It is with broken hearts we announce that our beloved son, Duncan, passed May 4th, 2022, at the age of 33 on Pender Island, British Columbia. Duncan leaves behind his Mum and Dad (Wendy and Ian), sisters Robyn, Katrine and Fiona and his cousin Jeremy (Lakes-Gardner) who joined the family in 2008 and was considered by Duncan to be his little brother. He was a nephew, cousin, dear friend, and a beautiful soul.

Duncan was born in Richmond, BC and lived in Ladner for five years before moving to Santiago, Chile with his family in 1994. At age 10 his family returned to Canada where he spent the next 12 years in Oakville, Ontario.

He was a delightful child.  A curious and inquisitive lad, he was fascinated by nature and creepy crawly things.  He marvelled at the slugs on the path after the rain, the business of sow bugs in the compost box and the magic of a spider’s web.  A kind and gentle boy, he loved animals and wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Life in Chile was an adventure. He was great at making friends, loved Boy Scouts, reading books and playing with his sisters.  He was a charming boy, learned quickly and thought deeply.  He was well regarded by his teachers, friends, and their parents.  He was clever, funny and affectionate.  He enjoyed many wonderful travels with his family in Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Britain, Australia, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Canada.  Later, in high school, he went on an extensive trip to Europe for a semester with an educational programme which he thoroughly enjoyed.

Duncan grew into a handsome, charismatic young man.  He was full of vitality and was part of a great group of friends that he made at Oakville Trafalgar High School.  His friends were constantly in and out of our home for fun evenings of board and video games, and teenage shenanigans. He was a competitive swimmer and an avid soccer player.  He even assisted his Dad in coaching his sister’s soccer team.  Halloween was one of his favourite times of the year and his pumpkin carving skills were second to none.  He loved to craft elaborate Warhammer figurines and was a top ranked player of any game he cared to master on line.

Duncan’s first job was at Pharma Plus in Oakville. He was only 15 when started so he could earn spending money, but he became a valued employee with great people and problem-solving skills.  He showed his entrepreneurial side by selling Cutco knives before starting with a Student Painters business and quickly becoming a site leader.  Other summer jobs included bar tending for a catering service and a junior assistant at SNC Lavalin.

At Acadia University in Nova Scotia Duncan was elected his Residence Social Convener and was responsible for a large budget to organize social events for first year students.  Duncan was doing well and his future looked bright.

Problems started to surface in his 3rd year and things began to spiral downwards for Duncan as mental illness reared its ugly head.  The next decade of Duncan’s life was a struggle.  He moved to Pender Island in 2012 to be with his parents and seek professional help.  Things improved for a while and he worked on Pender as a house painter for a time. He engaged with family and friends more.

As the cascade of ups and downs continued, various medications and various diagnosis were given. Duncan had been looking much better and engaging more in recent months, but missing his medication for a few days resulted in tragic consequences.  He ended his life and his torment on May 4th, 2022.

Always our loving and considerate sweet boy, he made sure to let us know that he loved us and the wonderful life he had had.

For his extended family and friends, he left these words:

          Please my friends, know I love you dear

          But my world is crumbling

          I need out of here.

          Know my friends, I love you dear

          But I must get out of here.

           I’m sorry. I haven’t said much.

          I’m not sure my mind is sound.

          And it would surely break if

I knew I dragged you down.

        Know my friends, I love you dear.

  But I must get out of here.

His friends and friends of the family are welcome to join us Wednesday, May 18th, 2022 at 2:00 pm for a Funeral service and reception to be held at Holy Cross Church, 4049 Gordon Head Road, Victoria, BC.  For those who cannot attend, a link to a livestream will be provided.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to Our Place, 919 Pandora Ave., Victoria, B.C. V8V3P4 (www.ourplacesociety.com/how-you-can-help/donate).

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens
www.mccallgardens.com

  • Katie Willder

    Dear Wendy, Ian and Family,

    I just got back to town from the field and I’m heartbroken and shocked to see the news Mum had forwarded me.

