Tomas Juan Calon

January 8, 1947 to October 23, 2021


Tom passed away on Saturday October 23, 2021, at the age of 74, capping a life of many big adventures and many more small joys. One of his greatest joys was as a professor of earth science at MUN, where he taught structural geology for 41 years. Until only a few years ago, Tom was still enthusiastically leading groups of undergraduate students through rock outcrops in Flatrock. He adored his students, and they adored him back.

Tom was the most loving father and friend to his three kids, Charlotté, Kirsten (Sam and Samuel Tomas), and Alexander, who will miss his tender heart, his big brain, his soft counsel, and his quiet chuckles.

Although Tom delighted in the tulips, daffodils, and gladiolas that grew in his garden, rather than flowers, we know that he would be very happy for any donations made in his memory to the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of the International Appalachian Trail. A page for Tom will be available shortly on the IATNL website,

Visitation will be held from Carnell’s Funeral Home, 329 Freshwater Road, on Friday, October 29th, from 4PM-7PM.



4-7 p.m. on October 29, 2021

Carnell’s Funeral Home
329 Freshwater Road
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My sincere condolences to Tom’s loved ones. During my geology studies in Germany, I had the opportunity to travel to Newfoundland and assist Tom and three of his students in their geological field work. Spending roughly five weeks camping and hiking together with Tom impacted the rest of my life in the most positive ways.
He often said: “And now, let’s thunder down that hill”, an expression which we tried to tie to his Dutch heritage. He would whistle songs – to announce us to any bears – and be the first one up the hills.
Tom was warm at heart, full of optimism and humour, and loved to share his wisdom, knowledge, and joy. I will always remember this precious time I got with him.

My condolences to Tom’s family. Tom was a great influence on my career as a professor. As a student in his undergraduate and graduate geology courses, Tom’s love and immense knowledge of structural geology made these classes amongst the best I have ever taken. I am most grateful for Tom’s field trips in the Flatrock area, I fondly remember his explanation of the tectonic history and his numerous sketches on the whiteboard while standing in Pico’s Brook. Tom’s work in Flatrock was influential and I continue to bring my students to the area 25 years later. Tom was such an amazing contributor to MUN and to the Newfoundland geology community.

Sincere condolences to Tom’s family and close friends. A standout among Memorial’s very best teaching professors. His contributions were many and we are grateful for having benefited from his dedication, enthusiasm and knowledge. Beyond that, he was an great guy! Taught me my first geology course in 1981 and I made a point of taking every other course he taught right through my MSc at Memorial. Thanks to Tom and to his family for sharing him with us all.

I recall Tom as one of those young professors who invigorated the Geology Department of the late 1970’s. His enthusiasm, engaging teaching style and friendly spirit opened students to new ways of thinking….restructuring our minds. Thankyou Tom. Condolences to the family.

Sorry to hear about your father’s passing
Want to let you know that our thoughts are with you during this most difficult time

Thinking of you at this difficult time.
Our condolences to you and your family.
Ingrid and David

Charlotte’ ,Kirsten, Alexander and family , we are sorry to hear of your Dads passing . We really enjoyed the time spent with your family ..We often talk about the games of spotlight played when you would visit us in Summerville . May lots of happy memories help all of you through this difficult time..

Condolences to Tom’s family. I was a student of Tom’s when he first started at MUN and later met him at soccer games when are daughters played. Enjoyed his company always.

Tom was very influential to me and cemented my love of Structural Geology; it wasn’t just the science but also the fun had while studying and working with him in Western Newfoundland; singing opera, pulled lobster pots, making home brew, wading creeks, playing soccer and planning the architecture of his home reno on a stereonet! He was a brilliant character who will be missed greatly. My sincerest condolences Kristen, Charlotte, Alex and family.

I joined Tom as a new hire in the then Geology Department at MUN in 1977, and enjoyed his company and clear thinking and humour over the decades that we were colleagues. It is sad to see that he has dissected his last outcrop. The tributes from his many past students give a clear picture of the man. I also have received an entertaining message from Australia about Tom’s famous cheese fondues, but that is another story …

Our sincere condolences to Tom’s family and close ones.

Tom was my friend and mentor. He was such a jolly, supportive, technically proficient professor and field geologist whose guidance I truly revered.

