Goderich, ON ( Change City )


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Tom Blanchard-Hublet Thomas Jerrold Blanchard-Hublet (83) died peacefully in his home Thursday, January 17, 2019. More than 9 years ago he was preceded in death by his beloved wife of nearly 50 years, Nelly (Nicky). Tom was born July 21, 1935 in Hove, England, the son of the late Douglas Jerrold Blanchard and Doris Eleanor (Simmons) Blanchard. Because of WWII and the Battle of Britain, Tom spent much of his young life living with his mother, and grandparents at his grandfathers’ Inn, The Royal Oak Hotel, at Hawkhurst while his father served with the Royal Engineers. Tom often told of nights sleeping in the basement under the snooker table while bombs were flying overhead. Meanwhile, he enjoyed the country side, helped with chores at the inn such as tending to the garden, the horse and other animals, and hunting rabbits. Although a young boy, this time began his life of service to others and helped mold his wonderful sense of humor and storytelling abilities. After the war Tom worked with his father running a family service station. He completed public school, became a “good English gentleman” as he put it, and served his two years compulsory military service as an officer. He then went to work in London where he worked for the head office of a British oil company. In 1957 while commuting to work on the train, Tom met Nicky. For him it was love at first site. But for Nicky it took a bit longer to realize her love for Tom. Being older and from a Belgium aristocratic family, she had joined the Resistance during the war, had been captured and tortured by the Gestapo before escaping and returning to become a decorated leader of a team of Resistance fighters. She had married a Royal Air Force officer after the war and moved to England with him. She had been recently widowed, had lost her family fortune and was on her way to work for the first time when they met. Tom’s devotion and persistence to go out of his way to spend time with or help Nicky paid off and they were married in 1959. Tom’s dream to get out of the city and open an outfitters camp was realized when the two immigrated to Canada with their two toy poodles in May, 1970. With no job and knowing no one in Canada, they were soon working on a fishing camp near Lanial, Quebec. In August they took possession of a hunting and fishing camp of their own with only boat access called “Miwapanee Lodge”. It was close to the village of Kipawa and came with a lodge, 8 cabins and a fly in outpost. The camp was successful because of their hard work, business sense, ethical standards, hospitality and service to others. But not only that, Nicky introduced French gourmet cooking to the lodge while Tom served and entertained customers with his sense of humor and storytelling. Their high standards of service built up a loyal following of customers not to mention developed friendships that have stood the test of time. In 1987 Tom and Nicky sold their camp and purchased a farm south of Goderich, Ontario. They rented the workable farmland, and the barn, horse training track and grazing field. With the large, 6 bedroom house overlooking the beautiful pond they opened “La Brassine” (named after Nicky’s childhood summer home) as a French gourmet restaurant and bed and breakfast. Again, their dedication to quality service and reputation spread to make their new business a success as they served the local community and beyond. When Nicky’s health declined early in 2001, Tom closed the business to concentrate on caring for the woman he loved. Nicky’s final years were spent at the quiet farm which they both considered a piece of paradise. Nicky died on Thursday, September 3, 2009, a month shy of their 50th wedding anniversary leaving Tom with a gaping hole in his heart. Tom did his best not to feel sorry for himself. Instead he volunteered to drive for OneCare, a home and community support service. Over the next nine years, directed by OneCare, Tom would drive hundreds of people from the local community that could not drive for themselves to and from appointments or just to get groceries. Again he was serving others. Tom was very grateful to Canada for accepting him and Nicky as immigrants, especially for allowing Nicky to spend her last 39 years living in peace without the fear of war. He was also very grateful to the many friends from both Canada and the United States that helped them over the years. He specifically wanted to thank his good friends Christina, Jen, Bev, Jeanette and Gord for not only helping him over the last nine years but also for helping Nicky many times prior. Tom’s last desire was realized when he died in his home as Nicky had done. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him. Tom has been cremated and his ashes will be returned to Headcorn, England to join Nicky. Because of their love of animals, those desiring may make a memorial contribution to Adopt a Pet Rescue Lucknow, www.adoptapet.lucknow.on.ca or contact Kathi Newll-Nicholson at petrescue@hurontel.on.ca or between 6-11pm 519-528-3045. You are invited to sign Tom’s online book of condolences at www.mccallumpalla.ca13323677
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