Art Harden passed away peacefully on May 7th, 2009, at the Hospice House in Kelowna with most of his family members by his side.
Arthur William Harden was born August 30, 1924 in Auckland, New Zealand, the fourth of six children to Leslie and Ivy Harden. He grew up in Te Awamutu. He left home to seek his fortune at sixteen and two years later joined the NZ Armed Forces. In 1945 he crossed the Pacific as part of the Commonwealth Air Training Plan and was stationed in Calgary, graduating as a Wireless Operator/Gunner. There he met a young nursing student, Ernestine Peel, and after the war in the Pacific was over, he returned to Calgary and they were married in July 1948.
Over the next three years, Art worked in both Calgary and Winnipeg and after two Winnipeg winters, decided that if he was going to live in Canada, it had to be on the west coast. They moved to Vancouver in 1951 and settled in Burnaby where their five children were born. Art began working for Pacific Western Airlines in 1954. In 1962, he and Ernestine packed up their family and moved to NZ. There he built his first house in the Auckland suburb of Glendowie. After three years, they all returned to Vancouver and Art returned to PWA.
He built his second house in Tsawwassen where the family resided until the kids were grown. During this time, Art had a 35-foot steel hulled ocean-going ketch constructed and he spent four years doing the finishing, both inside and out. It was his desire to sail it back to NZ after he retired. He and Ernestine also purchased an acreage on Salt Spring Island, and after Art took early retirement from PWA at age 53, they moved to Salt Spring and Art built his third house. Time marched on, and after the boat was finished and the move to Salt Spring, Art discovered he might have waited too long to achieve his goal of sailing it back to NZ. Ernestine may have influenced his decision as she was quite clear that she was not going to be a crew member. So he sold the boat and turned his attention to landscaping his little piece of paradise. He was famous for tiered gardens and curving rock walls. He loved to work with concrete and with wood and he turned the Salt Spring property into an English style garden. He could be a bit of a perfectionist, and more than once, he disassembled what he had built and redid it, as the first attempt did not meet his expectations.
For more than forty years Art devoted a great amount of time and passion to the Masonic Lodge, both in the Vancouver area and on Salt Spring. He served as Master of the Aviation Lodge, Master of the Admiral Lodge and as District Deputy.
In latter years, Art’s health declined and after being diagnosed with kidney disease, he realised he would need more medical care than Salt Spring Island could provide. So in 2006 Art and Ernestine sold the acreage and moved to Kelowna. It turned out that dialysis never really agreed with Art and after giving it a good try and his health declining further, he made the decision to stop treatment, which the family understood and respected.
Art is survived by his wife of 60 years, Ernestine; daughters Leanne Campbell (Don) of Auckland, NZ; Maureen Miller (Steve) of West Vancouver; Rhonda Caza (Kirk) of Paget, Bermuda; sons Eric (Cathie) and Tony (Anita) of Kelowna; sister Elizabeth of Auckland; grandchildren Jonathan, Dana and Andrea Campbell; Mike Miller; Kevin and Michelle Caza; Tony (Marie), Dan and Tim Harden; Jennifer and Matthew Harden; and great granddaughters, Kaycee and Taylor. Art was predeceased by his parents, his sisters Joan and Nora, and brothers Bruce and Eric, all of New Zealand.
Following cremation, a private family memorial service was held in Kelowna on May 12, 2009