“Volunteers are LOVE in motion.”
-Thomas Shura, upon receiving the Ontario Senior Achievement Award from The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. (October 1, 2021)
Everything that my dad ever did was fuelled by a desire to help or inspire others – so it is with great sadness that I share that my own greatest inspiration, Mr. Thomas Shura, passed away, unexpectedly yet peacefully, on September 29th, 2022.
Born to Mike and Kay (née Sul) Shura, Tom was raised on a farm just outside of Alonsa, MB, with his older brother and younger sister. After years of hard work, the family moved to Alonsa proper, before my dad spread his wings and dove into his true vocation: education. He first completed his teaching certification at the Manitoba Normal School/Manitoba Teachers’ College, before going on to obtain his Bachelor of Education and Master of Education with top honours. Though he loved his time working in various divisions and one-room schoolhouses in Manitoba, Tom savoured adventure and relocated to Kenora around the early 1960s, and it is here that he truly established his roots. He was grateful and proud to first accept a role with the Public School Board before he continued on with the Catholic Board for the bulk of his years, deepening his connections to his faith. He also taught ESL locally and represented the Canadian Teacher’s Federation one summer in Thailand. Tom was a perpetually curious intellectual and life-long learner with a strong desire to connect and share his wisdom. After a few years of “retirement” he again decided to expand his career. Beginning in the 1990’s he was both a teacher and principal at a variety of First Nation communities across Manitoba and northern Ontario, up until his next “retirement” in 2014. My dad deeply valued the connections he made with all those that he learned from along his journeys.
Being raised on a farm taught Tom the importance of goals, a strong work ethic, and community. He was known for his warm smile, generous nature, and many acts of philanthropy. Tom’s involvements included but were certainly not limited to: several builds with Habitat for Humanity (where he met President Jimmy Carter); refugee support (for family as well as now-friends); extensive donations to local causes and charities, including the MCC in Steinbach; community gardening; and outreach visits to those in long-term care. He was also tremendously proud of his work as a Fourth Degree Knight with the Knights of Columbus, and appreciated the camaraderie of the Retired Teachers of Ontario and his fellow members of the Legion.
Tom’s goal in sharing his achievements and contributions was simply to inspire others. “I want them to say, ‘If a school teacher can do all of that, then so can I!’” Exceptionally well-read, his own inspiration likewise came from the stories of others, as well as his travel to nearly 40 different countries over the years. My dad had a thing for “records,” and whether it was picking 31 large ice cream pails of blueberries one summer, getting an eight ender in curling, or simply having his camera out and ready to capture special events, he found something to celebrate each day.
To say that family was everything to my dad would be an understatement. Tom is predeceased by his parents, and survived by his loving daughter Angie, brother Walter Shurraw (Mary), and sister Mary Shura. Tom also adored his two nephews, Cedric and Sabin Shurraw, as well as Sabin’s wife Sarah and their children, Zyler and Ellie. He will be missed by a large, extended network of relatives, neighbours, and friends, all of whom he viewed as his family. These special people are spread from Kenora to overseas and are too numerous to name, but are all deeply cherished.
I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude to everyone who helped to ensure that my dad’s many years were filled with joy, and that even his departing journey from this world was filled with dignity. He loved his daily visits with the different businesses in our community, and squeezed the most out of each moment. Thank you for all the kindness and support that you all gave him, and the compassion and great memories now shared with me.
As he was a man of great faith, a funeral Mass has been scheduled for 11am on Saturday, October 15th, 2022, at Notre Dame du Portage Parish in Kenora, ON. All are welcome to attend. A luncheon will also be served immediately after in the Parish Hall. For those who are unable to join in person a link to the recorded service may also be available afterward, via the family. With gratitude, Brown Funeral Home (Dignity Memorial) has been entrusted with all other arrangements.
Love you forever, Daddy. You certainly lived your motto of “let’s make every minute count” and I could not be prouder to be your daughter. -Angie
Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at www.brownfuneralhomekenora.com for the Shura family.