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Born: Jul 01, 1929

Date of Passing: Feb 21, 2019

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ROBERT GERALD HANDFORD, B.A., M.D., F.R.C.P. (C.) Bob passed away February 21, 2019 in Winnipeg at the age of 89. He was born in Winnipeg on July 1, 1929, and was a proud descendant of the Snowflake, Manitoba Handfords. He is survived by his wife Donna (Coffey); children, James, Lorraine, and Ian (Elizabeth); grandchildren, Leane (John), Kerri (Jason) and Henry; great-grandchildren, Kaylee, Kaleb, and Aries; stepchildren, Lynn (Paul), Daniel (Patricia), Catherine (Peter), David (April), and Janice (David); his stepgrandchildren, Stacey, Ashley, Tyler, Matthew, Jennifer, Christopher, Rebecca, Conor, Ezekiel and Zachary; as well as numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, Dr. Cuthbert and Verna Handford; infant brother James; sister Eileen Chapman; beloved son Bruce Handford; and lifelong dear friends, Drs. Hugh and Mary Kidd. Bob graduated from the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Medicine in 1955, and later specialized in Internal Medicine. He had a particular interest in cardiology, and a singular talent as the consummate diagnostician. He was simultaneously Medical Director of the Home Care Program at Health Sciences Centre, Medical Director of Monarch Life Assurance Company, worked in the Health Sciences Centre Internal Medicine Clinic, and was a full-time academic physician in the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba. He was past president of the Manitoba College of Physicians and Surgeons. He retired as one of the senior physicians at Health Sciences Centre, having practiced medicine there for 57 years. Balanced with his medical career was a lifelong consuming passion for sports and games. He played a strong game of chess, was a talented bridge player, a champion curler and golfer, and a hard-won Jets fan. Every summer he drove his young family down to Minneapolis to watch the Twins. For many years he was team doctor for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Intellectual and literate, Bob had a deep love of reading. There were always copies of The New Yorker and The Atlantic laying about, mixed in with The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine. He loved nothing more than to discuss the latest Great Canadian Novel. He was as proud of his liberal arts degree as he was of any medical accomplishment. He was also a charter member of the Over the Hill Club, where for decades he would meet up with Barry Kaufman, Bill Fyles, Eric Mann, Earl Hershfield, and Arnold Naimark for steak sandwiches and endless conversation at Rae & Jerry's. Bob and Donna's house was always full of warmth, meaningful discussion and a wonderful sense of joy. Bob's droll sense of humour, his companionship and genuineness will be forever remembered by all who knew and loved him. Please join the family for a time of fellowship and celebration at the Niakwa Country Club, 620 Niakwa Road, Winnipeg, on Saturday, April 20, from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Siloam Mission, 204-956-4344,

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Mar 02, 2019

Condolences & Memories (7 entries)

  • Worked with Dr. Handford for 25 years as an underwriter at Monarch Life and then North American Life.He was great to work with and always so helpful and a true gentleman. I always remember his favorite phrase # Bobs' Your Uncle " Dennis Phillips former co worker - Posted by: Dennis Phillips (co worker) on: Apr 09, 2019

  • Through years of working claims for North American Life and then Manulife, "Doctor Handford" was always there for us, and not always from a work perspective. When I was considering adopting my son and had been provided with skeens of medical records and such (my son was disabled), he sat down with me and helped me make the decision that has warmed my life ever since. Thank you Dr Handford. You are now in God's hands. - Posted by: Katherine Cheyne (Former Co-Worker) on: Mar 04, 2019

  • I am a psychiatrist and at one point I found myself doing insurance consultations for Manulife. The great pleasure of my work there was getting to know Dr. Handford. He was truly one of the most funny people I've ever met. It was a great pleasure at our age to be rolling in the aisles with hilarity. The Manulife staff got quite a kick out of us, although the management were not as impressed. Brilliant on virtually any subject, warm, charismatic, and very, very funny. My partner Gloria Rathwell and I had the honour of spending some couples time with Bob and Donna, along with Bob's good friend (who happened to be my old high school basketball coach and mentor) Clyde Perry and his partner Jill Fox. I treasure my very fond memories of Dr. Bob. - Posted by: Mark Etkin (Fellow conspirator) on: Mar 03, 2019

  • I was sorry to hear of the loss of Bob. He was a first cousin of my mother, Myrtle Zimmerman, who was the daughter of Ida Handford Murdoch, Cuthbert's older sister. Our family will always remember Cuthbert and all his family with great love for the special care taken of both Ida and Myrtle during their separate and very serious illnesses. My Mother had a particular fondness for Bob as her young cousin and I remember his visits to our home with his father Dr Cuthbert, when I was a youngster growing up. Recently while planning a family celebration, I came across wonderful family pictures including ones of Cuthbert in his WW1 uniform and sent them along to Bob. I hope he got and enjoyed them. I thought it important for the family to have these marvelous keepsakes. Bob's life was truly special and I know you will all miss him dearly. With Sympathy, Margaret Mills and sister Ann Pedersen, Brothers Bob, Alex and Neil Zimmerman - Posted by: Margaret Mills (Cousin) on: Mar 03, 2019

  • An extraordinary man who along with Gladys added a slew of memories to Loni Beach... Lake Ave dwindles to a flicker... the road lost of neighbours whose door were always open to children who ran when the street lights came on. Dr's and nurses available at a moment's notice. A testament to our lives that we still, reach out to one another... - Posted by: Diane Alexander (neighbour) on: Mar 03, 2019

  • On behalf of the Nurses Alumni of the WGH/HSC we send our condolences to the friends and family of Dr. Handford. In the 1960's and beyond, Dr. Handford was the attending doctor for the Nurses Infirmary. He was a gentle and kindly presence when young student nurses became seriously ill during the course of our three years of training. - Posted by: Margaret Steele (On behalf of the Nurses Alumni of the WGH/HSC) on: Mar 02, 2019

  • The Douglas family is saddened to hear of your loss. Donna and Bob were good friends of Mom's, and your family was a constant source of support for her, and to us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. - Posted by: Patti Douglas (Family friend of Donna) on: Mar 02, 2019

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