Garnet Orlando Nathanael Harper, 35 years old of Sudbury Ontario, was actively and valiantly fighting a tenacious battle with kidney disease when he passed away on Monday, May 22, 2023 surrounded by his loving family.
Garnet was born July 13, 1987 in Chateauguay Quebec and is predeceased by both his birth parents; his father was Wakefield Atheson Harper and his mother was Teresa Mary Gauvreau.
On May 14, 2011 Garnet married his wife, Meghan (née Ambrose) Harper, and declared himself “the luckiest man in the world.” As a father, Garnet devoted himself to the pride of his life – his children Avah, Elyanah, Yarah, Nyah and Judah.
For Garnet, family was paramount and he prioritized and held special those relationships above all. At four years old, he was permanently placed in the care of his uncle, Donald George Walker, and aunt, Arlene Mary (née Gauvreau) Walker, and they became “Dad” and “Mom” respectively and deservedly. Garnet often spoke affectionately of his childhood at “the Ranch” and noted “how good we had it.”
Garnet’s siblings share in his fond memories of childhood: Emerald-Ann Dennis (Michael), DeVaughn Harper, Galilee Harper (Holly), Koralee Walker (Glenn), Krista Ryan (Jeff), Allison Godkin (Paul), Sherilee Steevenz (Jason), Leanna Walker (Rob), Keith St. Jean (Jennifer), Sandy Sinclair (predeceased), and Atheson Harper (Lynn).
Garnet went on to build meaningful connections with his siblings Justice Brown and Genesis Joy Brown-Driessen (Samuel), as he was able to spend time with them in adulthood.
Garnet was the sincerest son-in-law of Robert and Linda (née McGuire) Ambrose and brother-in-law to Meredith Teller (Chad).
Garnet strove to make every interaction with his family and friends meaningful, and therefore he will be missed greatly by his surviving nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, and many extended family and friends.
Garnet took pride as a small business owner and passionately took on auto detailing with Sharper Auto Spa. He made sure things were done well the first time and stayed committed to ensuring clients were satisfied. In every job, Garnet’s character reflected his honour and integrity. Even in business dealings, Garnet’s every word and action were guided by his deep conviction to be of man of intentionality.
Garnet’s love for people and relationships led him into social services, and he spent many years as a registered social worker. He had a particular soft spot for young people, and was proud of the volunteer work he did with Glad Tidings’ youth group and the Elgin Street Mission.
Garnet was on the brink of a vocational shift and planned to launch into a career of life coaching. His goal was to encourage others to adopt what he called a “One Life Mindset.” Garnet desired to inspire others to seize the moments we have and build our lives into what our dreams are made of.
As a young person, Garnet was an impressive athlete, and he was proud of his accomplishments in sports. From his basketball tournament medals to his track and field ribbons and records, his love for sport continued throughout his life. Garnet played pond hockey at every opportunity, he threw himself into trial biking and built his own course with his cousin Shaun. Later in life Garnet became an avid golf enthusiast. And, as a committed New York Jets fan, he was looking forward to watching his team make a run for Superbowl LVIII.
Garnet was an artist, in every respect of the word. He was a wordsmith, always composing poetry and thoughtful prose. His creativity knew no bounds, from fine arts to spoken word, from impressions to landscaping. He prided himself on a beautiful and fruitful garden, spending hours in his backyard each summer.
Garnet strove to be the best at absolutely everything he did, which highlighted the contrasts that made him unique. He was a fierce competitor while also a tender-hearted helper. He was a magnetic orator who could mesmerize a crowd, and the next moment would be found connecting warmly one-on-one with an individual. He was sure of his stance and stood firm in his convictions, yet he took time to patiently listen to alternate positions. As he shared, “I have immersed myself in the information supplied by the opposition. Yet, this is why I hold to my current stance.” He appreciated his own uniqueness, and aimed to learn as much as he could about his Trinidadian heritage, seeking out the true story of his bloodline.
It was this passion for seeking out the truth and his thirst for wisdom that directed Garnet’s life. As a man of deep faith, he desired to share the treasures he had uncovered in his personal study and lead others into discovery and lasting change. It was this same mindset that also led him into activism. A hero to many, Garnet stood for those who couldn’t stand, spoke for those without a voice, and protected those who didn’t know they needed it. An ardent advocate for equal rights for all, he promoted personal and medical freedom during a dark period of Canada’s history. He saw his activism as a duty to his peers and the next generation, and encouraged others to act on what they already felt brewing inside. His energetic bravery showed many they were not alone, and he strove to build a thriving community of likeminded individuals.
Although he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at a very young age, he never allowed his diagnosis to become an obstacle to any of his goals. He viewed his health condition as a challenge rather than an excuse, and he maintained that mindset as he continued to fight during his last days. Although he had every reason to roll over and give up, Garnet chose to keep going, pushing himself through physical pain because he knew that beyond the agony was a battle worth winning.
Garnet’s legacy can be found in the reminder that we must, all of us, rise above our circumstances and “Keep Pounding!”