Posted on Apr 25, 2022
The Rotary Club of Ladner, where he served the community over 30 years including as club president, and the newspaper industry are mourning the loss of a respected newspaper man and community leader, Tom Siba, former Delta Optimist publisher. who died peacefully on April 22. He was 73-years-old. Siba's last few years has been impacted by Lewy Body Dementia. -- courtesy of the Delta Optimist
Born in Winnipeg, Siba frequently returned to his hometown where family members still reside. He remained loyal to his roots as a Winnipeg Jets fan.
His career began with Arthur Anderson and Company in Winnipeg. He was transferred to Vancouver in 1974, where he met his wife ithleen.
The couple lived in Campbell River and Port Hardy before moving to Tsawwassen where Siba joined The Madison Group in 1978.
Siba spent 25 years in the community newspaper industry, running several Lower Mainland newspapers and publications for Glacier Media including publisher of the Optimist for 15-plus years.
 He was also involved provincially and nationally as a BC and Yukon Community Newspapers Association director for many years and a BC director on the Canadian Community Newspapers Association board. He served as BCY president in 1991 to 92.
A resident of Tsawwassen for 44 years, Siba volunteered for many organizations, including The Rotary Club of Ladner, Scouts Canada District president (1993-97), Reach Child and Development Society and Reach Foundation, Delta Community Foundation, Ladner and Tsawwassen Business Associations, Delta Heritage Museum and Lower Mainland Better Business Bureau.
“He was certainly very dedicated to his community," said Alvin Brouwer, president of Lower Mainland Publishing LP and Glacier Community Media Digital. "He always supported events, fundraisers and business events in the community. He had great community spirit. It's very sad that he died in the Optimist's 100th year."
Jim Grippo, chairman of Glacier Media, said he loved the fact that Siba was always straight forward.
"Tom had a great sense of humour. He had a keen awareness of the publishing business and was great to work with and for," recalled Grippo. "When Orest Smysnuik, a long-standing Glacier employee came to Vancouver, over 50 years ago, it was Tom who volunteered to put him up in his apartment for a number of weeks."
In the 95th anniversary celebration supplement produced by the Optimist, Siba recalled starting up a publication in South Delta.
He spent a lot of time driving around the Fraser Valley. The idea of having a newspaper where I lived was very attractive," said Siba. "We appproached the Bexley family to buy the Optimist. They were not interested in selling, so in 1989, we started up the South Delta Today
Siba also hired former Optimist owner and publisher Edgar Dunning to write a column for South Delta Today when he was 79.
Long-time Optimist sales rep John Gallinger recalled the day in 1991 that Siba convinced him to work at a newspaper in Tsawwassen 1lled the South Delta Today.
That was a move that proved to be a great one. Besides working for a publisher who I truly respected and admired, it was also a lot of fun helping to get the paper going and grabbing as much market share as we could from the Optimist," said Gallinger. "The South Delta Today's ownership ended up purchasing the Optimist after a fairly short time and Tom and I and other staff continued our roles there.
He said over the years the two became best friends outside of work.
“We had many things in common including the great outdoors, sailing, cigars, and port," said Gallinger. "Tom owned a beautiful sailboat. I lucked out being part of the crew for many voyages. Tom had a great memory of those trips and was an excellent storyteller. We always found lots of good things to chat about and laugh about.”
Between the Beach Grove Golf Club, campfires at my lot in Point Roberts and the Hunter Sailboat, we always had the perfect place for good chat and a fine cigar.
“I will miss my friend Tom a lot."
A celebration of life will be held on Friday, May 27 at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn with a drop-in from 3 to 5 p.m.