THE triathlon fraternity has been plunged into mourning following the death of Tom Chalmers, the father of national team coach Pam Fulton, last week.
Chalmers, 85, passed on peacefully in hospital last Friday, with his daughter Fulton by his side, after falling and breaking his pelvis.
Death has been unkind to Fulton, who is the Triathlon Zimbabwe (TZ) vice president, after she also lost her mother nine months ago.
“My special dad passed away after a couple of traumatic weeks.
“He fell and broke his pelvis, developed a distended tummy that many specialists were sadly unable to treat,” Fulton told the Daily News.
“I was fortunate to be by his side when he peacefully passed away…dad has spent the last eight months at Nazareth House where he was loved and cared for and learnt how to cope without mom.
“Thank you to all the lovely staff who learnt to be patient with him and give him his independence when required.”
The only consolation for Fulton is the fact she got to spend time with her father during his last days while in hospital.
“I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to spend many an hour with dad over the last year bonding, getting to know each other better and realising we have many similarities.”
When her mother Daphne, 80, passed away, Fulton was in England where she was attending the inaugural Women’s Sport Leadership Academy at the University of Hertfordshire and had to cut short her participation.
“I shared his 85th birthday with him last month at Nazareth House. I always remember my dad being so supportive of my sporting career,” Fulton said.
“I remember at junior school, me being determined to win the swimming Victrix Ludorum in Grade 7 and dad agreeing to get up early before school and help coach me in our home pool, taking my times.
“He would never push me but always support me. I had amazing parents who loved and supported each other and their family.
“They are now reunited. Rest in peace dear dad. I will miss you so much, sending all my love to you and mom.”
Pam’s sister Cheryl Johnson described their father as a “gentle soul”.
“He was a gentle soul who bravely moved to Zimbabwe from Scotland at the age of 21, where he first taught before becoming a statistician.
“He loved Zimbabwe and never contemplated leaving,” Johnson said.
“We were very lucky to have them visit us in Brisbane and a couple of trips to Zimbabwe when we spent time with mum and dad.
“The last nine months since mum left us have been challenging for him and I know he’s now at peace. Fly high Dad and enjoy your well-earned rest.”
TZ secretary-general Carol Pakenham sent condolences on behalf of the association.
“The president and executive board and the entire TZ family extend our heartfelt condolences to Fulton and family on the sad loss of their much loved father…our love, thoughts and prayers are with you all especially Pam. Rest peacefully (Mr) Chalmers,” Pakenham said.