from growing popular trees to consolidating church bank accounts to increase interest income; from making choral arrangements of songs to events like a Men’s Bake Off. I carry with me memories of choir practices, executive meetings, late Christmas Eve services, plum puddings and many others. Indeed, he left an indelible imprint on my life. Rest well, Tam. Godspeed.

Vivian Sullivan

13 May 2019

My deepest sympathy to Lindsay and family. I have many happy memories of working under Tam's leadership at the food centre in Portage la Prairie. I'm especially appreciative of Tam hiring me for my first position after graduation and launching my career.
May your many wonderful memories bring you comfort now, and in the days ahead.

Alan McMillan

12 May 2019

Dear Lindsay and family,
I am thinking of you at this difficult time. I was always impressed with Tam’s quiet confidence and unassuming intellect.

Your boys and 10 wonderful grandchildren will provide much needed comfort and strength at this time.

May your collective memories of Tam sustain and comfort you.


Monica Achtemichuk

11 May 2019

I am so sorry for your condolences. How fitting that you will celebrate Tam on the beautiful Hemlock island. Take care Lindsay, Brock, Fraser, Geord, Duncan and families.

Craig Bryant

10 May 2019

I was lucky enough to meet Tam when he and Lindsay retired to Kenora and for that I am very grateful. Through our mutual interest in music we began to cultivate a friendship, and between those bars and measures of weekly rehearsals the conversatons led to various issues, spaning a broad range of topics and always of interest laced with that touch of wit and humour he took such pleasure in. Thanks to the generosity of his spirit I soon recognized and came to admire Tam's subtle strength mixed with his gentle nautre. He will be missed, but I shall remember him often, and very likely prompted by what we often shared together .... music. Thanks Tam for sharing those times, and yourself with me....

Dennis Wallace

9 May 2019

Tam was a remarkable person with whom I had the privilege to work, from time to time, in the 1988 - 1990 period when he led the Food Product Centre in Portage La Prairie. He was very proud of packaging and food preservation innovations developed in Portage that were national in scope. He made the Centre special across Canada. I also recall he developed a specie of fast growing tree that could be used as a source of energy for clean burning power plants.

Tam was always a kind, humorous and friendly individual who made everyone feel welcome.

At his cottage near Sioux Narrows he was in his prime with novel storage bins, a topless biffy and other developments that were a treat for old and young. In addition, he developed walking trails on the island which were a source of learning and excitement.

He made life worth living and fun.

It is evident in his family.

I will miss him.

Dennis Wallace

Evelynne and Ken Callander

9 May 2019

It has been years but we will never forget the generous warmth of the McEwen family. We shared many sport benches with you during our children’s youth and those memories are cherished. The Callander family sends our deepest regrets. May your faith bring you comfort.

Jocelyn Baker

8 May 2019

Brock, my sympathies to you and your family.