“Lord, bless this land you’ve given me
And may I always know,
As I tend each crop and creature
You’re the One who helps them grow.
Grant me the strength and wisdom
Please protect me from all harm,
And thank you, Lord
For your gracious gift..
The blessing of my farm”
Farming was not just a vocation for David, it was his life. He lived and breathed farming from the day he was born on May 16, 1943, to John and Jessie (Sim) Thomson. David was the eldest, the older brother to Alex and Mac. At that time, the Thomson farm (south half of Lot 18, Concession 13, Sullivan Township) was a mixed operation, including pigs, chickens, cattle, and various crops. David and his family attended Geneva Presbyterian Church in Chesley every Sunday. David went to a red-brick one-room school (SS#6 Elderslie) for grades one through eight and had the same teacher every year. He attended Chesley District High School, and then continued his education at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, receiving a Diploma in Agriculture in 1963. While attending school and assisting on the family farm, David participated in 4-H; at college, he showed a pig at the College Royal competition and won the champion showman award. Following graduation, he moved home to join in the farming operation.
David assisted his father John with the day-to-day requirements of running the farm, with the help of his brothers until they went away for post-secondary studies. While a member of the Junior Farmers organization, he met a young woman from the Tara area, Karen Emily McCurdy. The two saw each other at Saturday night Keady dances, and dated for three years before being wed on December 21, 1968, at Centenary United Church in Arran Township. Several months after marrying, David and Karen purchased a farm just north of his parents’ home place. There they welcomed their two sons, Jason in October 1970, and Aaron in May 1973. In the spring of 1975, they bought another farm across the road, in Elderslie Township, and moved into that house, which was bigger for their growing family. Their daughter Crystal was born in December 1975. David instilled the value of completing any farm task to the best of one’s ability in each of his children from a young age.
County Line Farms, David and Karen’s farming operation included 5 barns of beef cattle, a range of crops covering several hundred acres and, during the 1980s, a seed cleaning and selling business, County Line Seeds. David was particularly proud of all of the contiguous parcels of land which he and Karen were able to purchase over time.
On top of farming, David had the gift of working with his hands. He was always tinkering on something, whether making adjustments to machinery, or welding self-designed tools of one sort or another from scraps of metal he had laying around his shop. David also continually planned and designed upgrades and additions to the structures on his properties; he would sketch maps and was never without his measuring tape. In recent years, after he and Karen moved into town in 2019, David often mulled over how best to modify their new residence in order to incorporate a larger garage! While moving to town was a big change for David, he continued to operate County Line Farms with the assistance of his son Aaron and continued to spend the majority of his days working on and managing the farm.
David was a very faithful man. He maintained his family’s tradition of attending church every week with Karen and his children. He served on the Session for Geneva Presbyterian Church for many years and was also a member of the church choir, for which Karen was the organist. He enjoyed singing; however, if there was a line or note he couldn’t hit he would ask Karen if they could omit it from the hymn!
David also was a member of the Chesley Fall Fair Board, and over the years won many prizes at the fair for his crops. When not on the land, David kept up to date with the latest news in farming, reading publications such as Ontario Farmer and Country Guide. He listened to the radio to hear the farm market reports, and constantly kept updated on the weather. Like most farmers, David also enjoyed his meat and potatoes – he wasn’t picky, especially about any type of dessert!
For years, the family dog, Spike, rode between farms with David in the truck, the interior of which was rarely if ever in a state of cleanliness. In later years, David had a soft spot for Mindy the house cat – she would sit beside him while he ate, knowing that once he was finished he would brush her.
A strong work ethic was something that David exhibited for his entire life. He was a very strong and determined man; he never complained and was thankful for the life he was blessed with. While he was soft-spoken, he always made a point of conversing with others at extended family gatherings, and he genuinely listened to and remembered their responses. David was a kind and gentle man – his family, his faith, and farming were the three most important pillars of his life. His strength showed when he was diagnosed, around a decade ago, with Parkinson’s. He never let it get him down, but simply carried on with his daily routine.
The day before he passed, Karen drove David out to the farm, so he could check on things. Even though the doctor had advised him to remain in the car, David showed his typical determination and climbed up into the cab of the grain truck! David passed away at the South Bruce Grey Health Centre, Chesley, on Sunday, April 16, 2023, in his 80th year.
Beloved husband of Karen (McCurdy) Thomson. Loving father of Jason of Ottawa, Aaron (Lorna Lehman) of R.R.#2 Chesley, and Crystal (Chuck Rossel) of Owen Sound. Cherished grandfather of Sadie, Jessie, Samuel, and Henry, and step-grandfather of Nicolle, Khris, and Jacob. Dear brother-in-law of Annette Thomson, Linda Thomson, Janice (Ron) Hammell, Frank (Pat) McCurdy, Tom McCurdy (Rosamund Woodhouse), Phyllis McCurdy (John McGrade), and Sandra (Guy) Stewart. He will also be missed by many nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his brothers, Alexander and Malcolm, and his parents, John and Jessie (Sim) Thomson.
Visitation will be held at Rhody Family Funeral Home, on Saturday, April 22, 2023, from 12:30 p.m. until the time of the funeral service at 2:30 p.m. Interment in Chesley Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to Geneva Presbyterian Church, to the Parkinson Society Southwestern Ontario, Chesley Hospital Foundation, or to a charity of one’s choice would be appreciated as expressions of sympathy.
“Living is Christ, dying is gain” (Philippians 1:21)