Honouring Tom Colless: A Pillar of NAFDA Foodservice and the Foodservice Industry


The foodservice community mourns the loss of one of its most cherished pioneers, Tom Colless, whose remarkable life and legacy were celebrated at Leura Memorial Gardens on 11 June 2024. As a founding member of NAFDA Foodservice, Tom dedicated his career to shaping the landscape of food distribution, assuming roles of Director, Deputy Chairman, and Chairman on the Board from 1967 until 2001.

Tom’s journey in foodservice began in 1955 where Tom joined Colless Foods, a food business established by his father Charles. Colless Foods became a cornerstone of local food distribution in the Blue Mountains and its surrounding areas. Under his leadership, Colless Foods thrived, providing services until 2022. His decision to retire marked the end of an era but left a legacy of resilience and dedication that continues to inspire.

Tom’s impact extended beyond his professional achievements, he was committed to his community through his dedication to Rotary and charity work. Those who knew him will fondly recall his endless schoolboy yarns and cheeky demeanour, which made him not only a respected leader but also a beloved figure and family man.

As we say goodbye to Tom Colless, we celebrate a life well-lived, marked by enduring contributions to an industry he loved, and to the people he served so passionately. An icon, mentor and a friend to many, Tom’s legacy will continue live on. 

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