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Born: Dec 15, 1933

Date of Passing: Apr 24, 2021

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Born December 15, 1933, he passed very peacefully, after a lengthy illness, on Saturday, April 24, 2021, in the presence of family, at the Grace Hospital.
He leaves behind his sons, Michael (Donna) and David (Mary); his grandchildren, Sarah (Kevin), Samuel (Rebecca), Jamil, Isaac and Ava; and his great-grandson Solomon.
Predeceased by his parents, Alexander and Christina Thomson; and by his brothers, George (in infancy) and Robert.
Al was born in Winnipeg's west end during the depression. His father who had served in the First World War went overseas again at the outbreak of the Second World War. He returned to Al's family in 1943, following which they moved to Grande Prairie, to Truro, and then back to Winnipeg, as his father was posted in each as a military training camp commander.
At war's end they moved to River Heights (Sir John Franklin, he would emphasize), where Al attended Robert H. Smith School and Kelvin High School. He was a gifted athlete; a provincial high school champion at both quarterback and high jump, and a junior league baseball player.
He worked for several years as a draftsman at a foundry, Anthes Imperial Ltd., before returning to school at the University of Manitoba where he attained degrees in Arts and in Education. He was then employed for over 30 years with the St. Vital School Division. As a teacher and as an administrator, he worked at Dakota Collegiate, Minnetonka School, and Glenlawn Collegiate, where he made many lasting friendships among staff and students.
Like all grandparents his greatest pleasure came from following the activities and accomplishments of all his grandchildren. He also enjoyed spectator sports; fishing with buddies at Grass River Provincial Park and on Dauphin Lake; his several book clubs where, with friends, he could maintain his interest in both literature and history; and his Friday morning coffee club mates.
He taught his sons the exquisite mechanics of a ball well thrown and the perfection of a pass delivered with clear intention; the expression in a simple line of a picture, and the importance of the phrasing of a lyric; that the understated is often better understood; and the joys of irreverence and absurdity.
When these strange times we are currently struggling with finally end, a memorial event will be arranged and announced. In the meantime, you may share your thoughts and memories at

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on May 01, 2021

Condolences & Memories (7 entries)

  • During my time at Glenlawn, I normally tried to stay off Mr Thomson’s radar because I had heard so many stories from my older brother. My last year I was on student council and thankfully he was always there to help me, give me advice and still straighten me out when I needed it. He was an amazing man! My condolences to Michael and the family. - Posted by: Desmond Clarke (Former student) on: May 23, 2021

  • Mr. Thomson was my Vice-Principal at Glenlawn Collegiate and the best History teacher you could hope to have. During my first week at Glenlawn he called me out with some friends for having a Slurpee in the hallway. He told me we were only allowed drinks outside or in the cafeteria. I was the only one dumb enough to say anything. I said something to the effect of "I'm going from the outside to the cafeteria, and I don't know of another way to get there". So (of course) he introduced himself and brought me to his office. He tore a strip off me and threatened to send me back to Junior High, then we talked about sports for a bit. Eventually I got brave enough to say that he could probably kick me out of Glenlawn....but he couldn't make my Junior High take me back. He laughed and told me to keep that to myself. He was the best. I was lucky enough to have him for History and that became my favourite subject. I played for the school soccer team all three years and he came to our home games. Sometimes it was just him with a smattering of parents and girlfriends. I still love history and I've tried to pass that along. He will not be forgotten. - Posted by: Kyle Foxworthy (Student) on: May 23, 2021

  • It's hard to make a student feel good about not knowing the answer ... but once, on an exam, I had no clue about one of the questions, so I wrote in an incredibly juvenile and stupid pun -- what the kids these days would call a "dad joke". When he was handing back the exams, Mr. Thomson stopped, shook his head, and then read that answer to the class. Then he cracked up -- which was worth more to me than getting the right answer would have been. (After all ... I don't remember a single one of the ones I got correct on that exam!). - Posted by: Scott S (Former student) on: May 18, 2021

  • Al was the leader of an English class I was in when I was in Grade 10. He showed me how Shakespeare could be fun. His sense of humour and insights into life were wonderful. Condolences to his family. May he rest easy. - Posted by: John Melnick (Student of Al ‘S) on: May 08, 2021

  • Al Thomson was one of the finest people I have ever known. He was brilliant, loyal, funny, poetic, thoughtful and kind. When he was a vice principal, he left notes for staff when they did something good, or when they needed his support. He attended every single performance or game that involved the students in his care. He was faithful to us all, and he modelled exactly the behaviour we hope for in those in whom we entrust our children's education. He was also a tremendously loyal friend, who would call you out when you were being dumb, but more often celebrate you when things were going your way. Al stood up against injustice, and would not abide bullies. He loved movies and art and literature as much as he loved sports. He had, as Hamlet would say "blood and judgment so well commedled." If you never got to hear him sing Willie Nelson's version of "Always on My Mind" then you missed something special. Much love to Al's family, and thank you for sharing him with the legions who loved him. I consider myself lucky to have been one. - Posted by: Theresa Oswald (Friend, colleague, book club mate, fellow lover of Hamlet) on: May 01, 2021

  • Mr Thomson was my grade 11 history teacher back in 1977. His passion for the subject, his tolerance of our insolence, and his dogged determination to get us to learn something...anything, was commendable as I reflect back on the time. His class was a favourite that year, which was really saying something. Thank you sir and congratulations on a life no doubt well lived. - Posted by: Earl Toews (Former pupil) on: May 01, 2021

  • Rest In Peace. Al was an colleague from St. Vital days. A wonderful man. My sympathies to his family. - Posted by: Germaine (Colleague ) on: May 01, 2021

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