    I am so, so sorry for your loss.

    I have great memories of our time in Chile. Duncan was one of my best friends while we lived in Santiago. Our summer camps, the times we spent racing around the backyard playing hiding and seek – we used to get into so much trouble! I look back on those memories fondly and now, even doubly so, now that I know Duncan is gone.

    I am forever grateful to have had him in my life.

    Sending our deepest condolences and the warmest of hugs.
    Katie Willder (Heberlein) & family.

  • Shaun and Nori Frape

    We just found out, with a terrible sense of disbelief at first, about Duncan’s death. Mental health issues are a terrible hard road to walk and all the help and love that family, friends and profesionals can offer is sometimes not enough. Know that we are thinking of you in your sorrow and hoping that the memories of your son will give you some measure of peace in the future.

  • Urs and Judy Boxler

    Dear Wendy and Ian
    We are so very sorry about your loss of Duncan. Our thoughts are with you. Please accept our sincere condolences.
    Urs and Judy Boxler

  • Anne and Trevor

    Wendy, Ian and Family

    A wonderful tribute to Duncan, it brought back many memories of your tales of the exciting life and times you all had together.
    Wishing you love and strength in the difficult days ahead.

  • Sue Kernaghan

    Wendy, Ian and family,

    Our hearts are with you in this difficult time. Please accept our deepest condolences for your loss.

    Sue Kernaghan and Richard Elwell

  • Adam McLellan

    Dear Wendy and Ian, my deepest sympathies to your family. I have so many fond memories of Duncan throughout his time in Oakville. We spent many so much time together throughout high school and he was always the first to come up with plans for most of the “shenanigans” that went on. Always in good fun. He is truly missed and I am so sorry for your loss.

  • Normand Champigny

    Dear Ian and Wendy and your family,

    It is with great sadness that I write these words.

    There must no greater pain for parents than the loss of one of their children.

    I had the privilege of knowing your son as a child and a young teenager.

    I saw him grow with my children and he was always keen to exhibit his many passions.

    He was smart, funny and full of joy.

    His enthusiasm was contagious as well as his natural leadership.

    He was a beautiful person that loved the world and the world loved him.

    The world that crumbled around him is a reminder of how life can quickly change and that we are blessed to be able to celebrate it every day with the people that we love.

    I hope that in these times of grieving that you will find peace and will keep forever the precious memories and love that Duncan brought in your lives.

  • Charles Baker

    Dear Wendy, Ian and family.
    I am truly saddened to hear of the tragic passing of Duncan. In reading your wonderfully descriptive obituary of him, he truly was an amazing young man and you should be so very proud of him and the accomplishments he made during his life.

  • Frank and Martha Deme

    Dear Wendy, Ian and family. It is with a terrible sadness that we heard of your loss. It is so tragic to lose a child. We are glad that you are able to have so many good memories of Duncan. His life was not easy, but it was obvious he cared for his family.

  • John Strachan

    Dear Ian, Wendy and family. I never had the pleasure of meeting Duncan but I am sure from your description of him I would have enjoyed his company even if he did prefer soccer to rugby.
    There are no words that can express such a loss and we are all saddened by his passing.

  • Jane and David Newbold

    Dear Wendy, Ian and family
    We are reeling from the shock of your devastating news of Duncan’s death. I couldn’t believe it to begin with and then could only cry. Your eulogy and his words are heart wrenching. I keep remembering such happy times in Chile. He was such a good friend of Andrews and a brilliant, lively and enthusiastic young boy. I cannot imagine what you are going through. I wish there was something we could do to ease your pain.
    With our deepest love and sympathy. Jane and David

