04/07/2015 08:29 EDT | Updated 06/07/2015 01:12 EDT

B.C. doctor slain in Bahamas was well-respected, delivered many babies: mayor

CHETWYND, B.C. - A retired doctor who spent much of his career bringing life into the world and tending to the health of British Columbians has been found stabbed to death at his vacation home in the Bahamas.Just months ago, Geoffrey Harding was surrounded by loved ones during a big family reunion at a ranch in northeastern B.C. last Christmas.It was a very happy occasion, and the last good memory a relative has of Harding, 88, whose body was discovered Thursday at his winter house."It is very difficult, of course," said the relative living in Chetwynd, who asked not to be named. "It's not just like you die of a heart attack or whatever. It is the thought that the person is stabbed, which is a horrible thought."The family was notified of the patriarch's death, prompting two of Harding's daughters and their husbands to fly south on Friday.Police in the Bahamas said a handyman discovered Harding dead about noon in his home in Clarence Town, Long Island. He had multiple stab wounds.Detectives arrested a 43-year-old suspect from the island and he is expected to be formally charged with murder later this week, said Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Dean.He called incident rare."Someone took the opportunity and risked it," he said on Monday, declining to provide further details about what happened. "You don't have those types of incidents on that island."Police told the family the suspect stabbed Harding when he refused to give him money, the relative said. The suspect is also wanted for questioning in connection with a nearby house break-in, according to a police news release.The family members will stay in the Bahamas for the man's cremation later this week, and likely hold a memorial later in Dawson Creek, B.C.The family never had any concerns about Harding's safety on the island, said the relative, who described him as a "cultivated" man who played piano and was quite knowledgeable about music. Harding was a long-time doctor in Chetwynd, B.C., about 100 kilometres west of the Alberta border, before he moved his practice to New Westminster, and elsewhere in B.C., some two decades ago.He was an obstetrician gynecologist who helped to build the first medical clinic in the tiny community before he retired well into his 70s."He was well-respected physician here for many years," said Mayor Merlin Nichols. "He delivered many of the babies that were born during those years."Harding usually returned to Chetwynd during the summer, said Nichols.The mayor would run into him at the post office and spot him relaxing by the lake."He believed in getting the most out of life that he could," said Nichols.Canada's Foreign Affairs Department responded with a brief note saying Harding was a citizen of the United Kingdom and any inquiries should be directed at the British High Commission.— Written by Tamsyn Burgmann in VancouverFollow @TamsynBurgmann on Twitter