Memorable Manitobans: Gordon Paton Fahrni (1916-2007)
Physician and surgeon.
Born at Winnipeg on 1 June 1916, son of Gordon Samuel Fahrni and Alice May Paton (?-?), he was accepted into the School of Medicine at the University of Manitoba, and upon graduation in 1940 joined the Royal Canadian Navy. Soon after he was deployed to England, he was assigned to HMS Fitzroy, a minesweeper on which he served until she was sunk in 1942. For his actions during the sinking he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for bravery, devotion to duty, leadership, and skill in actions against enemy submarines. He became Surgeon Lt. Commander and later, Surgeon Captain. Following the Second World War, he proceeded to post graduate work in Toronto General Hospital and for further training from the Mayo Clinic at Rochester, Minnesota. He received his Fellowship (FRCP) and practiced as a general surgeon at the Winnipeg General Hospital, Children’s Hospital, and Grace Hospital.
Boating was an important part of his life. He docked at Buchanan’s for years with his wooden Chris Craft Off Call. He sailed between Buchanan’s and the Royal Manitoba Yacht Club (RMYC), where he would raft up to the Argonauta. When Buchanan’s closed he moved to the Royal Manitoba Yacht Club. He was designated Vice Commodore Surgeon he was elected Rear Commodore Fleet. He bought his second boat Shot Gun and then his Formula boat his second Off Call which he docked at the Gimli Harbour sailing back and forth between Gimli and the RMYC. In 1993 he was recognized for his many years of dedication and service to the RMYC with a Life Membership. For many years he owned and operated a boat in the Intercoastal waters ways at Pompano Beach, Florida. He was held in high esteem within the boating community.
Throughout his adult life he enjoyed many activities, pursuing his passions for wildfowl hunting and gardening. He looked forward with great anticipation to the Fall hunting season, when his father visited from Vancouver to join him and his traditional companions for the opening shoot. Memories of his early years as a paper boy remained vivid all his life. He was a man of many talents enjoying horseback riding, downhill skiing, story telling, and the piano.
He died at Winnipeg on 20 January 2007.
Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 27 January 2007.
“They left their mark,” Winnipeg Free Press, 30 December 2007, page B2.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 13 February 2023