Welcome to the donation page for the Tom and Judith Peacocke Endowment Fund. This legacy fund has been established to honour their memory and to provide support for scholarships, community initiatives, organizations and causes that were important to them. Please read more about Tom and Judy below as you consider making a donation to the Tom and Judith Peacocke Endowment Fund.
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Read more about Tom and Judy Peacocke here
Our father, Thomas Peacocke, grew up in Barons, Alberta, in a two-room telephone exchange building. Often deputized by his father on the switchboard, he later claimed that the local gossip he eavesdropped on was the genesis of his lifelong passion for the theatre.
At Barons Consolidated School, a teacher, known to us only as Connor, took a particular interest in Tom. She inspired him to excel in sports and academics and taught him the importance of community – something that became a cornerstone of his professional and personal life. He scrabbled his way to the Big City of Edmonton where he earned an Education Degree at the U of A and forged lifelong friendships. Most importantly, blindsided by love at first sight, he wooed and married our mother, Judy, the love of his life.
He also discovered Elizabeth Sterling Haynes, a beacon of commitment, fire and imagination. The very sound of the great woman’s voice ringing out across an empty stage embodied the notion that one could live out the pursuit of one’s passions. His love for the theatre ignited, Tom pursued his MFA at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh and returned, with Judy and their three young children, to teach at the U of A in 1963. He was instrumental in building the BFA Drama program that became one of the best in the country and produced hundreds of working actors, directors, playwrights and theatre artists.
He taught in the Department for 35 years, directing and appearing in countless stage productions at his beloved Studio Theatre. Along the way, he became a full Professor, headed the Acting Program, and served as Chairman. Through initiatives like the open-air Torches Theatre, he generated connections between the academic, amateur, and professional theatre communities to develop the foundation of the extraordinarily vibrant theatre scene Edmonton enjoys today. He also chaired the Drama Department at the Banff Center and served on countless committees and boards to support the Fine Arts across the country. Over the years Tom also appeared in dozens of radio and television programs and films, winning a Genie for Best Actor in 1981.
Influential and tireless, he was awarded The Order of Canada, The Queen’s Medal, a Billington Award, a U of A Distinguished Alumni Award and, not least, a Sterling Award. He was profoundly honoured by this recognition, but as the memories and tributes flowed in on the occasion of his passing, he evoked most often the figure of a teacher and mentor: an uncompromising man who could not resist any opportunity to try to make you better.
Tom and Judy’s beautiful home was open to anyone lucky enough to wander in. It seems that every holiday dinner featured a stranded student or poor soul far from home. Cast parties, the legendary ‘First Year’ parties, engagement and birthday celebrations, or simple drop-in visits were always enhanced by their warm welcome. Judy’s extraordinary cooking or Tom’s individually crafted, allegedly world-famous omelettes were never in short supply. Tom presided, often late into the night, as points were argued, friendships forged, and a community grown.
Tom loved his immediate and extended family in so many ways. Our friends speak often of his influence: the late-night one-on-ones, solving life’s troubles with hard questions and a scotch, the fear he struck in young men interested in his daughter, the passion he exuded when coaching his son’s hockey team and the love he had for his grandchildren and for his spirited and biggest ally – his rock and his foundation – Judy.
He was our Santa, spending hours choosing the right book to give, wrapping gifts until dawn on Christmas morning, and reading “A Child’s Christmas in Wales”. He was our resident DJ, ensuring “Guys and Dolls”, or Verdi, or Dylan played on Sunday mornings to keep us ‘cultured’ while he fried liver and onions, clearing us all from the kitchen. He taught us to engage, to lead, to love deeply and stand up for what is right. He taught us how to use our voice.
As his good friend JP Fournier said, “We will all miss Tom’s humour, his wisdom, his bristle, the pride he took in his family, his ability to listen, his admiration for the light he saw in others, and his love for all things Canadian. He was an extraordinary being; one left his company feeling enriched.”
Tom was predeceased by Judy, his loving wife of 64 years, his parents TJ and Rita, brother Doug and sister Audrey. Tom is survived by his children, Jill (Gary), TW (Amanda), Chris (Suzy), his grandchildren, Anna (Graeme), Nick, Jasper and Sky, and sister-in-law, Jane. Tom will be missed by his many nieces and nephews of our extended family.
We would like to thank the staff at Canterbury Court and Wendy Proch for their consistently compassionate care and support for Dad.
More about Judy
Born in 1935 on All Hallows’ Eve to Walter and Helen Baker Schlosser, Judy moved with her family from Estevan to Edmonton in 1946 where she developed strong roots on the south side and developed a lifelong bond with her closest friends known as the “Garneau Girls”. She was the mischievous baby of the family – funny, independent, and adored.
Judy swept into the University of Alberta where she was a tenacious varsity athlete and proud recipient of a Block A sweater, representing the Pandas in basketball, volleyball and swimming. Her granddaughter Anna carries the torch to this day, having recently competed in the national collegiate cross-country championships.
Always up for an adventure, Judy crossed the Atlantic, sailing to Liverpool alone at the age of 20 to visit her sister Jane and husband Mac. Fearless and gorgeous, we can only imagine the impact she made in Merseyside in 1955.
By then she had met Tom, the love of her life. On their first date, Tom had proclaimed with the brazenness of a 22-year-old that he intended to marry her. Judy just laughed, but despite her father’s suspicion that she was taller than Tom, they would indeed marry in the spring of 1957. She was the most beautiful glowing bride and their wedding pictures continue to take our breath away.
Judy worked in family services before she and Tom had their own children. A devoted mother, she would also support Tom throughout his career as an actor, director and professor. She became a rehearsal partner, grounding stone, and a kind of “den mother” to his students to whom she always offered a warm welcome. She seemed to easily find the quietest or most nervous person in the room and lend them a few words of encouragement to assuage their concerns. She understood people.
Tom and Judy were a lively, loving couple who would raise a beautiful family in a “you can do anything and be anyone” creative environment. And for that we are eternally grateful. She embraced the role of mom and with it all the joys and struggles of multi-tasking, making do and making up. She was an incredible host and a master in the kitchen. Parties and spectacular food were routine in her home. She was the anchor of her family but also game for anything. In 1977 she masterminded an eight-month family trip across Europe. Every stop along the way included great food, some history, a gallery, a pause to appreciate the beauty or an epic combination of all at once, imprinting on her children a love of travel and exploration. She opened our world and our hearts.
Judy had a wry and naughty sense of humour. She could spot a fraud or a phoney a mile away and if they were listening, she’d let them know.
She and Tom carefully tended their spectacular flower garden, and Judy grew the most amazing pansies. She loved wearing bright subtle colours and comfortable shoes. She was a voracious and judicious reader who loved her book club meetings and a crossword puzzle on a quiet afternoon in her sunny front room.
She gave us sweet Christmas celebrations, big birthday parties, and offered sage advice over endless long-distance phone calls to those who needed her. She nurtured us with her wisdom and her amazing kitchen magic and her unconditional love. And, as everyone knows, she did not take any guff. We will miss her immensely.
Judy was predeceased by parents Walter and Helen Schlosser, and brother, John. Judy is survived by Tom, her husband of 64 years, her children Jill (Gary), TW (Amanda), Chris (Suzy), her grandchildren Anna, Nick, Jasper and Sky and her beloved sister, Jane Alton. She will be missed by her nieces and nephews of the SAP clan and members of the extended Peacocke family. Judy’s friends and family all hold her gently in our grieving hearts.