  • Nicole Barcelos

    Dear Wendy, Ian, Robin, Katrina, Fiona and Jeremy,
    I was in the train from Quebec City to Montreal when I received the call from Fiona announcing, with tears in her voice, the heartbreaking news… her dear brother Duncan is gone.
    Suddenly through the window of the train, I remembered one moment that will always remain a fond memory of Duncan. I would love to share with you.
    Allow me to add one piece of the beautiful testimony of his short life.
    The event took place in Chile in your big and beautiful garden… the garden of memories.
    I was sitting beside Duncan and observing him. He was drawing his own chess game and moving the pieces… one by one. His creativity and brilliant aptitudes in making his own chess game and moving the pieces at his own rhythm stayed in my mind. He played the game with confidence and pleasure by also making up his own rules. At that time, I never thought that Duncan would be placing his last piece of his life… on May 4th. He was the king in moving pieces on a chess game … even stunningly in the last piece of his own life.
    Dear Duncan, you will always be the best chess player. Continue to shine brightly to light the garden of memories.
    Love, Nicole Barcelos

  • Alison Higginson

    Dear Ian and Wendy and family,
    We did not know Duncan, but your tribute to him describes an outstanding young man who was deeply loved and will be deeply missed. The world will be less because of his loss, but his star will shine bright.

  • Kevin Callaghan and family

    So intensely saddened and shocked by Duncan passing. Our deepest condolences.

  • Barbara Stowe

    Dear Ian, Wendy and Family,
    Joe and I are so shocked and saddened by this tragedy. Your words have beautifully conveyed what a remarkable, sensitive and compassionate person Duncan was. Our hearts are with you in this terrible time.

  • Angélica González-Eskel

    Dear Wendy and Ian …
    I am heartbroken after learning about the sudden passing away of Duncan, and I am so very sorry for your loss. Mental illness is such a cruel disease and many men will rather cry in the dark than look for help or follow their medical treatment as prescribed. I now close my eyes and can still see the super sweet skinny little guy back in Santiago, Chile, for the three or four years I tutored you in Spanish. His image is so vivid in my mind, I can see him with his red hair, always happy and always asking me questions about this and that. He had such a curious mind and was so smart! I also remember how much he loved every pet that joined the Pirie-Gardner family. May the Lord give you, Ian and the girls the strength to carry on and hold you all in HIS arms while you grieve.
    Never forget he is still here, though you don’t see him, he is right by your side all the time. His body is gone but you know he is always near, in everything you feel, see or hear. His spirit is free but he will never depart as long as you keep him alive in your hearts.
    I gave my daughter Gaby, back in Chile, the sad news and she is sending you much love and a big hug.
    I’m also sending you a big hug. Hope you can feel it.

  • Barb & Rob

    To Wendy, Ian and family: We are bereft of the words we wish we could find to bring you comfort. Our hearts are with you and we wish you all the strength you need right now.

  • The Harvard Family

    Wendy, Ian and family. We are deeply sorry for the tragic loss of Duncan. Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

  • Andrew Newbold

    Dear Wendy, Ian and Family.
    I am truly devastated to hear the news about Duncan. He was truly remarkable, a really good friend. I have such huge, fond and happy memories of all our time together in Chile as well as the few times I went over to visit after you returned back to Canada. I still do recall those days with much fondness, such as at camp in Onondaga, and how he got me to do the flying fox (but not water skiing as that was too crazy). He was always adventurous, happy and probably one of the best friends I ever had. It’s a ridiculous thing, but he first showed me Morrowind on the XBox when I visited once, which meant I had to get one when I got home. Even after all these years, every time I use it I still remember it was Duncan who really got me into it (although I obviously didn’t tell him at the time and denied all involvement).
    I will forever remember him in that light, for he was a light. Although time and distance meant we lost contact over the years, he will forever be missed as he touched my life and changed it forever.
    All my thoughts are with you at this difficult time,
    Andrew N

  • Nanci Stubbington

    Dear Wendy and Ian,
    Thank you for sharing the life of your son with us in words, memories and love. The time with your family on Aspen Forest still brings many thoughts of fun, friends and family. A home filled with busy events and much love . Duncan was an adventurer with a respect courteous and sometimes sly grin. The picture you have chosen to honour him in this remembrance is a compliment to his spirit. May God bless you, give you peace and the strength to walk through this grief with the hope and knowledge that all is well with his soul in God’s loving embrace. Much love from Nanci, Scott, Joshua and Megan …Aspen too.

