Tom Oleson was loved by most of his readers most of the time; sometimes he poked the bear and sometimes he was downright confrontational on issues. He made you think. His views often diverged from those views of a liberal newspaper such as the Free Press. Tom plied his skills as a scribe extraordinaire at the Free Press for more than 45 years and we all miss him, whether we agreed with him or not.
Tom was good at improving his readers' word power, his command of the English language forced us to get out the dictionary on a regular basis. Tom could write about someone canoodling, one of his favourites, or call former mayor Glen Murray plumpish or call me fat and balding and still be my friend.
When he died in early 2012, we lost a true Winnipegger who loved his craft and loved our city. Winnipeg Free Press readers who remember Tom have an opportunity to contribute to his scholarship fund that was aided this week with a generous donation from a prominent local businessman. The fund now sits at close to $7,000, and we need to get to $10,000 to get started and ultimately to $25,000 to create the perpetual scholarship. The Winnipeg Foundation will be approached to assist.
The scholarship will be awarded to a Churchill High School student who is planning on entering the liberal arts or journalism, someone actively involved in the community and chosen by school staff and administration. The school was his alma mater.
Tom's daughters, Katie and Jen, will make the presentation.
Donations can be made to the Tom Oleson Scholarship Fund, in my care, and sent to Box 800 at the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Avenue, R2X 3B6.
Peter Kaufmann was a longtime friend of Tom Oleson.