Frank Harding, in his home in Courtenay. Photo by Scott Strasser.

98-year-old B.C. man passes driving reassessment

Frank Harding has been driving for nearly eight decades

On its own, the fact that Frank Harding hasn’t been in a car accident isn’t that impressive.

What’s impressive is that he’s been driving for almost 80 years — and showing no signs of slowing down.

Following a recent medical examination, the 98-year-old Courtenay resident was recommended by his doctor to undergo a driving assessment to make sure he was still fit to get behind the wheel of his 1990 Volvo.

“[The doctor] figured that due to my age, I should do a road test,” said Harding, who was born in New Brunswick on Dec. 12, 1919. “He gave me a phone number and this lady took me out. It was foggy. We debated whether we should go out or not.”

Harding said he barely passed the reassessment the first time around due to poor weather and fog.

“All I could do was see the road just in front of my car,” he said. “She put me through a spot where there was a stop sign and I didn’t see it until I was already in the intersection.”

Harding said he was docked 59 points throughout the assessment. The maximum amount of points allowed to be docked was 60.

Because of how narrowly he had passed, his doctor recommended he perform the test again.

Harding said the second time he took the test that he passed with no issues.

“The woman said, ‘take me to Walmart.’ I said, ‘well, that’s not a problem’. So we went to Walmart.”

Eight decades of driving

Harding first obtained his driver’s licence in 1945, after returning to New Brunswick from the Second World War. He had served in Italy and also participated in the Liberation of Holland.

But he’d done plenty of driving before then.

Even though he had never owned a car before going overseas and had only driven tractors and other farm equipment until that point, Harding listed his occupation as “truck driver” when he first enlisted in the army.

“Where I lived, I never had an occupation. I hardly knew what the word meant,” he said. “Someone told me that when I joined the army, all I’d be doing is walking. So when they asked my occupation, right off the top of my head, I said I was a truck driver.”

Because of that little white lie, Harding often found himself performing various driving assignments for his Company during his time in Europe.

He mentioned how when he first arrived in Sicily, he was presented with a truck, a big water tank and a container of powder to retrieve water for the rest of the Company.

“That was my job — supplying water for all of these men until the engineers set up our water purifiers,” he said.

“My record said I was a truck driver, so if they needed a truck driver, they called on me!”

Frequent gym-goer

At 98, Harding attributes his continued good health to eating well and going to the Comox Recreation Centre regularly.

He said he goes to the gym five or six mornings per week, where he uses a dozen of the exercise machines.

“It gives me something to get up for. Otherwise, I’d probably stay in bed all day,” he said.

His niece Cora Driscoll lives a few blocks away from Harding in Courtenay, where he lives by himself in a small bungalow.

“He’s so positive. He’s got such a good outlook on life,” she said. “He’s just amazing.”

Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Ethan Mastin wins St. Francis Xavier football award

The second-year X-Man put together a solid sophomore season for the Atlantic University Sport squad.

Uniquely decorated Chilliwack home combines Halloween and Christmas

Chilliwack couple decorates their house for the holidays using Nightmare Before Christmas theme

Around the BCHL: Tough season for goalies and Prince George makes a move

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and the junior A world.

Superstore asks Chilliwack residents to help make everyone’s holiday feast special

In-store holiday food drive in support of Chilliwack Salvation Army Food Bank runs to Dec. 24

United churches come together to share warmth in Chilliwack

Members of Rosedale, Chilliwack and Mt. Shannon united churches donate 100 care packages to homeless

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

B.C. man wants trapping laws changed after dog killed

Louis Seguin’s 10-month-old Australian shepherd died in a body-gripping trap last month

Nearly 8,000 homeless in B.C., first province-wide count reveals

Twenty-four seperate counts in B.C. cities found there are thousands of homeless in all corners of province

White Rock to allow dogs on promenade

Plans for a one-year pilot program would continue to ban canines on waterfront from May to August

Highway 1 closed near Revelstoke

A vehicle incident has closed Highway 1 in both directions

Inquest scheduled into death of man in prison for gang-related killing

Gurwinder Mann, 39, died in Abbotsford while serving life sentence

B.C. judge grants $10M bail for Huawei executive wanted by U.S.

Meng Wanzhou was detained at the request of the U.S. during a layover at the Vancouver airport

UBCO prof pitches passenger rail service in Okanagan

UBC Okanagan engineering prof envisions tram train from Okanagan to Kamloops

Famous giant tortoise DNA may hold fountain of youth: UCBO

After Lonesome George’s death he still provides clues to longer life

Most Read