1918 – 2009

We regretfully announce the death of our much loved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather on Monday, February 23, 2009. Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, he spent many happy holidays at Roseneath in Bo’ness, with his beloved granny and his cousins, the Roseneath gang. He attended university for one year before joining the Gordon Highlanders in 1939. With them he embarked for France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. After five years as a prisoner of war, he eventually returned to Aberdeen where he completed his degree in law.
In the years following, and in divers places, he enjoyed teaching, writing about and practising law. This culminated in his appointment first to the County Court of Vancouver Island, and then to the Supreme Court of British Columbia. These were happy years. When, as he saw it, he was thrust untimely from the bench, at the youthful age of 75 years, he rallied and went on to spend another ten years in the practice of law. Law was his passion, and to it he bent the full force of his intellect, learning, compassion and energy, and it, in turn, rewarded him with a fulfilling life.
Left to cherish his memory are his wife Edna, min Medina, daughters Fiona (Terry) and Catriona (Rob), grandchildren Madeleine (Dan), Sylvia and Neil and great-grandchildren Brett, Sienna Marie and Heidi Lynne. The family would like to thank the staff at Victoria Hospice for their compassionate care during his final weeks, and the staff of Beacon Home Care, and nurse Darshan, for their kindness and assistance during his final months.
A Service of Remembrance will be conducted by the Reverend Laura Kavanagh in KNOX PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 2964 Richmond Road on Tuesday, March 3, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. followed by a reception. Flowers gratefully declined. If so wished, donations may be made to the Canadian Red Cross, 909 Fairfield Road, Victoria, B.C. V8V3A3, the Victoria Hospice, 1952 Bay Street, Victoria, B.C. V8R 1J8 or a charity of your choice. Hamish never ceased to be thankful to the Red Cross for providing food and other assistance to him and his fellow prisoners during the war; without that assistance he doubted that he would have survived.

Inshallah, we shall meet again.

  • Neil fahlman

    Grandpa I love you and miss you so much I still cry when I think about you giving me the firemans carry and I remember when I was really young you gave me and Devon 5 bucks to get icecream on a hot summer day I love you and grandma so much and I know both of you are looking down at me smiling I wish I could have spent more time with both of you but I will see you when I get up there

  • Rina Kampeas

    Dear Fiona,

    I regret learning of your father’s passing so long after the event, but just the same I’d like to say a word.

    I remember very clearly your family’s generosity in including me in outings on many weekends the year you and I were in Grade 10 at Monklands High. (That was a fun friendship we had!) I have affectionate memories of your father’s shyness with me. I myself was acutely shy and hadn’t a clue how to make conversation with a grown-up. When he’d drive me home after I’d spent an afternoon and evening at your place, neither one of us would say a word the whole way, till I said “Thank you” as I was getting out of the car and he said “Pleasure”. But I trusted his kindness.

    I knew he had a sense of humour, because he used to speak Spanish to your family’s cocker spaniel. (“Tienes hambre?” he asked her once. Wasn’t her name Lolita?)

    Please accept my condolences and extend them to your lovely mother, of whom I have very fond memories, and to Catriona, whom I recall as a fun, lively, social child. And know that I remember your and my friendship very warmly — I appreciated your intelligence and thoughtfulness — and I’m wishing you the best.

    Tons of love,


  • Lavonna Nan

    I LOVE YOU, work it out. work it out, jst like kanye said.WOW!!!!!

  • Madeleine Dahl


    I miss you so much. I know you are up above looking out for me. Sienna and Heidi send you big hugs and kisses. So much to say but if I am anything like you I will go on forever.

    Love M3 (M to the third power!)

  • Kristin Marrs

    I was sorry to read in the paper that Dr. Gow passed away. I met Dr. Gow in person on only a few occasions through my boss, friend and mentor, the late Robert B. Buffam ,although I had the pleasure of speaking with him on many occasions by phone while working for Robert.

    I was Robert’s secretary from 1981 through 1989 and worked for Robert while attending Law School at UVIC through the late 80’s. I have benefited greatly in my practice from Robert’s teaching of me and I know that that teaching was greatly influenced by Dr. Gow’s teaching and mentoring of Robert which had a huge influence on Robert’s practice. I learned well because of Robert and I know Robert considered that he learned well because of Dr. Gow. I did not know that Robert had spoken of me to Dr. Gow until Dr. Gow made a point of talking to me after Robert’s death – he took the time to tell me how proud Robert was of me which at the time of such a great loss to me was so important – I was writing final exams in my third year when he passed away so suddenly.

    I have a paper of Robert’s from his articling days at Smith Hutchison Gow that I look at from time to time – it was reviewed by Dr. Gow and has his writings “all over it” – I treasure it.

    I keep in touch with Leslie, Katie and Bonar Buffam who all live in Vancouver now. I had hoped I could attend the funeral today in memory of Bob and on behalf of his family but if I am unable to make it, wanted Dr. Gow’s family to know how far his influence reached and how important he was to Bob’s family.

    God bless.

    KristinR. Marrs
    Barrister & Solicitor
    Herald Street Law

  • Christopher Wilson

    I can think of nothing more appropiate to say about the passing of Hamish than the words of another famous Son of Aberdeen and his favorite poet:

    “O Thou unknown, Almighty Cause
    Of all my hope and fear!
    In whose dread presence, ere an hour,
    Perhaps I must appear!

    “If I have wander’d in those paths
    Of life I ought to shun,
    As something, loudly, in my breast,
    Remonstrates I have done;

    “Thou know’st that Thou hast formed me
    With passions wild and strong;
    And list’ning to their witching voice
    Has often led me wrong.