My most vivid memory of Tom was in a small dory in the cold north Atlantic. As a young student drawn to structural geology, I quickly realized Tom was the person I wanted to build my learning around. We were cruising along the sea cliffs off Motion Head where we spotted a perfect spot to collect some data. Tom and our worthy local captain from Maddox Cove were in their element, spray from the sea showering us upon every trough and crest of the waves. We timed it perfectly. Slowly easing the dory up to the shore where I thought Tom would show me the way. He did not. He let me figure it out for myself. The sea along the cliffs was awesome, dropping 5m, rising back another 10m. The apex of the waves was obvious, but the consequences great. At this point, I was rather nervous as I peered up at the slippery sea-weed-covered objective. Tom and the captain on the other hand were smoking cigarettes and trading smirks towards each other and then my way. I originally thought they were just loving life, in hindsight they were anxious to see the outcome. Whether I made it ashore or not, I think, was of little interest. They were there for the show. I couldn’t disappoint. Wait for the perfect time to grab some rock, climb out of the boat, and stand. “Seems easy” I told myself. Tom said, “You’ll be fine!” in his unforgettable deep, raspy chuckling accent (cigarette still half cocked in the corner of his mouth). I trusted the rosy cheeked Tom this far I thought, might as well keep going down the rabbit hole. All was fine in the end, short of a double boot soaker as I hung onto the sea cliff, pulling myself up onto the ledge. I grabbed some measurements and reversed the process but gave the boys in the boat a fright when I jumped back in from shore. “Lets do that again!” Tom said with glee. The man was built for the field.

Tom gave every student all the time and energy needed to get the point across. The man had such a huge impression on me and my fellow students. Tom showed me how to be a geologist.

I am so happy to have met, learned from, and got to know Tom at least for a short time. I for one know that my life has proven to be better having spent time with Tom. I hope his spirit has found endless, complex fold and thrust belts to map.

My sincere and deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.
Ben Stanley

My sincere condolences. I did not take any courses with Tom but I did have the pleasure of learning from him as we walked across outcrops in Cyprus. I have fond memories of our time spent on flights and in the airport. He always made for great conversation. He made students feel comfortable and confident. and he treated everybody, regardless of their position, with respect. That showed what a true gentleman he was. He will be missed.

I am a former student of Tom’s having taken undergraduate and graduate courses from him. Great guy who always took the time to help his students. Spent many hours in Tom’s office trying to wrap my head around the nuances of structural geology. Funny, caring and knowledgeable is how I will remember him. Rest well Tom.

To Char and Family,
Please accept our heartfelt condolences on the passing of your beloved father. He sounded like a most fascinating man and it would have been such a privilege to know him. You are in our thoughts and prayers.. Wishing you strength in the days and months ahead. May the many wonderful memories of your father sustain you and comfort you. Sending you our love.
Helen and Jon Arsenault

Our deepest condolences for your loss.

We have lost a great friend, teacher, mentor and colleague. Tom truly cared about all his students, be they budding newbies or graduate students. He only wished good fortune for all. Tom really came alive on the outcrops and, better than anybody else, he could summon up the great tectonic forces of the Earth and make the rocks come alive before your very eyes. Every interference fold pattern reminds me of him.

I have many and fond memories of Tom from my time in the Earth Sciences Department.. He invited me to help with his Structural Grology field school and was very welcoming when I wanted to sit in on his classes. We had many great conversations and he always made me feel I was a valued colleague. His warm personality and care for his students will be remembered by scores of students, fellow faculty members and staff. He will be greatly missed. My deepest sympathy to his family.

We are so happy to have met such a joyful man and see the pride and love in his eyes at his daughters wedding, thinking of you all during this difficult time.

I am very sad to hear of Tom’s passing. In the late 1970s I was a grad student at MUN, and Tom was a newly-arrived member of the faculty. He was a massive help to me when I was writing my thesis and I learned so much from him in that process. Many years later, Tom was still teaching with skill and dedication, and we would often talk in the corridors at MUN or in the classrooms, and he was still the same young, enthusiastic and perceptive character that I first knew. Always amiable, good-humoured and engaged, and dedicated to sharing that knowledge across the generations. Tom was a first-rate geologist and a first-rate human being, who leaves a legacy that goes well beyond science and rocks to influence the lives of students and colleagues. My condolences to the Calon family in this time.

