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Obituary of John Bradley DAVIDSON

Brad passed away early in the morning of August 29, 2018, four and a half months after being diagnosed with cancer (glioblastoma). He spent the last few months of his life being cared for by his son, Philip Davidson, in Victoria, B.C.

Brad grew up in Toronto, the eldest of three children born to Alex and Barbara Davidson. With dad Alex working as a chief scout for professional hockey teams, including the Philadelphia Flyers and Detroit Red Wings, and uncle Bob being a former captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Davidsons were a hockey family and Brad played at the Junior B level and with the McMaster University team. Eventually, Brad became more interested in horse racing after being introduced to life on the backstretch at Woodbine Racetrack. He started out as a hotwalker and continued to work and learn the business during school breaks, travelling to racetracks in Ontario, Florida and New York. Brad earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University in 1972 and afterwards left for the west coast and racing at Exhibition Park (Hastings Racecourse) in Vancouver.

Brad made his home on the west coast and worked in the racing business for different trainers at tracks across Canada and the U.S. for many years. He met Catherine at Sandown Racetrack in Victoria and married in 1982. Their son Philip was born later that year in Vancouver. 

Brad held a life-long interest in “the game” and loved being involved with life on the backstretch and behind the scenes of thoroughbred horse racing. Over the years, he held interests in several horses and enjoyed following their progress, whether they could make it or not, ever hopeful the “big one” might come along. In later years he liked to watch live-stream racing from tracks all around North America.

Brad loved good conversation and witty banter with friends and acquaintances at the track and in working man’s East Vancouver, particularly in and around the Princeton Hotel, where he lived for a period of time. More recently, Brad enjoyed living in his classic, 31-foot 1977 Airstream trailer in Burnaby. He felt it was just the right size for him. 

As a student of ideas, keen reader, radio-listener and follower of current events, Brad was always interested in learning more about the world and asking life’s biggest questions. As a young man, he explored the esoteric philosophies and teachings that became popular in the 1960s and 70s. In later years, he found the history and teachings of the Bible to be of interest and found great comfort and reassurance in the messages he heard as a visitor to the Victoria Seventh-Day Adventist Church, where he was received warmly by all.

Brad will be missed and fondly remembered by his brother Geoff (Alice), sister Helen and nieces and nephews Bethany, Graeme, Allie and families in Ottawa, his son Philip (Mónica), Philip’s mother Catherine, sister-in-law Lynne, and niece Kim and nephew Chris on Vancouver Island, his longtime friend, lawyer and racing partner, Alex Murray, and friends of the horse racing community in Vancouver.

A special thank you to Alex Murray for his friendship over the many years he and Brad knew each other. Thank you to members of the Victoria Seventh-Day Adventist church for their prayers and support, to Island Health staff for their care and concern and to the staff and residents of Parry Place where Brad was fortunate to stay the last weeks of his life.

A private service will be held at a later date.


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