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Appleby College Loses A Great Schoolmaster
appeared in Oakville Record-Star, 8 Sep 1949, p. 9

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(Ed. Note: The following obituary of Thomas B. Colley was kindly written for the Record-Star by Mr. E.W. Whittington, his fellow master and friend of many years.)

It was with very deep regret that we have to announce the death of Mr. Thomas B. Colley, the revered and beloved master of School House, Appleby College, which took place on Friday, September 2nd, at the General Hospital in Toronto, at the age of 67.

Mr. Colley was born in England. Coming out to Canada in the early years of the century, he graduated in Arts from the University of Toronto in 1908, and was soon after appointed to the staff of Upper Canada College Preparatory School under Mr. J.S.H. Guest. When Mr. Guest started Appleby School on its career in 1911, he was determined to have Mr. Colley as his housemaster. But the war intervened and Mr. Colley went overseas as Lieutenant with the 35th Battn. C.E.F. and later the 20th Battn. He quickly received his promotion to Captain was wounded in 1915 and after recovering, was posted to Shorncliffe as B.F. and P.T. instructor. At the end of the war he was awarded the M.B.E.

Meanwhile, in December, 1917, he was married in Folkestone to Miss Ella A.C. Marsh, daughter of Major General Marsh of the Indian Army.

He returned to Canada in 1919 and was at once made Housemaster of School House.

Appleby Career

From that time, he very definitely made his mark on Appleby history. Mr. Guest regarded him as the finest housemaster he had ever known. He was a strict disciplinarian, always eminently fair, and as a result was respected by every boy in the school. He taught Latin, Greek and Ancient History and inspired many of his pupils with a true love of the Classics.

He was responsible for the details of School and House organizations. He was the life and soul of the Cadet Corps, which under his training became one of the very best in Canada, and he supervised the teaching of boxing, gymnastics and physical training.

He also took an active part in all of the School games. In addition, he somehow found time to assist the Royal Regiment of Canada in the drilling of recruits at the Armouries in Toronto, even up to and all through the last war, travelling to Toronto on two or three evenings a week.

Tribute to a Fine Man

In the few moments of his spare time, when there were any, he relaxed a little by putting in an hour or so at work in his garden.

Those who were privileged to work with him found him always courteous, loyal and reliable. He did indeed deserve very completely the title of a gentleman.

One evidence of the affection held for him by his boys was shown by their reception of his speeches at the Old Boys dinners. He had a forthright way of speaking, and what he said was always sincere, even though it was often spiced with dry humour which appealed to his listeners.

His place will certainly be a most difficult one to fill, and his memory is very secure in the hearts of his colleagues and of the boys he trained so well.

He is survived by his widow and his two daughters, Ann and Janet, and also a brother, J.N.B. Colley.

The funeral service was held in the Appleby Chapel on Monday, September 5th, at 2:30 o'clock, with the services being conducted by the Rev. J.A.M. Bell, Headmaster of Appleby, assisted by Canon D. Russell Smith, Rev. R.S. Tibbett, Toronto and Rev. Howson of St. Jude's.

He was buried in St. Jude's Cemetery at Oakville. R.I.P.

Media Type:
Genealogical Resource
Item Type:
Date of Publication:
8 Sep 1949
Date Of Event:
2 Sep 1949
Last Name(s):
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 43.4473682625124 Longitude: -79.6665048808289
Copyright Statement:
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Appleby College Loses A Great Schoolmaster