Geoff Arundell & Gordon Eekman, A Lifelong Vic High Friendship

Geoff Arundell & Gordon Eekman,

A Lifelong Vic High Friendship

by Gerald Pash, VHS1962

Throughout high school we make dozens of acquaintances. Some are temporal friends and others come and go with little notice. Then comes the question, “Where are they now?” For most it is a passing interest. That has certainly not been the experience of Geoffrey Arundell and Gordon Eekman, both from the Class of 1958.

Geoffrey and Gordon met at Victoria High School in 1956. For 67 years they never asked that question, “Where is he now?” because they maintained close contact for nearly seven decades sharing significant life experiences throughout.

Geoffrey Arundell died September 14, 2023 at the age of 83. He and Gordon both attended Victoria College and the University of British Columbia between 1958 and 1976. Geoffrey became a medical doctor and Gordon a teacher, scientist and researcher.  Both made significant contributions to society at large.

During his life Geoffrey trained, studied and practised at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, in general practice in Terrace, B.C., at Toronto Western Hospital, St. Paul’s Hospital Vancouver, BC Children’s Hospital, and Lion’s Gate Hospital. Beyond general practice he was qualified in 1975 as anaesthesiologist. He retired from medical practice in 2013.

Describing their lifelong friendship, Gordon Eekman states, “After I married, Geoff became a friend of my family. We continued to meet from time to time for meals and events. For a time, my family and I moved to Ottawa where I worked at the Defence Research Board. About the same time Geoff moved to Toronto where he worked at the Toronto Western Hospital. We would meet occasionally in Ottawa and Toronto.”

Eventually Geoff and Gordon’s family moved back to Vancouver. Geoff studied Anaesthesiology at St. Paul’s Hospital and Vancouver General Hospital and worked at Lion’s Gate Hospital until his retirement in 2013.

Over the years Geoff and Gordon met for meals, attended lectures together at the Vancouver Planetarium, TRIUMF, the UBC nuclear research facility, and the Life Sciences Centre. “Every August,” says Gordon, “Geoff, my wife Saranya, and I would attend musical events at the Harmony Arts Festival.”  Gordon had met his second wife in Thailand where they married in December 2002. “I was particularly pleased that Geoff was present at Saranya’s Canadian citizenship ceremony in 2013,” says Gordon.

“Every Christmas, we would gather to help Geoff decorate his Christmas tree in West Vancouver,” Gordon continues. “Geoff was a gentleman, a gentle soul. It was always easy to talk with him about anything. There was a genuine dialogue of speaking and listening in all our conversations.  What we would say to each other had content, had substance and was never frivolous.” Geoff and Gordon last met on September 8, 2020 for a farewell dinner at Ambleside, West Vancouver, a few days before Geoff moved to Victoria where he died on September 14, 2023 at Douglas Care.  Geoffrey’s obituary. 

In addition to his lifelong friendship with Geoff, Gordon recalls his time at Vic High as having prepared him well for university. He was driven by the challenge of a particular teacher who advised him that he did not have the ability to attend university, even though he was listed on the Honour Role in his Grade 11 year. Gordon also participated in the United Nations Club, Glee Club and the Future Teachers Club.

He went on to achieve four university degrees from the University of British Columbia (BSc, BA, MSc and MA).  That led him to a career in science, research, and post secondary education and a life that included a world of travel throughout Canada, Europe, the Middle East and particularly Asia.

He retired from Thompson Rivers University in 2000. He now spends much of his time creating personal illustrated study packages about various topics which he makes available on the internet. He maintains his own YouTube Channel: where he produced a memorial to his friend Geoffrey Arundell.

His advice to current students is, “Study diligently, do your best. What you do now will make a huge difference in your future. With consistent, good marks many options will open up for you. Become involved and participate in clubs and school activities. Club activities round out the high school experience and contribute to how one perceives the world, one’s community and people in general.”