This website is about my very special brother, Thomas Roland DesRochers. Tom passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on January 24th, 1999 of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). He was only 39 years old.
Tom was one of the most amazing people I've had the good luck to have known. He was a wonderful 'big brother' growing up and during our adult years together. We were fortunate to have never lived more than ten minutes apart for most of this time. My husband Phil Moreau, also a YRP detective, became a close friend of Tom's (in addition to being his brother-in-law) and because of this we have a lot of shared memories, and a deep, mutual sense of loss.
What made Tom stand apart from the masses was his incredible sense of fairness, decency, and modesty. Tom was brilliant, yet never arrogant. He never judged anyone and was always open to the opinions of others. The older I become, the more I realize just how rare these qualities truly are.
Tom's example taught me to strive to be a better person. His sense of humour has certainly shaped my own, and has left indelible memories (and stories!) with so many who knew him. He touched so many lives in the short time he was with us, and I feel priviledged to have had him as such a big part of my own life.
Growing up, Tom always dreamed of someday becoming a police officer. He practiced many 'law enforcement' techniques on Michel and I, particularly during our teen years. We certainly couldn't get into too much trouble without Tom's intervention, which in retrospect was a very good thing! In 1981 Tom achieved his longtime dream when he graduated from the Ontario Police College and began working with York Regional Police Service. He spent 18 years working for the force, first in uniform, later as a detective. Tom was also seconded to a Joint Forces Project to investigate allegations of municipal corruption.
Because of the shift work involved in policing, Tom was unable to attend university in a conventional sense. Instead, he completed his Bachelor of Arts in History almost entirely by correspondence with the University of Waterloo, something that requires a tremendous amount of self-discipline. Tom didn't stop there, and on June 12th, 1998, he graduated from Osgoode Law School, Toronto, Ontario. He managed to continue working for the police service throughout the three years he attended law school. We were so in awe of his stamina and determination, and the fact that it never seemed a chore or in any way tedious to him. I don't recall ever hearing him complain about his workload or the stress level he must have endured.
In December of 1998, Tom wrote and passed his Bar exams. Sadly, he was ill during this time with what he thought was a chest cold that just wouldn't seem to go away. On January 15th, he went back to his doctor to follow-up and was sent for chest x-rays. He was immediately admitted to hospital with a condition called pleural effusion. Six days later Tom was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukemia (AML) and was transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. The next day after experiencing complications he was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital's Intensive Care Unit. Five days later, we lost our dear, wonderful Tom. It still isn't real to us, and we are so very devastated by all that has happened, but time is beginning to heal. Having Tom at all was to me, a miracle. He was so special. I'm sure some greater power thought so too, and decided he was needed elsewhere. He has left footprints on our hearts that will last forever and for that I'm grateful.
* On February 26, 1999 at a special convocation of the Law Society of Upper Canada, Tom, having completed all requirements and passed all his Bar exams despite his illness, was Called to the Bar. This is the first time in the history of the Law Society of Upper Canada that someone has received their Call to the Bar posthumously.
** On April 18th, 2018, Tom's mother, Annette DesRochers passed away from Acute Myloid Leukemia, the same disease that took Tom far too early. While we miss her terribly, we know she is reunited with Tom, along with so many others lost over the years.
More about Tom...