A funeral was held on February 4 at the chapel of the Shoalhaven Memorial Gardens, Worrigee for Tom Blackmore.
Tom passed away on January 30, just weeks short of his 90th birthday.
He was born and grew up in the Sydney suburb of Summer Hill, the second eldest of four brothers, all of whom predeceased him.
During his formative years in the Great Depression and World War II, he saw his mother be a generous soul for starving and poor people, and his father become a veteran of both World Wars.
Tom attended the local public school at Summer Hill, before going to Ashfield Boys Technical High School, and completing an apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery for Booth Industries on Sydney Harbour.
As a teenager, he developed a passion for playing soccer, first with the Ashfield Rovers club, then at a representative level in the Western Suburbs districts, before playing lower grades for Leichhardt-Annandale, one of the strongest clubs in the NSW State League at the time.
Tom arrived in Nowra in 1949 with a mate named Ted Bone. They were on a touring holiday, and attended a dance at Nowra School of Arts.
Here he met a local girl named Alison Smith, who became his lifelong love till the day he died. Their first date was a picnic the following day at the Nowra Showground, a venue which was an important part of extended family life over the years.
It is worth recalling that when he returned to Sydney, his brothers sent him several prank telegrams from his newly found sweetheart.
Despite this, Tom was soon based with Alison's family, living on their dairying property Friday's Farm, at Numbaa.
During their courtship Tom struggled for building work around the district for a time. He built a verandah extension on to the farm homestead as a project to help his father-in-law Artie Smith.
Artie was the most prominent sporting official in the Shoalhaven during this period.
Soon Tom not only acquired more building work, but also married Alison at All Saints Church of England in Nowra on September 6, 1953.
Over the next half a century, Tom worked in the building industry throughout the Shoalhaven, based in Nowra.
By 1961, he'd finished building the family house at 61 Jervis Street, Nowra. Tom and Alison raised their four children (Jennifer b.1954, David b.1957, John b.1961 and Robyn 1963-1983) at this address.
Tom worked as a foreman for Geoff Walker on many of the larger building projects about the town at the time their children were born, before branching out to form his own company - T.D. Blackmore & Co.
Tom traded under this business name for the remainder of his career.
He trained numerous apprentices while building residential homes, eventually specialising in handcrafted woodwork projects, house renovations, insurance inspections and maintenance positions at places like Nowra Dairy Co-operative, the Standish Medical Centre, Nowra East Public School and Chesalon Nursing Home.
In retirement, he made small handicraft objects as varied as kitchen chopping boards, flagpoles, keyring holders, chairs and other furniture pieces, as well as honour boards for various organisations.
A highlight of these was to be invited by the president of the local Master Builders Association, Maurie Davidson, to make a major honour board for the Nowra TAFE College at Bomaderry.
Others honour boards he made over the years include those for schools like Shoalhaven High, Nowra East, Tomerong and North Nowra public schools, those in the Soccer Association clubhouse at South Nowra, some at the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital, as well as two for the life members of South Coast Group Seven Rugby League in its centenary year.
In 63 years of married life, Tom and Alison were active volunteers in many organisations across the Shoalhaven. Both received Premier Awards in recognition of their work.
Tom had a 64 year commitment to the Masonic Lodge in Moss Street, was a founding member of South Nowra Rotary Club in 1978, becoming its first life member.
In his 1986/87 year as club president, South Nowra Rotary hosted the District 971 Conference. He celebrated the success of this conference by making every club member joint clubperson of the year.
In later years, Tom was made a Paul Harris Rotary Fellow.
In 1968, as president of Nowra Rovers Junior Soccer Club, Tom headed a committee which constructed the first soccer field at South Nowra.
By 1973, he was elected president of the newly formed Shoalhaven District Amateur Soccer Association.
In 1973, Tom, his association secretary Len Bolden, and treasurer Bill Graham, also forged a presence for Shoalhaven soccer at Southern Branch and NSW Amateur Soccer Federation levels.
By 1978 when Len resigned from all his commitments in the sport, and Tom was made a life member of S.D.A.S.A., a second field, a permanent amenities block and floodlights had all been constructed at the South Nowra complex, which today is the home of the Shoalhaven and Southern Branch footballing organisations.
Tom was also the manager and selector of the under 12, 13 and 14 years NSW soccer teams in 1977 (Perth), 1978 (Brisbane) and 1979 (Whyalla).
This team won consecutive National Junior Titles in 1977 and 1978.
Tom is survived by his three children; daughters-in-law Donna and Jan; three grandchildren, Laura, Angus and Oliver; and many other extended family members.
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