  • Rob duyvelshoff

    Dear Wendy, Ian and family. I am so sad to hear the news of Duncan’s passing. I am the father of Greg , one of his high school chums . Duncan and the rest of that high school gang spent a lot of time hanging around enjoying each other’s company. They were close and it was always entertaining having them around. I am truly sorry for your loss.

  • Patricia, Dave, Stephanie , Andy, Laura and Chris

    Dear Wendy, Ian and family,
    It’s hard to find the words to comfort you at this terrible time. We knew Duncan over most of his life and enjoyed watching him mature from an exuberant youngster to an articulate, loving and considerate adult. He was a very special nephew and cousin to all in our family.
    Our love, thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  • Corinne O’Connell

    Remembering that beautiful child from the early days in Ladner.
    May thoughts and prayers from a friend, sustain you through difficult times.
    With sincere and heartfelt sympathy.
    Corinne

  • Katrine

    Wendy, what a beautiful obituary you have written for your dear sweet son Duncan. I am deeply sorry to hear of his passing. How hard this must be for you. He wrote beautiful words when he left, and I have read his obituary over a few times. My heart goes out to you so much Wendy. Katrine

  • Ghenia Bogun

    My dearest friends, Wendy and Ian – I just can’t find the words to tell you how very sad I am for you both and your family. I got to know many sides of Duncan over the past few years and felt very close to him in many ways. His kindness, gentleness and cleverness will stay with me for as long as I live. Duncan is still with you in your heart and mind for your lifetime.
    I pray that that will be some comfort especially during this very painful time.

  • Lisa Fleming

    Dear Wendy and Ian, This is such a beautiful tribute to your sweet son. Sounds like he had a rich and full life, though far too short, and I know he was deeply loved by his family and friends. Heartfelt condolences to you both on your profound loss.

  • Bill Critchley / Shirley Arthur

    Dear Wendy, Ian, and family
    Shirley and I send our condolences for your loss. It is such a hardship to lose someone so young and so close.
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Bill Critchley and Shirley Arthur.

  • Vivien & James

    My Dear cousin Wendy, Ian, Robyn, Katrine, Fiona & Jeremy,
    What a beautiful beautiful story of Duncan’s life. We were privileged to of meet Duncan several times when he was a little boy on your trips to Scotland and again as a young man when we visited Pender in 2016. I remember having a few lovely chats with him. He was a credit to you both. There are no words, just know our love and thoughts are with you all. I will keep checking in on you. I’m only a message or video call away. Our deepest and heartfelt condolences.
    Love Viv James & Family. Xx

  • Mohammed Alhelal

    Dear Wendy, Ian and family,

    I am deeply sorry for your loss.

    Duncan was very cheerful and welcoming friend. He always had a friendly and accepting personality. During the time we shared in Acadia war memorial, I always known him to be a friend for all.

    I Hope you find the fortitude and strength to go through this troubling time.

  • Lorraine Winter

    Oh Wendy, my whole heart goes out to you. Your lovely son’s last words and his obituary were beautifully written — I’d expect nothing less from a Gardner! How tough this is. Sometimes beautiful sons with so much in their favour make decisions that are absolutely right for them but hard for those left behind. May you enjoy your next visit with him. I wish you & your family well.

  • Kathi Middleton

    Dearest Wendy, Ian and family……I am absolutely shocked and my heart just sunk as I realized and read of Duncan’s passing. I am in tears. Some of our favourite family memories of Chile are with Duncan and Robyn at your summer camp, the BoyScouts Pinewood derbies and camping, the school track & field competitions and baseball, Kermess. I can still see Duncan participating in all with his red hair, big smile, long spindly legs and an abundance of enthusiasm.
    On behalf of Kyle & Brock, (whom have fond childhood memories with Duncan), and Chuck, I extend our heartfelt condolences to all of you….our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this very, very difficult time…so very, very sad to have lost your beloved son/brother. Hugs my friend….Kathi Middleton & family

  • Ken Pelley

    I am very sorry for your loss.

