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The Honourable
GARDOM, Garde Basil
K.St.J., O.B.C., Q.C., LL.B., LL.D (Hon.)., B.A.
July 17, 1924 - June 18, 2013
Born on July 17, 1924 in Banff, Alberta, Garde Basil Gardom was named Honorary Chief Okee Mow Snootska (Little White Haired Chief) at the age of two, by the Stony Nation and he continued to make an indelible imprint on everyone he met in the communities in which he lived and served throughout his life. Garde passed away suddenly on Tuesday, June 18, 2013. He was his happy, jolly and exuberant self to the end.
Garde spent his childhood in Lake Louise, Dewdney and Vancouver and graduated from Magee High School. Among several honorary degrees, appointments, and awards, Garde earned a B.A. and an LL.B. from the University of British Columbia and in 2012 proudly celebrated his 60th anniversary as a Barrister and Solicitor. He was conferred an honorary doctor of laws from the University of British Columbia in 2002 and from the University of Victoria in 2003.
Garde will be dearly missed by his wife of 57 years, Helen, who was always by his side and was his rock. The Gardom's home was filled with children, all of whom adored their Dad (D.O.D) and Grandfather (Gar-Gar; Pop). Garde is lovingly remembered by Kim Gardom Allen and her daughter Cara; Karen (Max) MacDonald and their children: Mairi, Griff, Kenzie, Garde; Edward Gardom; Brione Gardom (Gord Gouthro) and her children: Haley, Lucy, Cameron, Lachlan, and Chantelle Gouthro, and Brita (Edwin) McLaughlin and their children Tess and Lowell. Garde was very proud of his beautiful grandchildren.
Gardom life was full, big and loud! Dad loved family time en masse; big dinners, huge parties, engaging conversations around a blazing fire, vacations to Maui and the Okanagan; dogs, cats, and rabbits in tow. The house always smelled of cigars, with Dad's booming voice and hearty laugh ringing out above his favourite big band music, Duke Ellington. An avid fisherman, Garde was found most Saturdays aboard the Blithe Spirit in Howe Sound with his friends. Many weekends were spent on the Flats, horseback riding, playing tennis, and socializing in the "Snake Pit" at the Vancouver Lawn Tennis and Badminton Club. Dad loved to clip in the garden and chop wood. He enjoyed all racquet sports, skiing, and watching football and rugby. Dad was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in 1984 as a member of the UBC Thunderbirds mens basketball team (1945-46) and subsequently was inducted into the UBC Hall of Fame in 1997.
Garde was a great Dad and an amazing Grandfather; he had nicknames for all and made everyone feel important by being genuinely interested in what they had to say. He always took time to engage with people - anywhere, any time. He respected and applauded effort and "a job well done." He wrote countless letters, notes and faxes - recommending, thanking, informing, inquiring and congratulating! - with the help of many devoted secretaries churning out mountains of paper. Garde's charisma and outgoing nature commanded the attention of every room. He truly had a larger than life presence, coupled with a great sense of humour, and a kind and generous heart. He considered there to be no greater purpose than public service, which he performed for over 45 years with unwavering commitment and an affability that endeared him to people of all political stripes and walks of life - a rare feat indeed.
Elected six consecutive times to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia in the Vancouver-Point Grey constituency, Garde was appointed Attorney General in 1975 and was the province's longest serving Government House Leader and the first Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs. In 1985, he became responsible for the Official Visits Program for EXPO '86 and hosted dignitaries from all over the world.
From 1987 to 1992, Garde proudly represented British Columbia in the United Kingdom and Europe as British Columbia's Agent-General in London. In this role, Garde was one of B.C.'s greatest salesmen, promoting and opening trade with great gusto!
Garde is remembered most recently as British Columbia's 26th Lieutenant Governor, appointed by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien in 1995, a position he held through 2001 and carried out with the utmost respect and pride. Garde was named Honorary Colonel of the British Columbia Regiment (Duke of Connaught's Own) and in 2002, was awarded the Order of British Columbia.
Garde was particularly proud of introducing the Ombudsman Act, Family Relations Act, and the Aboriginal Communities Legislation, as well as his initiation of the COUNTERATTACK program against Drinking and Driving in 1978. He spearheaded British Columbia's position during the constitutional negotiations leading up to the patriation of the Canadian Constitution from the United Kingdom in 1982. He was a long time advocate of legal aid, the inception of Hansard, the right to sue the Crown, aid for victims of crime, and the Good Samaritan Legislation, all of which are part of law today.
