Wallace Donald Thomson
Wallace Donald Thomson was the fourth and youngest child of Dorothy Evelyn Cookson and Walter Thomson. Wallace was born in North Canterbury, New Zealand on 18 August 1945, six weeks after the death of his father in a farming accident. When he was 5 years of age, his family moved to Christchurch, NZ where he attended the Linwood schools as well as the Christchurch Boys' High School.
Wallace's school days were noted for his love of water sports, swimming, water polo and surf lifesaving. During his school holidays, he found jobs in shearing, fruit pruning, the railways, a bakery, a freezing works and a grain store. He came to love the back country as well from his days of tramping and climbing expeditions as well as deer and pig shooting trips. Wallace eventually became an honorary National Parks Ranger.
After taking teacher training at Christchurch, Wallace taught at Linwood North, Kendall and Shirley Intermediate schools. In 1971 he married Margaret Northcate and moved to Whangarei. Whilst in Whangarei, Wallace set up the first work experience class at Northland as well as teaching at the Northland school of Nursing. His years in Whangarei also launched him into a lifetime of active service in Round Table and freemasonary. He also served as the President of the Ruakaka Surf Club.
After a six month bout with hepatitis, Wallace became a senior teacher and principal at a succession of North Island schools. He then traveled to Britain in 1985 on a teacher exchange program. Upon his return, Wallace was made an honorary kaumatua of the Wairoa Marae. Throughout these years he continued to increase his involvement with the freemasons eventually holding many positions of importance including area chairman (Kaimai) and member of the National Executive. He also held leadership roles in lifesaving, including vice-president of the Bay of Plenty society. He was awarded the Royal Lifesaving Society's Commonwealth Medal of Recognition.
In 1986, Wallace joined the Lions Club and became a marriage celebrant. He officiated at many marriages and never collected a fee, preferring to pass all donations on to children's charities and the Foundation for the Blind. A favorite aspect of these marriage celebrations were theme weddings in which the participants would dress in costumes such as medieval garb. During this time, Wallace and Margaret had two children before their own marriage dissolved.
Returning to Christchurch, Wallace continued his interests in history, stamps, home brewing, politics, sports and his Scottish ancestry. He became a training officer for the Celebrants Guild of New Zealand, a Justice of the Peace, a prison visitor and a frequent contributor of letters to the press. He was a Presbyterian church member and a part of a theology study group.
Friends remembered Wallace as a person who would push hard for a new idea if it would be to the benefit of those less fortunate than himself. "He was always helping somebody and never once would he accept payment." He was remembered as being a person of strong character and would never hesitate to tell it like it was. He was becoming more appalled at the idea of modern political correctness. Keen on Scotch whiskey, Wallace Thomson had instructed a bagpiper friend to play Scotch on the Rocks at his funeral. Wallace died on May 31, 2005 in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Robert Wallace Thomson
Kathryn Helen Thomson