  • Don and Dana Goedbloed

    Ian and Wendy, our sincere condolences and prayers to your family in your tragic loss. We extend our prayers to Duncan as he faced such challenges during the final years of his life. Our times with Duncan were brief but we always found him to be a charming, bright and thoughtful young man, may he rest peacefully.

  • Bev Gilliard

    Dear friends,
    Sending you care and peace at this immensely sad time: I am terribly sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved son. You wrote a beautiful description of a life well lived- you and Ian enjoyed many wonderful experiences with your children: this combined with your ongoing unconditional love when challenges arose highlights how vulnerable each of us are and how we must cherish each day. Thank you for your honesty regarding the difficulties that Duncan bravely faced, as no family is immune from the health issues that he encountered. Thinking of your family at this time. From Bev

  • Karen and Len Gagnier

    Dear Wendy, Ian, Fiona and Jeremy and the family you hold dear
    Len and I send you our deepest condolences for the loss of your beloved son Duncan, he has found the peace he was looking for and in god’s hands for ever. The eulogy that you shared with us all was wonderful a sweet caring boy you loved. If we can be of any help we would be happy to do so. God’s blessings to you all
    Sincerely Karen and Len

  • Mamie and Leana

    Duncan was a caring man and in his short time in this world he had a most loving family and special place to call home.
    We send you healing prayers and share in your sadness. May the memories of your very special son remind you of God’s love. ❤️

  • Jim & Dianna McKay

    Dear Wendy, Ian & Family
    We are so saddened to hear of the loss of your Son – Duncan.
    It is so tragic to lose a family member and especially one so young. Our sincere condolences to you during this difficult time.
    We will not be able to attend the service next week but our thoughts and prayers go out to you all.
    Jim & Dianna

  • Alison & Edward Thompson

    Wendy, Ian & Family – So sorry to hear about Duncan’s passing. Thank you for sharing his story and the memories you all made together. Thinking of you all, at this difficult time.

  • Greg Pierce

    I am so sorry to hear of this news. During my time at Acadia, Duncan was always so kind, caring, funny, and genuine. My condolences to all of his family and friends.

  • Dianne Wilson

    Wendy, Ian and family, our hearts go out to you at this tragic time of your lives. After reading Duncan’s obituary, we realize what an amazing young man he was. We cannot begin to understand the pain you must be going through. We can only keep Duncan and the whole family in our prayers each day. May God be with you, love, Dianne and Peter Wilson

  • Jon Heaney

    Dear Wendy, Ian and family, we are so sorry for the loss of your dear son, who sounds like a wonderful person. John and I know how concerned, and how much you cared and did everything possible to help Duncan get through these terrible times for him. Our prayers for you are being offered up

  • Nancy Westell

    Dear Wendy and Ian we send heartfelt condolences to you for this tragic loss. He was obviously a wonderful human being from all of these comments. Much like you both. Much love Allan and Nancy

  • Cindy and Bryan Bedford

    Dear Wendy and Ian

    Such a beautiful tribute to your son. What a tragic loss for your family. We know how important family is to you both and what awesome parents you have been to all of your children and your nephew too. No one could ask for more.
    Bryan and I send our heartfelt condolences to all of you.

  • Shelley Robinson and Chris Crawford

    Dear Wendy and Ian and your family: We want to share our condolences with you at the recent loss of your son. We enjoyed meeting him and will remember him fondly. Words cannot adequately express how to support you in this most difficult time, but know that we’re here as your neighbours on Pender and we will do whatever you need should you ask for it and we will pop in periodically to make sure that you are OK so that you do not need to ask One or both of us will try to attend the service in Victoria. All our very best, Shelley Robinson and Chris Crawford

  • Graham Kay

    Wendy, Ian, and family – please accept my sincerest condolences. I appreciate the courage it takes to let us know about Duncan’s struggles.

