Dr. Geoffrey Harding, former Gabriola physician, killed in Bahamas

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, April 15 2015

Dr. Geoffrey Harding, a former Gabriola physician, was killed in his home in the Bahamas on Thursday, April 2, stabbed during a home invasion. 

The suspect, listed by local media as being in his early 40s, has been arrested and detained by police in Clarence Town, Long Island. 

Dr. Jim Mackenzie, who shared a practice with Harding on Gabriola, echoed many of the thoughts shared by Gabriolans as the news broke early Monday morning last week.

“My reaction is I picked it up off the computer and there it says “BC Doctor Murdered” and you scan the article, and there was no room for second guessing, it said Dr. Geoffrey Harding. Murdered.

“That really rocked me back in my socks. There he was actually named, so there was that split second and complete horror.”

Mackenzie said he hadn’t seen Harding for about a year, although Harding did visit Gabriola from time to time. Harding sold his property off Pat Burns Avenue a few years ago.

“He seemed to be just fine then, despite his advancing years.”

In 54 years of practice, Harding’s work took him from medical school in the UK to Kuwait where he worked as an oilfield doctor before returning back to the UK for more training. After that and a stint in Liverpool, Harding returned to Canada where he was an obstetrician and gynecologist in Dawson Creek, Chetwynd and Creston. In 2001 he opened a general practice in New Westminster, shortly after which he started seeing patients on Gabriola on the weekends and Mondays.

Verna Gregson, who owns and manages the Gabriola Professional Centre on North Road, spoke on behalf of the health professionals working there.

“Dr. Geoff Harding was an amazing man and a wonderful physician. He opened the Medical Office in Gabriola Professional Centre in 2002 and worked with us until he retired to his dream of living in the Bahamas. Geoff was loved and respected by his patients and his colleagues, and we are all saddened by the sudden passing of our dear friend. It was a privilege to have known him.”

In 2007 Harding closed the New Westminster practice and moved to Gabriola full time, working with Dr. Mackenzie until retirement at the end of 2008.

Mackenzie described. Harding as very enthusiastic.    

“You would not have guessed he was in his 80s.

“He loved to practice and had such a long career, where a lot of people would have lost the zest, or interest. He loved doing new and adventurous things and loved new challenges, and obviously he carried them off. My memory is of his enthusiasm, his energy, a great sense of humour and his famous roaring laugh. He was a fellow that enjoyed life. He had his share of sadness, but he’d picked himself up and got going again.”

Mackenzie said the other thing about Harding is that he was a patron of the arts, and would bring in house concerts to his home on Pat Burns.

“He was obviously active in the community, never minding that he started this clinic in the professional centre.”

Dr. Mackenzie said the plan had been for the last couple of years for Dr. Harding to winter in the Bahamas and summer with one of his daughters in Chetwynd.

“That seemed to be a good combination. Then this terrible tragedy.”