TAMWORTH’S RSL community is mourning following the passing of its much-loved padre and former president Father Tom Shanahan.
The sub-branch’s current leaders paid heartfelt respects to Father Tom who died at Nioka last Saturday, aged 86, and said the chaplain would not be forgotten for generations to come.
The Tamworth minister had an unwavering commitment to the returned and ex-service people of the region exemplified by his insistence on performing the the prayers at the city’s Remembrance Day service last month despite ill-health.
He was a mainstay of military memorial services for the last two decades, but as a Vietnam veteran himself, he offered perspicacious counsel to soldiers and their families in the community and it left an indelible mark.
“Tom will never be forgotten,” sub-branch vice president Sandra Lambkin said.
“Not just for our generation.
“He made us think about other people and consider the true meaning of service and he insisted we follow it.
“He saw a lot of stuff that he was able to empathise with.
“There is this thing, if you’re part of the services you don’t have to explain to others in the service, they just know.
“That was the thing with Tom was one of us.”
Father Tom was the predecessor to current president Bob Chapman, who counted the chaplain as a “very good mate” and cherished the time they spent together.
“He'll be remembered in so many ways,” Mr Chapman said.
“I have no doubt he’ll be mentioned for many years in community services.
“He was such as tireless veteran and he particularly loved the Sandakan service, so I’ll be making sure he gets a really special mention there.”
Father Tom’s funeral is on Wednesday, January 2 at St Nicholas’ Catholic Church at 11am.
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