Last week, Canada said “Good bye, eh” to a national treasure, when Stompin Tom Connors passed away at the age of 77, of natural causes. Connors was born in Saint John New Brunswick on February 9, 1936.
Despite, or maybe in spite of, a turbulent childhood of poverty and orphanages, he would become one of the nation’s most endeared entertainers, with a career spanning over 50 years.
In that time, he recorded 61 albums – ten of which have not yet been release to the public. With cult favourites such as the “The Hockey Song,” “Bud the Spud,” “Tillsonburg,” and "Big Joe Mufferaw," among so many more, his downhome lyrics and infectious stomping, Connors’ fans were young and old.
A staunch supporter of Canadian culture, in 1979 Connors returned his six Juno awards in protest of the Americanization of Canadian music, and would disappear from the music scene for the next decade.
He returned to the stage in 1989 and remained one of the biggest concert-draws in the country and earned his well-deserved icon status.
Throughout his life, Connors received a number of accolades including Officer of the Order of Canada, his own Canadian postage stamp, the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award, both the Queens Gold and Diamond Jubilee Medals, and was awarded three honorary doctorate degrees from Saint Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick; "Laws", University of Toronto; "Laws", and the University of P.E.I.; "Letters".
A memorial celebration was held on March 13, in Peterborough, and at his request, was open to the public.
He is survived by his wife, Lena, two daughters and two sons, as well as many grand-children.
Stompin Tom left his fans a message which was to be released after his death.
It reads - "Hello friends, I want all my fans, past, present, or future, to know that without you, there would have not been any Stompin' Tom." "It was a long hard bumpy road, but this great country kept me inspired with its beauty, character, and spirit, driving me to keep marching on and devoted to sing about its people and places that make Canada the greatest country in the world." "I must now pass the torch, to all of you, to help keep the Maple Leaf flying high, and be the Patriot Canada needs now and in the future." "I humbly thank you all, one last time, for allowing me in your homes, I hope I continue to bring a little bit of cheer into your lives from the work I have done." Sincerely, Your Friend always, Stompin' Tom Connors
Connors asked that donations to your local food bank or homeless shelter should be made in memory of him, in lieu of flowers.
What a good idea… Drop by the Agapè Centre with a bag of groceries and tell them Stompin Tom sent you.