Tommy C and the Tombstones is actually Thomas P.J. Crean (Tom) and arranger/musician gods David Sinclair and Andreas Schuld.
Tom was born in Vancouver B.C., in 1956. Tom’s grandfather Tom Kearney had started a funeral business in Vancouver, B.C. in 1908. Ironically, he actually went into the business to get a date!
Watch the award winning Tom Quixote bio on Tom below:
Tom got ribbed by his schoolmates every time his Uncle Frank was in the neighborhood with the hearse, so he was never going to be a funeral director. Tom was a philosophy student and musician, working as a single in bars around town for some extra income. Uncle Frank died quite suddenly at the age of only 52. Then in 1978 Tom’s grandma Katherine called him and asked him to come see her. Ironically it was Remembrance Day, November 11th. She told Tom that if he didn’t quit school that day and take over the family business, it was going to be sold to someone named Ray Loewen.
Tom went down to the beach and sat on a log for about four hours pondering what he intended to do, seeing he was getting a degree in ‘being unemployable’! He left his final year of Philosophy at UBC, and assumed the presidency of the family’s third generation family funeral home, Kearney Funeral Services Ltd. Tom had now entered into the arena of ‘semi-mortal’ combat with big business. It did not sit well with Tom that the more ethically challenged funeral companies tended to me more successful. Tom started writing songs for therapy.
Tom bought Columbia Chapel in New Westminster, and in 1991, Tom and his brother Michael purchased Royal Oak, Woodlawn, S. Bowell and Sons (former head office of the ‘Loewen Group’), also in New Westminster, B.C. In 2000 they opened a third branch in South Surrey. In 2012 they also opened a new ‘basic cremation’ brand called the Family Alternative Cremation and Funeral Services, making them the largest family funeral company in B.C. In celebration of their first century, Tom released his first album: ‘Time to Beat Some Billionaires?’ The local daily said: “Sorry, we can’t review it. It’s too intelligent.”
In April 2012 the BC Funeral Service Association celebrated its 100th Anniversary. Tom, his family, and Kearneys were honored at the convention as being the one and only founding member still in business. Today Kearney is the largest family funeral home company in B.C. These efforts gave Tom the title for his next album: ‘Time to Take our Future Back?’ being released in February 2013. The title cut is Tom’s first attempt at Rap, to which his children said: “Wow, Dad! It’s not nearly as bad as we expected!”
Tom became involved in consumer advocacy and public education early in his career. B.C. had little regulation with respect to funeral service which attracted the two largest funeral chains in North America to Vancouver, back in the 1960’s. By 1990 they were handling more than 80% of the funeral arrangements in Greater Vancouver, and in 2006 they amalgamated. By invitation, Tom has testified before regulators in many jurisdictions including Ottawa, New York and Washington, D.C. Tom’s penchant for going up against impossible odds caused him to make an ironic choice of heroes, a man he calls the ‘patron saint of lost causes: Don Quixote. Since four of his five campaigns against inadequate consumer protection of grieving families have been successful, Simon Fraser University’s faculty of Anthropology student Matthew Hayes actually made a short film on Tom’s endeavors which has now been entered into a number of film festivals:
‘Sometimes, being small is huge!’
Tom has spoken at many funeral conventions including OGR, SIF, IFDF, IFDI and OFSA, culminating in 4,000 Independents successfully opposing the trademarking of the phrase ‘family funeral care’ in both the United States and Canada by a large funeral Conglomerate.
With more than forty years now in funeral service Tom also serves locally on the board of several civic and professional organizations: Past-president of the Rotary Club of Vancouver, Tom is Vice-President of the Canadian Independent Group of Funeral Directors. Tom served six years on the Board of the Surrey Hospice Society and is also a Board member of the Canadian Association for Media Education and Treasurer of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Assoc. Married to Jo-Ann and father of three, Tom is an avid songwriter/musician playing the guitar and banjo, his trademark song being the ‘Undertaker Blues’. He also enjoys hobbies of tennis, swimming, skiing, and fishing in his spare time.
The main thing about Tom’s message is the core of his third album, scheduled for release in April 2013: ‘Time the Middle Class Kicked Ass?’ The greatest lesson Tom has learned in all of these efforts is ‘success’! The message reverberates through song after song: we are probably the most powerful citizens that have ever lived! The mess we are in is our fault, no one else’s. The ‘Working Class’ is now pretty much gone, and when it comes to the ‘Middle Class’ either we wake up, smell the coffee and get back engaged, or we will be making our way back to the bread lines as well!