Past President Tom McCulloch – Obituary

The Marine Club is saddened to share the news of the passing of former Marine Club President, Tom McCulloch.

The Marine Club will donate to the Mission to Seafarers in his honour.


MCCULLOCH, Tom The family of Thomas Duncan Wyness McCulloch sadly announce his passing on August 18, 2019. Tom was predeceased by his only brother Gordon in March 2003. Beloved husband of Doreen McCulloch, he was born in Greenock Scotland, the eldest son of Thomas Duncan McCulloch and Ellen Gordon Wyness. In 1941, at the age of sixteen, during World War II, he went to sea as a Cadet in the Merchant Navy. He survived bombs, gunfire and torpedoes during this tumultuous time and was able to finish his service as a Second Officer. To honour his wartime sacrifice, he was awarded the Atlantic Star, the 1939-45 Star and Medal, the Ushakov Medal and the Arctic Star. In 1946, he married the ‘anchor to his life’, Doreen and shortly thereafter, Tom and his “wee smasher” began their journey to immigrate to Canada. Tom and Doreen raised five Canadians – Andrew (Sue), Ellen (Alex), Duncan (Cheryl), Malcolm (Melanie) and Sarah. With their partners, they in turn raised 13 grandchildren – David, Matthew, Amanda, Alexis, James, Sarah, Tori, Chanelle, Lindsay, Wesley, Megan, Megan, and Eric; also 8 great-grandchildren, Tom was just getting to know. Tom’s greatest passion was seafaring, and his chosen professions and many successes reflected just that. In addition to surveying the coast and waters of British Columbia, he spent many seasons in the Western Arctic, where he made the news headlines when his ship “Richardson” was almost lost in the pack ice off Point Barrow in 1967. His list of impressive accomplishments includes becoming the Director General of the Bayfield Laboratory for Marine Sciences in 1978, where he received the Queens Silver Jubilee Medal for his service in making the International Field Year Great Lakes possible. He was also a founding member of the Canadian Hydrographers Association, President of the Canadian Institute of Surveying and a successful author of two books; ‘Mandalay to Norseman’ and ‘Navigator to Hydrographer” respectively. Additionally, Tom was an active member of society through several clubs including the Rotary Club of Saanich, the Saltire Society of Victoria, Pro Patria Branch of the Canadian Legion, Pacific Branch of the Canadian Hydrographic Association, past president of the Marine Club of Toronto, the Canadian Company of Master Mariners, the Canadian Institute of Geomatics and the Hydrographic Society of the United Kingdom. Tom was a learned man who had an endless thirst for knowledge. Generally conservative in his views, but was always willing to listen and have a friendly (or heated) debate with those around him. Often times, these included the odd table slam, but it was all in good fun and only to emphasize one’s point. He truly enjoyed life to the fullest, seeking opportunities to travel widely to enhance his profession and to attempt to fully understand other cultures. At home pottering around the garden was a major preoccupation, as well as reading books of every description but particularly those with a historical context. Art and bric-a-brac from around the globe also gave him much joy. Tom was proud of his family, wanting them all to succeed in life, but to remain comfortable with themselves. We would all benefit by being a little more like him, always remembering to keep reading, being generous with one’s time and means, being determined in our endeavours but above all else, always following our passions wherever the currents may take us. Condolences and tributes may be sent to the family by visiting for the family.

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