October 25th 2002
Thomas Horatio Pye (1922 - 2002)
When Tom Pye said, "Let's go fishing", you could assume that he meant a trip to West Point and you'd be pulling the net. That's how he was. Straight as a barrel, abrupt even, Tom was always in charge. He'd always been that way.
Tom was born in Northgate, Melbourne on 26 September 1922, the son of William and Olive Pye who were sometime local notables there. They instilled in him the importance of 'doing things right' and so Tom was forever a stickler for form.
He served in the Army through much of WW2, first in New Guinea and later at Balikpapan, Borneo, riding home to Australia on the British aircraft carrier 'Implacable' at the end of 1945.
Tom's WW2 Service Medal
He took up the family business - a roadhouse attached to an orchard at Pye' s Corner, Croydon and he and wife Nancy raised their family there till the mid 60s when they divorced.
Tom and Nancy Pye
Tom went into the poultry business with his friend Peter Dyck, took up with new partner Judith - 'the love of his life' till she died in the 70s - and after a doctor told him to get out of that southern climate Tom headed north, arriving on Magnetic Island in August 1978.
Immediately he went into business with DJ's Store in Picnic Bay and soon a boat hire business there. He also took up with third wife Grace.
After settling in, Tom set up a wholesaling operation in Townsville and a supermarket at Halifax with mobile mini mart, operated by son, Robert, serving the surrounding Lucinda district till the mid 80s.
The businessman was right at home, Peter Dyck had joined him here, the living was easy and the fishing was good!
Tom Pye with his Island grandkids, Mark, Thomas, James & Phillip
If the suitors of his daughters had been shocked by the sight of a gun and threats to use it in the 60s, imagine the sensation for innocent granddaughter, Fiona, visiting from Britain years later, when shots were fired in Picnic Bay to warn off prowling males. Fiona grinned and bore it though, marrying Phil Bennett, raising a family on the Island and living to tell the tale.
Tom with granddaughter Fiona Bennett and great granddaughter Annabelle
Tom's health began to fail in recent times and he had a fall last month, just before his 80th birthday. He died in the nursing home in Townsville on 17 October.
Tom is survived by his children Jennifer, Geoffrey, Geraldine and Robert and numerous grandchildren and great grandchildren, many of whom attended his memorial service at Arcadia on Tuesday (22 October 2002).
The recessional music he chose for the occasion was the ancient favourite "Wish me luck as you say goodbye". So we did.
by Charlie McColl
Doing what Tom loved best - fishing with friends at West Point - Magnetic Island