THOMAS DANIEL (Donnie) TRAMBLE
1933 - 1985
Judge Thomas Daniel Tramble was born June 21, 1933 in the village of Monastery, Nova Scotia, a stone’s throw east of Antigonish. He was the oldest of four sons born to Joseph and Mary Tramble, and grew up on the homestead established by his great grandfather, George Tramble.
Donnie was educated in local schools, and on the home farm with a variety of livestock. Farming as a career ended for Donnie in 1961 when he made a trip to a neighbours to borrow a wrench. He had left the pickup truck running and in neutral, and it began to roll away. In his effort to stop the truck, it rolled over him. The result was he was paralyzed from the waist down. While in rehab, and knowing that he could no longer farm for a livelihood, a decision was made to further his education. As Donnie would say, he made a pact with God: “Let me do something and you will never hear me complain”.
The fall of 1962 saw Donnie enter St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish. With braces on his legs and on crutches, he was not shy about seeking assistance. He graduated from St. FX in 1966 and moved on to study law at Dalhousie University in Halifax where he graduated with his law degree in 1969. Following graduation, he returned to Monastery with his wife and built a home next to his parents on the farm. Donnie entered into law practise with the firm McInnis Meehan and Tramble in Antigonish. Although he enjoyed the practice of law, it did not give him a great deal of free time for family, the farm, and other interests. When offered the opportunity to become a Family Court Judge, Donnie accepted the position.
About 1973, Donnie decided to get a team of Clydesdale horses. The team consisted of a gelding and a mare named Belleau Silver Belle. He spoke with some other breeders in the province and brought them together to form the Nova Scotia Clydesdale Club in 1977. About this time, Donnie became the Maritime Director of the Clydesdale Horse Association of Canada. Discussions were held on securing a stallion for the use of the club. A colt, named Scotstoun’s Excelsior, was purchased through this program from Tom Bennie of Manitoba at the Royal Winter Fair in 1981. This horse went from the Royal to the Central Experimental Station in Ottawa until he was of breeding age. When he was of breeding age, he was stabled at Tramble’s Elm Glen Farm in Monastery for the use of club members in Nova Scotia. In 1983, Donnie was elected secretary of the Clydesdale Horse Association of Canada.
Donnie urged the Nova Scotia Club to host a Clydesdale Show in Antigonish. The show was held in 1985 with a good turnout of horses. Tramble’s Elm Glen Farm was well represented with thirteen head. The following week, Donnie entered hospital with heart complications. Although he fought to carry on, he passed away on September 24, 1985. After his passing, the Clydesdales were sold at public auction and the stallion, Scotstoun’s Excelsior, was returned to the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. St. Francis Xavier University established the Tramble Center of Accessible Learning in Donnie’s honor, and the Class of ’66 established a bursary in his name. In 2003, he was inducted in the St. Francis Xavier Hall of Fame.
We are grateful for the virtues Donnie showed us during this far too brief time on this earth; his sociability, his wish to be of service to the community, his refusal to be knocked down by any challenge and his capacity to live a full and happy life.