Tom Vella-Zarb's bio - Tom's Nook Too

About Me

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Here is a little about me:
I was born on June 1, 1931

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That makes me

Take a look at my family tree by clicking here. You will need Adobe Reader for this.

My name is Thomas Anthony Vella-Zarb. I am usually called "Tom". I come from the village of Zabbar, in the Island of Malta. I was born on June 1st 1931. and baptized when I was 13 days old at the Church of Our Lady of Grace in Zabbar «««. I share my birthdate with several famous and infamous persons.

We then moved to Senglea where I made my First Holy Communion at Our Lady of Victory Church »»», more popularly known as Il-Bambina.

On March 4, 1944, I was Confirmed, along with my sister, by His Grace Archbishop Michael Gonzi, at the Cathedral of St Paul in Mdina.

You may wish to find out some statistics about Malta, or wish to go to links to several sites pertaining to Malta.
If you wish to see a Map of Malta that is interactive, please click here.

If you wish to read about Zabbar and the other sixty or so Towms amd Villages of Malta and Gozo, I recommend the four volume series, TOWNS AND VILLAGES IN MALTA AND GOZO, by Charles Fiott. If you wish to write to the author himself, please click here.



My father was Virgil Vella, and my mother was Frances, née Zarb. The double-barreled surname comes from the fact that the name "Vella" is very common in Malta.

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V. M. Pellegrini LL. D.
Notario Publico

Valletta, Strada Carmine, 15
Valetta, Strada Zacharia, 11
Rabato, Strada Sant' Agostino 77
Malta, 25/3/60

We the undersigned Virgil and Frances wife of said Virgil Vella, daughter of Joseph Zarb and mother of Thomas Anthony John Charles Vella-Zarb born at Casal Zabbar, Malta, on the 1st 1931 and now residing at 12 Crocker Ave, St Thomas, Ontario, Canada, do hereby declare that our said son is legally entitled to adopt the surname Vella-Zarb; the addition of "Zarb" being from the maiden surname of his mother, and added thereto for the simple reason that the surname "Vella" is very common in Malta and the addition of "Zarb" is resorted to for simpler identification.

Virgil Vella Frances Vella
Notary Dr V M Pellegrini,
witness to signatures and identity.

I remember the day that the Principal of the Lyceum [The Government of Malta's High School for Boys], then a Mr. J.P. Vassallo, stormed into one of our classes and asking the "Vella's" to stand up. More than half the class stood up. He begged us to do something about our names. Some were adamant about it, and did not want to change it, others added a middle initial, and some of us added our mother's maiden name.

The name "Vella-Zarb" then stuck. It was a good move in another way - you see, my grandfather, Tommaso Vella, was a freelance writer, and he used to be a "whip" for politicians. One day he would whip Mr. A, the next day, Mr. B, and so on. At shool several of my fellow students and teachers would tease me about "my" articles in the paper, and I would have to explain that they were not mine [I wish I had his talents though].....

Joan [August 2, 1935 - March 30, 1996]

On November 18, 1956, I married Joan Attard, who was called to God's kingdom on March 30, 1996. We had a good life for close to forty years, for which I thank God. We have five children, and seven grandchildren.
David is married to Joanne VanAsseldonk, and they have a daughter, Annette, and a son, Anthony.
Annette has a daughter, Ashley Marie, born on May 13, 2003
Pierre is married to Cynthia Flattau, and they have two daughters, Rachel born August 11, 1984 and Oriana born May 18, 1987.
Alex is married to Laura. They have a daughter, Ciara born April 19, 2000, who naturally is the cutest baby in the universe!
Michael and Judith have a son, Damieon born November 20, 1987.
Karen has a daughter, Sydney born June 29, 2005.

I was in Pre Kindergarten for about one week, was bored stiff at Kindergarten, then skipped most of the public school years. That was at the Government of Malta Boys' School in Zabbar and then in Senglea. When the war started we moved to our summer place in Marsascala, where we went to school in one of grandpa's two room cottages.

Zabbar Elementary School

All grades were bunched together with two lady teachers teaching us. I was in grade three then and the inspectress came to visit telling the teacher that she did not want to see me and another student there next year. I sat for the entrance exam for high school entrance. I passed and was one of the qualifying eighty students from all over the island, ending up at the Lyceum High School for Boys in Malta at the age of nine and a half.

The Lyceum Malta

Matriculation 1947

When I finished high school, St. Michael's College for Teachers had just started and I enrolled. With a Senior Matriculation diploma in my hand, the thought occurred to the Principal of the college, that perhaps I ought to be thinking about other avenues. I resigned from the College - the first "alumnus" or "old boy" but since I had only been enrolled merely for a couple of weeks, I could not join the "old boys' club" when it was later organized.

For a while, I twiddled my thumb for want of anything else to do. I was an accomplished swimmer and took Royal Life Saving Courses. For a while, I was a volunteer lifeguard with the Royal Life Saving Life Guard Corps, at Qui-Si-Sana, Sliema, Malta. I then took a job as a "substitute teacher" at the Tarxien Elementary School, and had some interesting experiences - e.g. meeting my old grade 1 teacher, a Mr. Meylaq, teaching at the same school! Since I was still young, and considered a "minor", the Education Department of the Government of Malta paid me half salary, i.e. ten shillings daily!

Why did uncle Tom graduate in a black nightgown?
[The Family Circus]

My B.Pharm. hood

I then made up my mind to continue my education, so I took Pharmacy Courses at the Royal University of Malta.

The R.U.M. Crest

The Royal University of Malta

The Entrance of the Jesuit Church ...

Where I received my degree [and earlier my matriculation]
I wish to thank my buddy, Edward Galea, for taking some of the pictures for me
I graduated with a Bachelor in Pharmacy degree, in 1952 - the first year that the degree was awarded in Malta. For a newspaper clipping please click here.

Receiving my B.Pharm.

I managed the Monarch Pharmacy at Hamrun, Malta, then co-owned and managed Tommy's Pharmacy at Senglea, Malta.

Soon after Joan and I were married, we emigrated to Ontario, Canada

We lived in St Thomas, Toronto, Windsor, Pain Court, Bothwell, and Wallaceburg. We now have made Chatham, our home, and we love it.

I made a Cursillo in 1980 and was Lay leader in the Kent Cursillo movement for a couple of years and on team for several years.

I was on the Wallaceburg Public Library Committe and on the Drug Awareness Council for Chatham-Kent

To find out about the city of Chatham, which as of January 1, 1998 is part of the Municipality of Chatham Kent, please click here, for an overview of our Municipality, where you can see aerial views of it.

Chatham has a daily paper, THE CHATHAM DAILY NEWS, a Community Weekly Paper, "Chatham This Week", a Free Daily Chatham Sun, a Cable Station, three Radio Stations, etc.
Where on earth is Chatham, I hear you ask. Open your Atlases or check your World Globe. The location is 42o24"N, 82o11"W. Did you find it?

Here in a nutshell is the Municipality of Chatham-Kent