A lovely bunfight at Scotland Yard last Tuesday night to say good bye to Tom Hnatiw.
Tom passed away a couple of weeks ago at age 53 due to complications from kidney disease.
I'm lousy at guesstimating crowd sizes, but there must have been a hundred people or more jammed into that place, some I hadn't seen in years.
The stories abounded of course - racers spend fifteen minutes actually running a race, then forty years talking about it.
And talking, and talking, and talking...
When Tom's name came up as it did all the time (as you would expect), there were always phrases like "... huge smile on his face", "...ability to defuse a tense situation with some humour", and "...helped me out when I needed help".
That just was the guy's nature.
Tom and his long-time car racing partner Al Ayre used to call their racing team "PTFB Racing", the acronym standing for "Put The Fun Back".
Tom put fun into everything he did.
His son Nicholas, now embarking on a business career, was there (brother Wyatt was already back in Montreal attending McGill, where Nick graduated from). Both are proof that the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree; they were Tom's primary focus in life, and he and his wife Debbie spared nothing to give them everything they could to make them better people.
We were all glad Nick could see for himself how we all felt about his Dad, and the impact he had on so many lives.
A video was made with various of Tom's friends recounting vignettes from his multi-facetted life - businessman, racer, radio and television broadcaster, race track announcer, PR guy.
And, he had a terrific singing voice too.
Richard Pickering, one of Tom's oldest friends and the organizer of this event, said the video would help Nick and Wyatt's kids - assuming there are some one day! - to see what a champ their Granddad had been.
He will not be easily replaced; he will not be forgotten.