Garde spent his life focusing on serving the public and making a difference to everyone who crossed his path. His family would like to thank the many people who cared for him in his final years -his personal staff: Cila, Leny, Angel, Esther; his diligent secretaries; Daphne Izard, Suzanne Creighton and Barbara Wallace. We are also grateful to Dr. Grant Ayling for his years of compassionate care and to all the staff at Point Grey Private Hospital, particularly Dr. Grantham, Rose, Josephine, Jojo, and Lemuel.
"Night all - I'm going to bed!"
The funeral service will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC, on Wednesday, July 17 at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Salvation Army ( or the 4 H Club (
For those wishing to sign a condolence book in advance, you may do so in person at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver or at Government House, 1401 Rockland Avenue, Victoria or online at:
Walkey & Company Funeral Directors 604 738-0006

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Vancouver Sun and/or The Province on Jun. 29, 2013.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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10 entries
October 2, 2019
My name is Leena Nelson first aboriginal to be a private guest to the Government House Victoria BC as I was Nanny to his grandchildren for a couple of years had the pleasure to meet Garde Gardom and Helen his wife and I was able to stay visit the government house and learn how he made impacts on aboriginal communities and various endeavors of his fascinating man wonderful family and a lifetime of memories being the first aboriginal to live work play at Government House Victoria BC with the guidance of his amazing daughter and family! Thank you for a life time of memories I'll always treasure! Leena Nelson
Leena Nelson
September 26, 2013
... A true gentleman!
David S. Watson
August 15, 2013
Garde had that rare ability to make us all more aware and proud of who we are as British Columbians and Canadaian - Native or otherwise - and to enjoy the benefits of our gifted lives. He brought joy into every room he entered and will be missed greatly. Condolences to the family.
Glen Ringdal
July 4, 2013
Dear Mrs Gardom, our thoughts are with you and your familly in the difficult moments you are going through. We remember vividly the nice visit we had with you at Governement House in Victoria when Claude and I were attending a conference.
Michèle Gagnon et Claude Lachance

visit we had at Government house in Victoria
Michèle Gagnon
July 3, 2013
Dear Helen and family,
My deepest condolences on your lost.
I have great memories of the time passed by your pool when I first moved to Vancouver.
I have talked to my parents in Quebec City and
they send their love. Nicole is away on holidays but I will send her a message. I am also away on holidays at the moment and will not be able to attend the funeral but will be thinking of you,
Louise Gagnon
July 1, 2013
To borrow loosely from W H Auden's poem, "In Memory Of W.B. Yeats,"... Heaven, receive an honoured guest, Garde Gardom is laid to rest... A King of a man who knew true wealth is made up of all you have given up - not all you have hoarded. My heartfelt condolences to Mrs. Gardom, Helen, - the love of Garde's life, his greatest treasure, best friend and wisest advisor; their beautiful granddaughter, Cara, my precious goddaughter, Cara's beautiful mother, Kim, my kind and gentle friend since very early childhood, and to both the Gardom and McKenzie families. On behalf of myself and my respective siblings, Rene, Bob,Tom, and Diane, the adult children of the late Elizabeth Louise and Henri St. Louis, may Garde's memory be for a blessing.
Marc St. Louis
June 30, 2013
Sincere Condolences to Mrs. Helen Gardom and to all the family members. Having not seen Garde Gardom since just after his book was finished, I am wondering if copies will be available at Christ Church Cathedral. The name Garde Gardom has been a part of Liberal life in B.C. for many decades. Was it cousin George Mussallem, MLA, or Mayor Gordon D. Bryant of Prince George who first mentioned Mr.Gardom? When I moved to the UK in 1991, Mr. Gardom was the Agent General. I recall being with Mr. & Mrs. Gardom at Petersham on the Anniverary of Birth of Captain George Vancouver, and again, back in B.C., at a special service for the late Queen Mother Elizabeth in Victoria, B.C.
Grateful for having seen his efforts in public life come to fruition, and sorry to see him go. A life well lived, indeed.
Susila Bryant
June 30, 2013
That warm genuine smile and boisterous laugh will be forever in our hearts.xox
Mary Loukas
June 30, 2013
I will always remember July 1, 2000, the day you presided over my citizenship ceremony and granted me citizenship in a special ceremony in Barkerville, BC. It was a very special day! My deepest sympathies to the family.
Elizabeth Astbury, Vancouver
Elizabeth Astbury
June 29, 2013
Sleep well ... and Thank you for everything. And,"Ever the best" to all those close to you.
Gerry Pash
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