R.I.P. Tom McCulla

 Tom with Gill and Grace..Aug 2008

We mourn the passing of Tom McCulla, one of our Choir members, in his early fifties. He fought bravely, and with great humour, against a brain tumour, which latterly had affected his sight, and made him very tired. He passed away on Thursday 4th June at the Hospice in Airdrie.

He was an exceptional person….a quick mind with a penchant for corny puns, skilled and adventurous in his musical writing, a great keyboard player, (he was the senior person at the piano department of Biggars, in Glasgow),accompanying the Kedron Singers, and at his own Church, and with a desire to serve any church, of whatever denomination.

The photo above was one of his favourites, and shows him at one of our visits to St. Aidan’s, Clarkston, in September 2008. By that time he knew how serious the tumour was, but still managed to show us that cheeky, child-like grin which was one of his great features.

Ballachulish ..Mar 2009

His last event with us was at Ballachulish (see him second from the right, in the back row), when we joined the congregation at St John’s Episcopal Church and many others, on a miserable, snowy, cold 8th March, for a wonderful Service of Sung Evensong.

We had all been worried about the wisdom of his journey and participation, considering his state of health at the time, but he had been so looking forward to being with us that there was no way he could be left out.

So, due to the good and kind offices of two of our members, he was able to spend a weekend in the beautiful Argyll countryside, and join us in the singing as lustily as he was able.

A service of remembrance will be held on Thursday 11th at 11am, at St Matthew’s Church, Paisley.

He will be remembered by Angelus Singers, as much for his personality, as for his musical ability.

May he be happy, playing for the heavenly choir!

10 thoughts on “R.I.P. Tom McCulla

  1. Kamlesh Bahanda says:

    I echo these sentiments of his puns and music. I had the rich blessing of Tom being one of my very best friends for the past 20 years. Through thick and thin he woould always joke his way through but took his music most seriously especially for the Church. I’ll remember tonly the fun, food, concerts, restaurants, his place full of pianos and heavenly music. The Prince of all TOM- foolery. Thanks for all the wonderful memories. I can hear laughter in Heaven now.. Au revoir.
    Kamlesh Bahanda. London

  2. ip says:

    Hi…..thanks for your comments….I hope the photos reminded you about him. We will be at his funeral on Thursday, and I hope that I can write a short piece in his memory.

  3. julie says:

    We were privileged to meet Tom for the first time on 8th March (a Sunday of challenging West Highland weather & long journeys) for Sung Evensong led by Angelus Singers @ St John’s, Ballachulish.
    We can only hope, that he gained as much pleasure from singing in the church, as we did from observing his courage & participation in the event.

    BI AIG FOIS (in Gaelic, Be At Peace)

    Vestry & Friends of St John’s, Ballachulish

  4. Rev Donald Davidson says:

    It was a joy and privilege to be part of the service of Sung Evensong at St Johns Ballachulish on 8th March.
    The singing and enthusiasm of the group was inspiring.
    I was so sorry to hear of the passing of Tom and my thoughts and prayers are with you all at this sad time.
    Thought I would include this verse by Joyce Grenfell:
    If I should go before the rest of you
    Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
    Nor when I am gone speak in a Sunday voice
    But be your usual selves that I have known
    Weep if you must, parting is hell
    But life goes on, so……..sing as well.

  5. ip says:

    Julie and Donald……thank you both for your kind words. Tom was one of those people who moved very easily from one section of the christian church to another. He was overwhelmed by St John’s and the historical significance, which was quite different to the Church of the Nazarene where he went and from where his funeral will take on Thursday.

    His family is much in our prayers and I have passed your words to them.

  6. Heather Ennis says:

    Tom was a special person in every way, truly one of a kind. We loved his silly jokes, his upbeat humour and the ability to look on the bright side of life no matter what. He handled his illnes with great dignity and faith and is an inspiration to us all. I’ll miss our musical talks and playing piano together. I have great and fond memories of all our trips out to concerts and ballets together – my musical guide extraordinaire.

    We miss our special friend loads.
    Love, Heather, David and Fearghus Ennis xxx

  7. ip says:

    Dear all…..those of us who were able to attend the funeral yesterday found an amazing unanimity in what was said by those who paid tribute before, during, and after the service. A gentle, comedic, musically-skilled, deep-thinking, Christian, whose faith was untouchable, and whose composing skills never fully came to fruition. His piece ‘Gentle Rain’ was not an easy piece to sing well but the Kedron Singers sang it from the heart, as Tom would have liked. Also how his niece was able to sing so capably at such an event I just don’t know.

    Tributes have come from Ballachulish as to his courage, but it is the almost Chaplin-like sense of fun which will be forever, for me at least, Tom McCulla.

  8. Simon & Jan Lui says:

    Tom was the pianist for our wedding in August 1990. We loved the way he played his piano. We went to the same church for a number of years, from late 80’s to late 90’s.
    Tom was always faithful in doing his music for the church. I still remembered the time we sang christmas carol outside Safeway (now Morrison) near Partick Station. Tom always loved travelling and I could still remember he used to work in a Travel Agent in Partick. He always came up with a lot of jokes. He came to our house for a meal for a few time. He loved our chicken wings. We also loved the way he laugh. He loved his job in thepiano shop in Glasgow in fact we brought our keyboard under his recommendation. He was very professional in his job and because he was so good with his music that he made a lot of friends and also told people about his christian life. Last time I met Tom was outside the wee shop accross his church in Paisley.
    He told me that his tumour was under control and I was glad for him. But we were shock to hear him passed away.
    But, I believe he is in a better place now.

  9. ip says:

    Simon and Jan……many thanks for yet more stories about, and insights into, the life of this amazing man. Everything you have said has been already said by others so your comments are obviously perfectly valid. Everywhere he met people, he impressed them and we have never found anyone who had a bad word to say about him.

    We are continuing to get responses about him, and no doubt will continue to do so. It is probably interesting to keep an eye on this blog.

    I am going to copy your information and send a copy to his mother.

    Again, many thanks for sharing your memories with all of us.

  10. Ann says:

    I shall never forget the inspiration that Tom was to me at a difficult time in my ministry. He was so encouraging, and when I last visited him with the New Testament in tape form at St. Andrew’s hospice he was his normal self. What a courage man he was and I shall remember him with great love and fondness, but most of all I shall remember Tom as a very special Christian who loved people because he knew that his Christ loved him. Sleep in peace Tom.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s