Dawn Dunlop & Mark Pugh, along with six-year-old Tommy, and five-year-old Jack left Manitoba in 2001, settling in Salmon Arm, where Tom finished Grade one; Mitch came along in 2003 to complete the family.
“Tornado Tom” taught his mom and dad how to parent. He was too smart for his own good; witty, acerbic, funny, and lots of fun, they would tease him about using his genius for good, not evil. Tom had great friends; their home was where all his buddies would congregate. One of Tom’s school buddies remembers ‘always having a blast stirring up trouble downstairs at your house.’
An enterprising young man with a strong, ‘prairie farm’ work ethic, he got his first job when he was 13, working at the Salmar Theatre. One summer he actually had four jobs! After graduating from SAS in 2013, he headed off to the oil patch, only 17 years old. He wasn’t afraid of hard work.
Although not a ‘natural’ athlete, Tom was involved in various sports during his school years. His coaches enjoyed his energy and his big personality. However, his passion was downhill skiing. He loved skiing powder at Revelstoke. An undiagnosed condition caused Tom to have a fatal heart attack in his sleep on September 11, 2014. His family feels blessed for the 19 years they had with him.
“Instead of asking why they left, now I ask, what beauty will I create in the space they no longer occupy?” – Rudy Francisco
Tom is gone, but he will never be forgotten. The family has established the Tom Pugh Memorial Endowment Fund with Shuswap Community Foundation, in honour of Tom’s love of his family, friends and all things Shuswap. As the fund has now reached $10,000, interest earned will be disbursed annually to qualified charitable organizations operating in the Shuswap area, to fund projects intended to protect or improve the natural landscape or to otherwise address environmental issues, as well as programs which promote community recreation.