We Remember

HARDING, Debra Gay (née Kaufman)

Debra Gay Harding (née Kaufman) went to be with the Lord on October 24, 2020, at the age of 59. She is survived by her loving husband Douglas Harding of Lake Country, BC; brother Scott Kaufman (Cindy) of San Antonio, Texas; father Carl Bohs of Edmonds, Washington; mother-in-law Eloise Harding of Nakusp, BC; sisters-in-law Leslie Tochor (Les) of Calgary, Alberta; Patricia Donnelly (Todd) of Calgary, Alberta; brother-in-law Daniel Harding (Kelly) of Edmonton, Alberta; along with many wonderful nieces and nephews throughout Canada and the United States. Debra was predeceased by her brother Chris Kaufman in 2015 and her mother Betty Bohs in August 2020.

A celebration of life will be planned for next year when family and friends are able to travel across the border.

Debra was born in Texas City, Texas on August 11, 1961 and lived in the area for 17 years before relocating to Oregon and eventually settling in the Seattle area until 1994. After getting married to Douglas in Washington State, she moved to Kelowna, BC. Debra became a Canadian citizen a few years later and was proud to call Canada her home.

Debra worked at Riverside Forest Products, in Sales and Marketing in specialty plywood, for a number of years before changing her career path to go into real estate. Debra eventually had the opportunity to work for the University of British Columbia and in 2010 accepted the Sales & Services Manager position for Conferences and Accommodations.

While in this role, Debra served on the Board of Directors as National Marketing Director for the College and University Conference Organizers Association from 2011 to 2014. Debra also sat on the Tourism Kelowna Board and volunteered with the UBC Okanagan United Way Campaign. In 2015, Debra graduated with her Master Degree in Education from the University of British Columbia and in 2018, joined the UBC Human Resource Department as the Workplace Learning and Engagement Associate where she continued to move forward with her love for lifelong learning.

A very special and heartfelt thank-you goes out to all of the healthcare professionals and care providers who worked with Debbie along her journey for the last nine months. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the BC Cancer Agency in Kelowna, www.bccancer.bc.ca.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.

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BC Cancer Agency Sindi Ahluwalia Hawkins Centre for the Southern Interior Link: www.bccancer.bc.ca/our-services/centres-clinics/bc-cancer%E2%80%93kelowna




  • Linda and Kevin Bird says:

    We are deeply saddened and shocked to read this news. Although it has been a few years since we crossed paths we want to give our heartfelt condolences to all. Deb was a wonderful person, beautiful inside and out.

  • Scott and Julia Harding says:

    We’re so sorry to hear about Deb’s passing. You two were such a fun loving couple and it was so easy to see the connection you had. We love ya Doug our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  • Maureen Brophy says:

    My heartfelt condolences go out to Doug. She was very loved and respected at UBC. Her sunny disposition will be greatly missed on campus. My heart feels very heavy with sadness of this loss.

  • Kerry says:

    I was so sad to hear of Deb’s passing. She was an amazing soul and such an inspiration. She definitely had a positive impact on my life and she will be missed. My heart goes out to her family.

  • Alicia Meehan says:

    My deepest condolences for your loss. Deb was a positive, shining light at UBC. She will be greatly missed.

  • Katrina Iuvancigh says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of Deb’s illness and passing and wanted to send some love to her family and close friends. Deb was one of the first people I met when I started at UBC and I was lucky to work with her each summer organizing different events and always enjoyed our chats around campus. She was always so friendly, genuine and such a kind-hearted person and her bright spirit will always be missed. I participate in the Ride to Conquer Cancer each year, and my 2021 ride will be dedicated to Deb.
    May you find some comfort in the many wonderful memories of Debbie 🙂

  • Scott & Cindy Kaufman says:

    Rest in peace dear, sweet sister. We will always cherish the beautiful memories of our time together with you and Doug. We will greatly miss your beautiful smile. Deepest sympathies, Scott & Cindy

  • Chris Purden-Carruthers says:

    Debbie was a treasured person in my life and I will always cherish that wonderful friendship we had. We shared the special connection of a history filled with many happy times, including our mutual love of music, silliness and laughs, serious conversations, and yes, sometimes even tears too. Her radiant smile and her sense of humor always lit up the room and made everything more fun! Even though I hadn’t seen Debbie in person for over 10 years because we’d both long ago left WA – she to Canada and I to Southern California, I will deeply miss her, as I know everyone else whose lives she was ever a part of, will too. I know I am blessed to have had the gift of Debbie’s friendship and I will always keep her close in my heart. My love and prayers go out to her loving husband, Doug who was always right by her side every step of the way during her last and most difficult journey.
    Rest in heaven, my sweet friend.

  • Kathy Akers says:

    My most heartfelt sympathies to Doug, and to all Debbie’s family and friends as they deal with this loss. Although it had been years since I saw Debbie, I remembered fondly the years we worked together, and the fun times outside of work. I remember the palpable joy the day she and Doug were married. Debbie’s smile and laughter could light up a room. May wonderful memories be a blessing. Prayers for comfort and peace.

  • Sally Mahalko says:

    First and foremost, from Dave and I, our most heartfelt and deepest condolences go out to you Doug, our dear friend. You were Deb’s love of her life…her soulmate, and she was yours. Deb and I met in our senior year of high school–an amazing 42 years ago, and became best friends since the first day we met! No matter where we were in our lives, or what was happening with each other, we always had this amazing connection and always knew we were there for each other–through good times, and bad, it didn’t matter. We shared many a tear over the years, but we also shared so much laughter and fun! Whether it was trips up to Kelowna and out to “The Bush”, our trips to Hawaii, or trips out on our boat in the Puget Sound and Gulf Islands in Canada, or just trips down here to Seattle to hang out with Dave and I, they were always an adventure…and they are memories we will treasure and cherish forever! I feel so blessed to have shared such an amazingly wonderful and dear to my heart friendship with Deb these past 42 years. She was a truly shining star in my life! She had such a beautiful smile and a contagious laugh that touched not only my heart, but all the hearts of those who had the very good fortune of knowing her as well. She will be so greatly missed, not just by me, but by so many dear family and friends, but she will never be forgotten, as she will always, ALWAYS be in our hearts! I love you my BEST friend Deb…always and forever!

  • DeAnne Howisey says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of Debbie’s passing. She was a bright light in our lives. She was the jokester in our office and had an angelic face that hid her mischief. She spoke of her deep love of Doug and we were honored to witness their wedding. I hope treasured memories will soften the grief for Doug and her family.

  • Sally Mahalko says:

    I also wanted to add that our hearts go out not only to Doug, but also to all his and her family and friends, and we wish them all peace, comfort, and love to help heal the sadness of such a huge loss. I have added another picture…one of my favorites–of Deb and I–such wonderful memories I will always treasure of my dearest friend💖

  • Robert Hager says:

    Nathalie and I are extremely saddened by the news of Deb’s passing. Deb was extremely important to me in two significant instances: she was a rock in building our real estate company and I certainly could not have built a foundation without her, and she was at our wedding day. Our sympathies go out to you Doug and thinking of you during this difficult time. We will certainly miss her but she will forever be remembered.

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