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Robert Garfat

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Robert Ross Garfat

May 10, 1951 - May 26, 2019


Robert Ross Garfat

May 10 1951 – May 26 2019

At 11am at the Cowichan District Hospital, Robert passed away peacefully after a long journey – struggling first with Pulmonary Fibrosis and then recovery from Bi-lateral Lung Transplant surgery.

Robert was born in Cranbrook, BC., the youngest of three boys, to Elsie (Ling) and Jim Garfat. He was pre-deceased by his parents and by his oldest brother, Jim. He is survived by his wife Rebekah, his daughter Jocelyn (David) his son Nathan and his beloved grandchild, Ajna. He is also survived by his brother Thom (Sylvianne) sister-in-law Janet, nephews Michael and Don, and niece Alison.

Robert spent his teen and young adult years in Victoria, graduating from Mt Doug Senior Secondary in 1969. He attended UVic Theatre Department, studying performance, before pursuing a career as an actor in Toronto in the early ’70’s, returning in 1980 to finish his BFA in directing. In 1983 he moved to Vancouver to begin his MFA studies at UBC. In 1985, with partner Rebekah Johnson, he formed Dark Horse Theatre; serving as the Artistic Director until 1998, producing and directing award winning plays and serving for two terms as the president of the Vancouver Theatre Alliance, a service of which he was very proud. In 1996 he returned to the island to own and operate a bookstore (Dark Horse Books) in downtown Victoria, until 2010. During his time as a business owner he was a fierce advocate for the rights of the homeless population in the downtown core, and served on the Downtown Business Association. Post bookstore, he completed his long neglected MFA, (Theatre Production and Direction) and continued with his passion for books, buying and selling up and down the island at fairs and flea markets, and volunteering at the Camus Collective until Pulmonary Fibrosis made it impossible to continue. Along the way he enjoyed a reading of his play ‘Murder By Volume’ at Theatre One and workshopped another with local playwright Charles Tidler. On June 7 2017 he underwent a Bilateral Lung Transplant and after recovery from surgery enjoyed a brief period of relative good health.

Rebekah would like to personally express her gratitude to the Transplant Team in Vancouver – Drs Levy, Bergeron and Swiston and especially Dr Nador, for their excellent care and dedication, as well as to Alexia Jones and all the nurses and staff at the Leslie Diamond Center and Jim Pattison Pavilion T12. Gratitude also to Dr Postuk and the myriad of health care professionals who have crossed our path in the last 5 years.

Robert is remembered by his friends and family as open and thoughtful, patient, insightful, kind and reverent. A gentle passionate man who saw the soul in others. He was a smart and giving director who got the best work out of people.  Robert was an intelligent, intuitive artist; a thoughtful, creative man, artist and community member. He was one of a kind, and he will be missed.

The family would ask that in lieu of flowers, donations to BC Transplant or the theatre company of your choice in Robert’s name would be gratefully accepted. But most of all the family asks that you register as an organ donor.  Live life.   Pass it on.   http://www.transplant.bc.ca/our-services/organ-donor-registry

A Celebration of Life will be held at Langham Court Theatre – 805 Langham Ct, Victoria, BC on June 16 from 6-9pm.  


Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

From: H.W. Wallace Cremation & Burial Centre

H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Sandy Cumberland
Relation: friend

I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to get to know Robert, even just a little. He was a fascinating person with wonderfully diverse interests. Big love and sympathy to Rebekah and the family.

From: Katherine Kortikow
Relation: Friend

Dear Rebekah, Nathan and family,
My deepest condolence to you. Robert was such a lovely human and I feel very grateful to have crossed paths with him and all of you. May he journey well.

From: Don Mowat
Relation: nephew

Robert will be missed for his kind heart, contributions to the arts and strong opinions for advocacy. It was a pleasure getting to know you Uncle Robert and to talk theatre with you while I pursued the same in Victoria.

From: Pat Andrew-Keith
Relation: Friend

Dear Rebekah and family. So sorry to hear about Robert. Condolences.
– Pat Andrew-Keith

From: David Fowler
Relation: Cousin

In the late 1960’s, I remember an extremely intelligent, witty, and cool dude. He told us (younger) kids ghost stories at Crescent Beach – acting out all the parts and scaring us into laughter!
Some great memories of my cousin Robert…!

Service Schedule

  Celebration of Life

Date & Time:
June 16, 2019
Beginning at 6:00pm

Langham Court Theatre
805 Langham Court
Victoria, BC Canada

805 Langham Court
Victoria, BC Canada

Memorial Gifts

The family has not designated a preferred charity at this time.

Thank You Notice

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