September 21, 1948 – July 31, 2019
Tom passed away peacefully surrounded by loving family and friends in the palliative care unit of the Abbotsford Regional Hospital (ARH) after a three-year battle with multiple myeloma. Tom was born in Heerenveen to Johannes and Froukje Brouwer, in the Friesland region of The Netherlands, and raised in Amsterdam. Tom’s “big sister” Auke was born two years earlier. Tom had an active and happy childhood which included family visits with aunts, uncles and cousins. Cycling is a major sport in Holland and Tom spent much time in his youth racing and maintaining his bicycle. After completing public school, Tom attended agricultural college in Dordrecht and then emigrated to Canada and was initially employed as a technician on dairy farms in the Fraser Valley. While working on dairy farms, Tom developed a deep interest in the milk tankers and other trucks on which the farms depend, as well as the lifestyle of the truck drivers who travelled far and wide with their various cargos. Soon, he left farming and began his long career as a professional truck driver, including several years during which he operated his own 18-wheel rig on highways and byways all over Canada and the U.S. under contract to several local trucking companies. He was honoured as the Professional Driver of the Year by the B.C. Trucking Association in 1988 for his exemplary record of safe driving. In 1994, Tom married his soul-mate Cindy, who shared his interests in coffee and motorcycles and as well as travelling and visiting with family in Holland. And, course, their dog and cat, Dixie and Molly. Tom never lost his passion for cycling. As recently as three years ago, he was a regular competitor at the toughest road races in the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan Valley, including the Triple Crown Hill Climb through North and West Vancouver (racing up Seymour, Grouse and Cypress mountains in a single day) and the Axel Merckx Granfondo in Penticton (160 kilometres around the hot and hilly Okanagan Valley). When he wasn’t racing, Tom devoted Saturdays to pedalling for hours with friends around the backroads and mountains of the Fraser Valley. These social rides were not complete without breaks to sample the treats at the best coffee shops. Having been raised on the banks of the canals that are the highways for Holland’s huge shipping industry, Tom had a fascination for ships and their worldwide voyages. He spent many hours online following various ships as they coursed around the world from port to port. Tom was a tall, strong and gentle man who worked long and demanding hours at his job, but still found the time to enjoy his family and friends. He was friendly with and curious about everyone he encountered wherever he went, whether on a bike ride or a cruse ship, or in a coffee shop, an airport, or a hospital waiting room. Tom was also constantly curious about news from around the world and was likely to strike up a knowledgable conversation about many diverse and complex subjects. Tom is survived by Cindy (wife); Theresa (daughter) and her partner, David, and son, Michael; Auke (sister in Holland); Allan Greer and Pat Greer (brothers-in-law); a large family of cousins, nieces and nephews; and many friends. Cindy and Theresa are grateful for the care and kindness given to Tom over the past three years by his doctors, nurses and caregivers at the ARH and for the love and help by many friends and neighbours. Special thanks to the palliative care unit at the ARH where Tom spent his final days. No service will be held. Donations to Myeloma Canada would be appreciated.
- Myeloma Canada
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August 19, 2019
Loving you is the easy part, I will love you forever. Learning to live without you, will be the hardest thing I will ever do.
You are at peace with no pain, no cancer and watching us from above. We will only remember the good times, as everyday was a good day. We made it special just being together with simple pleasures, good coffee and really good cookies!! Lol! I will try to continue that simple task, coffee with only good memories!!
Till I see you again.