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Memorable Manitobans: Gordon Samuel Fahrni (1887-1995)


Born at Gladstone on 13 April 1887, son of Christian Fahrni and Priscilla Hyndman (1860-1946), he was educated at Gladstone School, Wesley College, and the University of Manitoba. He graduated in 1911 and practised medicine in Winnipeg. He was Assistant Surgeon at the Winnipeg General Hospital, Attending Surgeon at the St. Boniface Hospital, and Consulting Surgeon at the Winnipeg Municipal Hospital and Ninette Sanatorium. He lectured in surgery at the University of Manitoba. Fahrni was a well-known and outspoken critic of “socialistic encroachment on health care.”

On 29 October 1913, he married Alice May Paton (?-?) at Barrie, Ontario. They had two children: Phyllis Gordon Fahrni (1914-?, wife of ? Brown) and Gordon Paton Fahrni. He was President of the Manitoba Medical Association (1923-1924) and Canadian Medical Association (1940-1942). He served as a field surgeon during the Second World War and was in charge of medical services during the 1950 Manitoba flood. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 1987. He was chair of the Music Committee of St. Andrew’s United Church for many years, and a member of the Scientific Club of Winnipeg (1922-1951) and Manitoba Club. He served as President of the St. Charles Country Club in 1940. He moved to Vancouver in 1951 and retired in 1965. His autobiography was published in 1975 as Prairie Surgeon.

He died at Vancouver, British Columbia on 3 November 1995, at the age of 108 years.

His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

Biography of Christian Fahrni, Part 1
Manitoba Pageant, Volume 20, Number 1, Autumn 1974

Biography of Christian Fahrni, Part 2
Manitoba Pageant, Volume 20, Number 2, Winter 1975

Biography of Christian Fahrni, Part 3
Manitoba Pageant, Volume 20, Number 3, Spring 1975


Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 7 November 1995, page 27.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 13 August 2019

Memorable Manitobans

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