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April 13, 2024

In loving memory ~

Tom Makinson died April 13th, 2024 at the Princess Margaret Cancer centre in Toronto. By his side were his wife Debby (Howard), sons Baird and Cole (Makinson) and dear friend and brother-in-law Brent (Howard).

Tom grew up on a mink ranch with three siblings (Gen, Zoe and Jim). There was plenty of opportunity for adventurous play and for exploration. Here he learned to work hard and how to take apart just about anything and put it back together again.

When Tom first struck out on his own he travelled up north where he worked on tug boats along the Mackenzie River. While he loved the adventure of working in the north he had always longed to be a pilot. After completing his pilot training he moved to Port Hardy with Debby. He worked as a bush pilot for the next 30 years flying a variety of amphibious planes in and out of small coastal communities, logging camps and fish camps. One of his favourite jobs was flying as Santa Clause bringing Christmas to remote communities along the coast.

Flying into remote fishing lodges inspired him to start his own fishing lodge just outside of Port Hardy. Tom and his business partner Rick Aiello built a thriving business from scratch. Tom loved talking to his guests and his outgoing personality and friendly nature were a large part of why guests came back year after year. The 'tin boats' of the lodge became a feature off the coast of Port Hardy every summer. The lodge also served as an amazing spot for Baird and Cole to spend their summers working and learning some problem solving and fix-it skills from their dad.

Tom and Debby loved the island, camping and kayaking as often as possible. He also loved to travel. One of his favourite memories was of a six week biking/camping trip in France where he practiced his French feeling quite proud of his abysmal accent. He was a keen gardener and his patience and attention to detail allowed him to grow nearly anything (although he never did win the garlic championship.)

Tom loved his family and often expressed how blessed he felt in his two sons and blessed again as they joined their partners (Baird and Michelle, Cole and Emma), and yet again as grandchildren (Leif, Oliver, Livia and Elliott) brought more joy to the family.

Tom loved being involved in his community and he served on the board of directors for both the Quatse River hatchery and Mt. Cain on the north island.

Tom leaves behind not only his family but so many dear friends who will miss his helpful advice, ability to fix things and always the risk of a good practical joke. A celebration of life will be held at the Little Red Church in Comox on May 18th at 1:00.

He has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Quatse River Hatchery in Port Hardy (

Service Details

Celebration of Life
Saturday, May 18, 2024
1:00 PM
Little Red Church in Comox

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