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Thomas Halme

August 20, 2002

Thomas Halme passed away peacefully at the age of 82 on August 20, 2002 in Victoria, the last of his generation. The Halme family were long time residents of Ladysmith.

Onni Hyytiainen (born in Saarijarvi, Finland) left Helsinki, Finland for Canada in 1909. In the spring of 1910 he sent for his wife, Aino Niemi (born in Lohja, Finland) and his son Armas to join him in Sudbury, Ontario. Onni’s brother Herman Hyytiainen was also in Sudbury and another brother Kalle had joined them. In 1913 Onni and his family took Canadian Citizenship under the surname of Halme and Herman took his citizenship under the surname of Anderson. Herman and Onni had found it easier to find work with a Swedish sounding surname. Kalle kept the original family name and remained with his family in Sudbury. Their sister Cecilia arrived in Vancouver in 1921 to marry Alexander Nordstrom, they had one son Alexander born in Paldi in 1924. Cecilia died in 1953, in Duncan.

Herman came out to Ladysmith in 1915 where he boarded with the Solmie family at Blainey’s, later marrying Rachel Solmie in 1916, they had one son, Herman. Herman Anderson Sr died in a logging accident in Comox in 1925 and Rachel moved back to Ladysmith with their son Herman.

Onni and Aino, with children Herman, Jack and Sylvia (Armas died in 1915) moved to Ladysmith in 1918, they also boarded with the Solmie family. A son Matthias was born in 1919 in Ladysmith. The family moved to Comox where Onni had work with the Comox Logging Company. In 1920 their son Thomas was born in Comox. In 1923 Onni moved his family back to Ladysmith where their daughter Mildred was born in 1928.

Onni was a member of the Knights of Phythias and Aino held office with the Phythian Sisters. Aino was well known for her needlework and donated many crocheted items as prizes for fund raisers in Ladysmith. Aino spoke the Scandinavian languages and was often called upon as a translator. Onni worked in the Ladysmith area with the Comox Logging Company. Onni passed away in 1950 and Aino in 1978.

Their children all went to school in Ladysmith. Herman worked in the logging industry on Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands and later worked with the Bridge builders union in Vancouver. He was married twice, to Dorothy Leander and to Agnes Lockerby, he died in 2001. Jack worked in the logging industry in Lake Cowichan and Chemainus , he married Louie Buckmaster who died in 1993 and Jack died in 1999. Sylvia trained as a hairdresser and was married twice to Roy Steen and to Roy Sandstrom, later moving to Vancouver where she died in 1986. Matthias died in a logging accident at Camp 3, Cowichan Lake in 1936. Mildred married Stanley Creelman from Saskatchewan and lived in Lake Cowichan where she worked for the school district, she died in 1992. Thomas worked for Comox Logging Co and Industrial Timbermills in the Lake Cowichan and Fanny Bay areas. He served in the Army Service Corps in WW2 and met his wife Aileen Malcolm while stationed in Red Deer, Alberta. They married in 1945 in Nanaimo. Tom worked for the CPR in Red Deer but eventually moved his family back to Vancouver Island and to Victoria where he worked for Sooke Lake Forest Products and retired as a Power Engineer after 32 years with Victoria Plywood.

The Halme family joined the other Ladysmith Finnish families for summer picnics at Shell Beach and Transfer Beach was a favourite playground for all the children. They lived across from the Agricultural Hall on Symonds Street.

Thomas had 3 children, David, Arlene and Lorne (Valerie), grandchildren Peter, Anita, Seth, Griffin and Nicholas. He also had nieces and nephews, David (Marie), Jerine (Vern Jago), Alan (Joan), Marion (Norman Flinton), Evelyn, Lorraine (Edwin Granberg), Keith, Linda, Brian, Stephen (Donna).

A service will be held at the Ladysmith Cemetery on Friday, September 20, 2002 at 3 pm followed by a gathering of family and friends at Transfer Beach Kin Hut (Thomas’ favourite place to play in his youth) from 3:30 to 5.

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