Andrew Kerr

Charlotte and family: Our deepest sympathies on his unexpected passing. May you all draw comfort through the many shared memories.

I am deeply saddened to hear of Tom’s passing. I got to know him when he arrived at MUN in late 1977 and almost immediately became a member of my PhD committee. I benefited greatly from his expertise and constructive advice. That “quiet chuckle” brings back many fond memories. My sincere condolences to his family and former colleagues.

May the Lord repose his soul in the paradise of joy

We are so sorry for your loss. We have lots of memories from many of Charlotte’s soccer games and great times at team parties. We are thinking of you all at this sad time.

My deepest condolences to Tom’s family. I was a colleague from the time he arrived at Memorial until I retired in 2007. We shared many a good discussion of aspects of Newfoundland geology, especially on aspects ignored by the mainstream views. He was well respected by his students, the ultimate accolade for a professor.

Dr. Calon will be deeply missed. He was a very empathetic and understanding professor. He even let my mother attend class/lab with me once when I wasn’t in a good situation during my studies. And he would always tell me not to run in the hallway because I was nearly late for class. His invaluable knowledge was immense and he made structural geology look so easy. We were lucky to be taught by him. Thank you Dr. Calon for giving me a second chance and for helping me move forward.

Tom was my undergraduate thesis adviser. He would procrastinate in getting back my drafts so we developed a solution where he would review them with me present. As a result, we had some in-depth and insightful discussions. I also spent nearly 3 months in Northern Labrador as his field assistant. There are no words to convey how much I learned and developed as a geologist. Even now when someone compliments my writing, I know I have Tom to thank for that.. There are so many stories from that time. Tom showing me how to hike like a Laplander, him quitting smoking by not bringing enough cigarettes to the field or running down a meadow singing The Sound of Music. He was a thoughtful and patient teacher and fun to be in the field with. RIP Tom

I came to MUN already interested in geology, but because of Tom I left absolutely loving structures. I am very glad that I had the chance to study under him for my thesis, and to have field experience with him. Tom will definitely be missed by any who knew him.

There will never be another like Tom! His impact on the world is multi-faceted and multi-generational. Both myself and my uncle studied under Tom and agree that his course was one of the best parts of Geology at Memorial. Sending his family and friends the utmost sympathy and comfort during this tough time.

Kirsten, Sam and family
We are so sorry to hear about Tom’s passing. While we only met him once, we were charmed by his stories of travel, and we could tell he was respected in his field. Moreover we saw the love he had for you. We hope the good memories can help sustain you during this difficult time.

Tom was one of my thesis supervisors and worked closely with us in the East Med Group. He has passed on his passion for structural geology to myself and countless others. We all loved working with him, his friends will always remember his fun attitude and that chuckle and smirk. He had such a beautiful heart, that will always be with his family and the Earth Science Department.

Kirsten and family,
We’re so very sorry to hear of the loss of your father. You’re in our thoughts and prayers. Take care and hold his memory dear.

Since you told me, Alex, of Tom’s passing, I can’t get his deep chuckling out of my head. That grin spread wide across his face. He’s been following me around, and I see him standing just there. I loved his laugh. His whole face lit up when he laughed. He cared so much for his students. I witnessed it first hand when I was his student. And then I witnessed it time and time again as I worked with him in the department over the last 15 years. What a character he was. I’ll miss him, sat in my chair, smiling at me as he told me stories. There will never be another Tom as long as we all shall live.

Kirsten and Charlotte, we have never met, but I have heard all about your successes. I remember when he used to leave structure lab and go pick you girls up when you were little and bring you to soccer, and then he’d come right back to lab and stay with us as long as we needed him to. Alex, he was so proud of you doing your thesis with him. He was so proud of all of you. He loved you so very much. My sincerest condolences to you all.

I am so grateful for all that Tom taught me in my undergrad degree – not just the structural geology, but how to enjoy ourselves while learning and spending time outdoors. Thanks for everything, Tom. You will be missed!

A wonderful warm caring friend, teacher and co-worker. He will be greatly missed.