  • Brenda Sledzinski

    Dear Ian and Wendy, our hearts go out to you. We are so, so sorry, such a tragic loss. Paul was on that call and Duncan was not alone. If you want more information please touch base with him when you’re ready. Sending prayers and healing thoughts your way.
    Brenda & Paul Sledzinski

  • Martha Prentice

    Wendy, Ian and family,
    We were so shocked to read this. I can’t imagine what you all must have been going through. I’m so sorry for your loss. What a lovely tribute to Duncan, I so clearly remember what a great babysitter he was for the boys, and how much they enjoyed having him here. And I remember being so impressed at his work ethic with all his various jobs in Oakville. You are in our thoughts at this difficult time. Martha and family

  • Mat Sher and Phoenix

    I am so so sorry for your loss… I met Duncan when he was on Pender with you guys, a kind and caring young man. I cannot imagine… Please follow peace, follow love… You will be in our prayers.

  • Vera Algoet

    I didn’t know Duncan (my connection is through Fiona), but I feel I did having read your lovely tribute. I’m so sorry for your loss, especially to suicide. I know from experience the “if only” thoughts are relentless. Sendin you strength and comfort.

  • Tina Farmilo

    Dear Wendy and family – very sorry to hear of your tragic loss. Heartfelt good wishes to you all, on your journey through grief.
    Sincerely, Tina on Mayne

  • Aldene Corrigan

    We are so sorry for your lost of your son. We understand as Bob has had a nephew that left us at an early age. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Aldene and Bob Corrigan. Frieinds of your parents Wendy

  • Kriss Boggild

    Oh Wendy, I am so sorry for your loss. How sad that your dear boy just could not find equilibrium here on earth. I send you and yours much love and hopes that your sweet memories of your dear son will sustain you.

  • Portia and Jim Reimer

    Dear, dear family, we are so sorry to hear this. Your Duncan was indeed a delightful boy who was so special to us in Chile as we lived the expat adventure together at school, during many play dates, and outdoor parties. Your home was a place of fun and your children were close buddies and good friends to other children. I have so many fond memories of our family, yours, and the Hainstocks making the most of our time together. Childhood is fleeting, but you provided a wonderful setting for children to grow up. Thank you so much for sharing the happy details of Duncan’s life. In this world so many struggle. May God comfort and hold you in His arms as you grieve. We are so sorry for your loss. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth…I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem…and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. Revelation 21:1-5 …He who was seated on the throne said, “…these words are trustworthy and true.”

  • Leeanne Mueller

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. I know the hole in your heart will never heal but I pray you will find peace in your memories of your precious son.

  • Maggie O.

    Wendy, Ian and family. My heart is so heavy for your loss of your darling son, brother and cousin.
    I am unable to be at the service, but know your Salt Spring Friends are holding you all in our loving embrace. – Maggie, Jaysun and Kane O’Scalleigh

  • Stuart Gardner

    I was as shocked, as you all are, hearing that Duncan had passed away. It is so so hard to believe, not a day goes by when I am not thinking of you all. I sit in my house in Kinghorn, Fife, where I remember Duncan in the sea, the cold water and blue legs didn’t stop him, and dad looking after him while myself and Wendy sat on a bench chit chatting under the sun eating a few sandwiches, If my memory serves me right, he was 4 years old. My heart goes out to all of you.

    Cousin STUART

  • The Beattie Family

    Dear Wendy and Ian and Family, what a beautiful picture you have painted about your sweet boy. Our hearts are with you in the painful loss of your Duncan.

  • Carol and Denis Budnyk

    Dear Wendy, Ian and family. Words cannot possibly express our feelings for you and your family. Please know that we feel the utmost sorrow for you in the loss of your beloved son.

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