    “Where human weakness has come short,
    Or frailty stept aside,
    Do Thou, All-Good-for such Thou art-
    In shades of darkness hide.

    “Where with intention I have err’d,
    No other plea I have,
    But, Thou art good; and Goodness still
    Delighteth to forgive. ” Robert Burns 1781

    My condolences to his family

  • Jonathan Cheffins

    To the Gow Family,

    I was extremely sad to hear of the passing of Hamish Gow. My Mom and Dad, Sylvia and Ron Cheffins were good friends of the Gows particularly in the ‘60s and ‘70s. When I was christened, Edna and Hamish were my god parents. I was given the middle name of James because of Hamish being my god parent.

    As a boy, I have very fond memories of going over to the house on Island Road and playing in the back yard with Hector (and Georgie Girl if Molly Cooper was there too). I remember on occasion taking Hector for walks with Hamish, which was always fun. The New Years Eve parties that Edna and Hamish put on were always something I looked forward to as well. The Gows were also very generous to me at Christmas and my birthday, which I was very thankful for. I wish that I could have known Hamish into my adult years.

    I won’t forget his generosity and kindness.

    Jonathan Cheffins

  • louise smith

    Dear Fiona,
    I was sorry to learn of Dr. Gow’s passing. He was my first boss, along with Bob Buffam, at Hallatt Stewart & Gow, in 1974. He was such a kind man and extremely patient me, and I have the warmest memories of him. Best wishes.

  • Nicole

    Dear Gow family:

    I read with much condoldence the passing of Dr. Gow. He was my first boss when I graduated community college and worked at Wilson Marshall. He was fantastic, eloquent and supportive. I constantly have wonderful memories of his ‘teaching’ and ‘explaining’ the terms and words of law that he so clearly enjoyed. I don’t think I was ever able to thank him properly.

  • Isabel Lloyd

    Dear Mrs Gow and family members,
    I am writing as the Chair of the Royal Roads University School of Peace and Conflict Management Advisory Board, of which your husband was a founding member and on which he sat for several years.

    I first met Hamish when i joined a new member of the board in 2003 and had another connection when he called for advice on a client who was in trouble in Asia. I found him to be a great listener who would wait until most had been said and then come in with the wisdom of his experience with something we had not thought of, often the kernal of the discussion. He retained the character that must have been both a product of his upbringing and his years as a Prisoner of War, but he seemed to have the ability to rise above the hard times and contribute to his community in special ways.

    Few have contributed so much to so many. And of course he could not have done that without the support of you and his family so we also owe you a debt of gratitude.

    We will remember Hamish specificaly at out Board meeting in April, meanwhile please accept our deepest condolences.


    Isabel Lloyd.

  • peter bradley

    I am sorry to hear of the passing of Hamish. I always enjoyed his company and conversation. My heart goes out to his wife and especially hs daughter Fiona.
    My thoughts are with you all

    Peter Bradley

  • John Hutchinson

    Dear Gow Family,
    Please accept my sincere condolences on your loss. I had the privilege of meeting the “Doctor” during my years as a volunteer with The Victoria Newspaper Guild. As our lawyer, he was brilliant and became a mentor and friend. He continually went above and beyond. His wisdom was profound and he left us much richer for knowing him.
    Thank you JJ

  • Les Leyne

    I was a young reporter in the early 1980s and I completely missed a key point on a case Mr. Gow was handling, which resulted in a very superficial story.
    He was good enough to make time on a weekend to sit down and go over the details with me, which allowed me to catch up a little on what I’d missed.
    I always appreciated his patience and the honorable intentions he displayed.

    Les Leyne
    Victoria Times Colonist

  • Ronald F. MacIsaac

    Fiona, it is with great sorrow that we heard of the passing of your beloved father. He was always a very kind, fair and generous man who was always willing to share his wisdom. Dan, I and our staff would like to express our sympathies to you and your family.

    Ron MacIsaac

  • James & Julia McDonald

    We have been proud to have Hamish and Edna for friends. He will be sorely missed. Sincere condolences to Edna and family.

    Jim, Julia and the McDonald Family

  • Roger Stonebanks

    “Dr. Gow,” as I knew him first, before he was Judge and then Justice J.J. Gow, when I knew him again, was a wonderful man, kind and sympathetic to the personal circumstances of others, and a fine and determined adviser and advocate for my former union, the Newspaper Guild. I extend my sympathies to the Gow family – his was a life well-lived and well remembered
    Roger Stonebanks

  • Janice Lidstone

    Dear Fiona and family
    Please accept my sympathies in the loss of your father. It sounds like he was an amazing man. Take Care

  • Lorna Jacobson

    I served the Judge and Mrs. Gow for many years at the Union Club. I remember bringing plates and plates of his favourite oatcakes! He had a great sense of humour and it was obvious that he loved his family very much. He was a great man and will be sorely missed, especially on Robbie Burns Day!

  • Jean Marcellus

    To All the Gow Family,

    I offer to you my prayers and sympathy on the passing of a much loved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

    Fiona, my special thoughts and prayers are sent to you for strength, through God’s love, to get you through this difficult time.

    Treasure all the wonderful memories in your heart forever.

    God Bless,

    Jean Marcellus
    St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
    Victoria, BC

  • Jean Marcellus

    To All the Gow Family,

    I offer to you my prayers and sympathy on the passing of a much loved husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

    Fiona, my special thoughts and prayers are sent to you for strength, through God’s love, to get you through this difficult time.

    Treasure all the wonderful memories in your heart forever.

    God Bless,

    Jean Marcellus
    St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
    Victoria, BC

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