Tom Stobart died Sunday evening, February 12, 2012. Tom died peacefully with his family by his side. That is an important part of the story – but it is only part of the story. In fact Tom lives on through his children, Nicole, Buck, and Steph, in the child that Nicole is carrying and in the heart and mind of loving wife Susan.
But it does not stop there. From the moment he arrived in Victoria, leaving his East Vancouver Red Lions Rugby Club behind and joining the Castaways (now Castaway Wanderers), he became a force on the local rugby scene. A powerful front row forward with a hard man work ethic, Tom more than held his own with any prop he encountered. When his playing days ended, Tom immersed himself in coaching the game he loved. He coached at Belmont High School and also at Castaways with the club junior men’s team. This was over a ten year commitment as a community volunteer. Beside him through all these years were longtime Castaways players Larry Chung and Rob Tait. A number of CW men today got their start under the watchful eyes of Tom, Larry and Rob.
While the Castaway Wanderers were busy winning three BC Championship banners, these three men led the CW juniors to two BC Championships and a third BC Finals. These three also coached the lower island (zone 6 in BC Games parlance) to a number of BC Games gold medal performances. In addition, Tom became a valued selector and scout for both BC and Canada in the junior men’s arena. Tom loved the game and fully committed to the sport in every way that he could. His influence and steady hand guided many young men through issues on and off the rugby field. Tom was a giant of a man and a giant, rock solid influence on a whole generation of men fortunate enough to play under and come to know him.
Tom Stobart. Remember that name. He was a man of influence and he lives on in many stories and in many hearts. He garnered respect, admiration and love for who he was.
- Chris Spicer, President, Castaway Wanderers Rugby Football Club. February 13, 2012
Tom also played a few seasons with Ebb Tide. His celebration of life was held February 24 at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. The turnout was overwhelming and the service was outstanding. The former was a testament to the admiration and respect that Tom earned in all walks of his life, and the latter more than met his wish for a celebration "with none of that funeral behaviour!" Rugby was well represented at the service with players from different clubs and from across different generations. Rugby bonds us together like no other sport, and it connects us with wonderful people that inspire us on and off the field. Tom was one of those people and he will be sorely missed by all who knew him. Rest in peace, Tom.
- Shane Muldrew, President, Ebb Tide RFC & one of Tom's Castaways (now CW) teammates.