Thomas McMurtry


McMurtry, Thomas Samuel George, MD, FRCPC died May 17, 2006 at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. Predeceased by his wife, Alice Elizabeth (née Donald), RN in 1997, and by his son, Thomas John McMurtry, MD, FRCPC in 1996, and by his sisters, Agnes Alena McMurtry in 1910, Zina Madeline McMurtry in 1987 and Dorothy Jane McMurtry Wigmore in 2003, and by his nephew, Thomas Alan Wigmore BSc, MD, FRCPC in 1996. He is survived by his son, David Ward McMurtry of West Vancouver, BC, daughter-in-law Helen Sharon Dougan McMurtry, MD, CCFP, FCFP of Vernon, grand-daughters Margaret Lynne McMurtry, BMus, MMus, of Toronto, ON and Donna Louise McMurtry, BSc, RMT of Squamish, BC, grandson Michael Sean McMurtry, BASc, MD, FRCPC (Natalie née Baker, BSc (Pharm)) of Edmonton, AB, and his great grandchildren, Thomas James McMurtry, Elizabeth Abigail McMurtry and Katherine Paige McMurtry all of Edmonton. He is also survived by his niece Margaret Anne Wigmore, BA (Hon), MA, PhD of Regina, SA.

Tom was born December 15, 1914 in Oxbow, SA. His father, Thomas McMurtry, was one of the first settlers in the Oxbow area in 1882, and married Annie Lulu Ward, BA of Bobcaygeon, ON in June, 1907. Annie was a graduate of the University of Toronto, Class of 1901, and had financed her education by teaching in Saskatchewan in the summers. She returned to Oxbow to teach after her graduation.

After graduation from high school in 1931, Tom worked in the local drug store for three years. He went on to the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, where he received the degree of BA (Med) in 1938. He finished his medical studies at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, receiving his MD in 1941.

From June, 1940 to June, 1941 he interned at Vancouver General Hospital, where he met his future wife, Alice Donald of New Westminster. In June of 1941 he joined the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and as the army kept moving his unit further and further east, Alice and Tom were eventually married in the 1st United Church, Truro, NS November 26th, 1941. Tom was assigned overseas in August, 1942 and served in the 12th Canadian Light Field Ambulance in England and northwest Europe, returning to Vancouver in November 1945.

Upon his return to Canada, Tom began post-graduate training in Internal Medicine at Vancouver General Hospital and in October, 1949 received his FRCPC. In July, 1949 he entered into partnership with Dr. Hugh J. Alexander and Dr. Hugh I. Campbell Brown in Vernon. He was the first specialist in Internal Medicine in the Okanagan Valley. He was a founding member of the Medical Clinic in Vernon, which opened April 9, 1951 and he practised there until retirement in 1986.

Tom was a founding member and the first president of the North Okanagan Community Concert Association in 1953. He served as a trustee of School District No. 22 and also on the Board of Session of the United Church.

Over the years, Tom has sung in various choirs, the United Church Choir and the Vernon Male Chorus. During the last few years his love of music and his friendship with Rae Banner have sustained him as they sang in the Halina Choir and in the Schubert Singers.

A service of remembrance will be held in Trinity United Church, 3300 Alexis Park Drive, Vernon on Wednesday, May 31, 2006 at 2:30 PM. Flowers are gratefully declined. Anyone wishing to honour his memory may do so by donating either to the Vernon & District Hospice Society, 3506 – 27th Avenue, Vernon, BC V1T 4W9; or to the Tom McMurtry & Peter Baerg Cancer Centre, c/o the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation, 2101 – 32nd Street, Vernon, BC V1T 5L2. Arrangements entrusted to First Memorial Funeral Services. 1-800-667-9277.

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