Somewhere on my way home, while I was still in Toronto, my grandfather passed away. I found out in Montreal as I was changing trains. He loved trains. He’s the reason I learned about computers at a young age, a really smart man who expected the same in others, the funny English gentleman. He was always referred to as a gentleman, because he was. There was no other word to fit. He’d go down to the harbor whenever a cruise ship came in, and take a picture of it. He walked fast *everywhere*. In later years, he had a cane, and he told us all he had to do was wave it in front of him and people got out of his way.

We had been planning to move him into a nursing home, at his request, as his health had declined to the point he needed someone there all the time. He had been living in a senior’s apartment complex, with home care workers coming in. At first, a couple times a week, then recently almost every day. I say “we” but really my aunt has been doing a lot of the work. :-/

He wrote his own obituary, which if you knew him at all, should strike you as funny. That way it was done right, you see. Some of the things below I didn’t really know, but I do know every time I was pregnant, he wanted as many details as possible about the ultrasounds. One time I asked with, with less sarcasm as you might think, if he wanted me to get my doctor to send him a copy of the reports and he said that wouldn’t be necessary. He did have his shoulder operated on once, and got the doctor to videotape it for him.

We’re going to miss him, but are glad he’s at rest.

THORNTON, Alfred Thomas, of Saint John, passed away on Sunday, March 8, 2009 at the Saint John Regional Hospital, at the age of 93.

Born February 16, 1916 at Ipswich, England, he was educated and trained in telecommunications and radio in England.
He served his country during World War II with the British Post Office Telecommunications Dept., the Royal Naval Wireless Reserve, the 11th Middlesex Home Guard, and the Royal Corps. of Signals. He started his training in electro-encephalography in England and, after emigrating with his family to Canada in 1957, continued at the Montreal Neurological Institute. While working at the Provincial Hospital in Saint John, he did research on the affect of colour on epilepsy and became the first Canadian to win the Monty Wyand Award with a paper on that subject in 1962. After setting up a new E.E.G. clinic at the Saint John General Hospital, he pioneered the use of ultrasound for the detection of tumours in the brain and the breast, and also for checking the heartbeats of unborn babies. In 1976, he established a new E.E.G. clinic at the Dr. William F. Roberts Hospital School for Children, financed by the Colonel Harland Sanders Trust Fund.

Predeceased by wife Marjorie (Gayton), he is survived by 3 children: David Sr,of Toronto ON, Adrian and Glenda, both of Saint John NB; 3 grandchildren: Andrea (Ron) Rennick of Lakeville NB, David Jr. (Ashley) of Toronto ON, and Ryan (Cynthia) of Ottawa ON; 5 great grandchildren: Addison (Kaytlyn) Rennick of Fredericton NB, Sarah, Meaghan, and Emma Rennick of Lakeville NB, and Hunter of Ottawa ON.

According to his wishes, there will be no funeral service. Cremation has taken place at Fernhill Cemetery. The family will receive visitors at the Fundy Funeral Home on Saturday, March 14, 2009 from 1 to 4pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Alzheimers Society of Saint John, Heart and Stroke Foundation of New Brunswick, Saint John Free Public Library, Admiral Beatty Seniors Social Club, and David Suzuki Foundation.

You can sign the funeral home’s online guestbook here.

7 replies on “Grampy”

  1. Thanks, Andrea, for showing your readers a piece of our family history. He is the reason I am who I am. And he was so very proud of you!

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