Thomas William Kierans
Passed on: November 22nd, 2013
Peacefully passed away Friday, November 22, 2013 in his 101st year in St. John's NL. Tom was born in Montreal, PQ, on 13 February, 1913. His father Thomas Kierans had immigrated from Co. Monaghan, Ireland and his mother Margaret (McAran) Kierans was born in Montreal. He was a citizen of both Canada and Ireland. Tom is also predeceased by his sisters Mona (Ross Houston) and Mollie (Wm. Brown) and his brothers James (May and Yolande), Emmet (Doris), Martin (Ruby), Kevin (Pat) and Dairmuid. Predeceased by his former wife Mary and his son Harry (Silvana), Tom is lovingly remembered by his children: Sr. Mae Kierans of St John's, NL, Tom (MariJo) of Longueuil, PQ, Murray of Collingwood, ON, Brenda (Len) Wahlen of Coquitlam, BC, Michael (Dagmar) of Prague, Czech Republic, Teresa (Jim) Spurr of Coquitlam, Kathleen Walker of Maple Ridge, BC and Paul of Burnaby, BC. He is also fondly remembered by his grandchildren, Tim, Sonia, Patricia, Joseph, Jennifer, Mary, Jon Thomas, James, Henry, Andrew, Oliver, Willem, Christopher, Eireann and Siobhan, his 15 great grandchildren and his many nieces and nephews. While his devoted friends, Anne and Paul Macleod and Pat and Ken Mercer, were especially supportive to Tom in his later years, Tom will also be missed by many friends, neighbours and colleagues in St. John's and beyond. As a young man, Tom's keen longtime interest in water resources and mega projects was sparked while prospecting by bush aircraft and canoe across Canada's northland. After graduating in Engineering from McGill University in 1939, Tom moved to Sudbury, Ontario where he worked in the mines, smelters and refineries of the Sudbury Nickelbelt. Here he met and married Mary Mulligan and together they raised their large family. As the head safety engineer at INCO, Tom introduced many important safety reforms and innovations which significantly reduced casualties from mining accidents. Later, still based in Sudbury, he worked as a mining and water resources consulting engineer. In 1968, Tom returned to Montreal and worked with BRINCO to design and build the Churchill Falls underground hydro-electric power plant in Labrador.
In 1973, Tom moved to St. John's, NL to take a position on the engineering faculty of Memorial University where, in addition to teaching and mentoring future engineers, he continued to develop visionary engineering solutions to water and other natural resource problems including the GRAND Canal of North America, Strait of Belle Isle Fixed Link, Southside Hills development and Deltaport. Tom was keenly interested in engineering solutions to geophysical challenges at the local, provincial and continental level. His plans and projects had one common theme: whether in St. John's or beyond throughout Canada, North America or the whole world, we must learn to get along with each other and to share intelligently and generously the resources of this Good Earth. Tom was a life member of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and other professional groups. In his spare time, Tom was an avid golfer, sports-fan, reader and an occasional writer of poetry. He was able to live and work happily and independently in his home to age 100, thanks to the watchfulness and care of the neighbours on his street; his nurse practitioner Denise Cahill; his gardener Doug Stanley; his friendly chauffeurs at Coop Taxi; his personal salad maker, Brett Earls at Stadium Dominion; his housekeeper, Dorothy Short; Diane Sullivan, his financial consultant at the TD Bank; Marie Oakley, his longtime barber, Carleen Daly at China House Restaurant, and many, many others. You know who you are! We express sincere gratitude for the kind and expert care received in the HSC-ER, the HSC-3 South orthopedic staff, the Eastern Health ambulance services; the Miller Center 3 South staff and the Pastoral Care Staff at St. Clare's Hospital and the Miller Centre. Cremation has taken place. A Memorial Mass and Celebration of Tom Kierans' life will take place at St. Pius X Church Monday, December 2 at 9:30 am followed by a reception in the parish hall. "In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a charity of your choice or to Memorial University of Newfoundland, with the memo line indicating "Thomas Kierans Memorial Engineering Scholarship Fund" and sent to the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development." Thomas William Kierans fulfilled each day of his long and enthusiastically productive life, the motto he chose for his 1939 McGill University graduationyearbook photo: 'Nothing is so highly to be prized as the value of each day!' (Goethe)