When someone dies it always leaves a hole on the fabric of family and community.
For those of us involved in the family which is Yorkton This Week and the community which is the newspaper sector in Saskatchewan the hole that was left with the recent passing of Neil Thom is a large one.
Neil was one of those people who was very much born into the newspaper business doing just about everything there is to do with getting a newspaper into the hands of readers in our community.
As a youth Neil would deliver newspapers, and from that humble entry into the field would spend most of his life dedicated to the business of providing local news to the community he grew up in and chose to raise his own family in. He would end up as publisher of the publication you now hold in your hands taking the top posting yet maintaining the boyish charm and exuberance that he probably held when delivering papers.
The job of producing a weekly newspaper is a busy one, a job which changes with each day as new events and stories arise to be covered so that the community can remain informed about our city. For Neil he took the responsibility in stride.
It was a rare day that Neil was not the happiest person in the office, and when the occasional scowl crossed his face, as is apt to happen with anyone in charge of a busy workplace, it would fade quickly. He made Yorkton This Week a good place to work because he was there working with you each day.
And Neil didn’t forget about his community away from the sound of keyboard keys tapping out the next story on City council or the Yorkton Terriers. He well-understood there is good reason to be involved as a volunteer because with each effort of an individual we build a better community for all.
Boards such as Tourism Yorkton and SIGN come quickly to mind as ones Neil found time to do his part.
Beyond Yorkton Neil also worked for the newspaper business as a whole, spending time on the board of the Saskatchewan Newspapers Association, including a stint as the organization’s president from 2005 to 2007.
He would also serve nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association.
Somewhere amid the time his evolving career in the newspaper took, and his efforts in the community, Neil found time to marry and raise three children, rounding out a life of family, career and community to be proud of.
We at Yorkton This Week are certainly proud of all Neil did for this publication and the community it serves, and we will miss our friend now that he is gone.