March 21, 1946 – January 4, 2021
It is with extremely heavy hearts that we announce the sudden passing of Verner “Verne” Sundstrom, who left us too soon, on the morning of January 4, 2021 at Kelowna General Hospital after a brief illness.
Verne, or “Papa”, is survived his loving children, Chris Sundstrom, Kerri (Rob) Leetz, Toryn (Dani) Sundstrom, his beloved grandchildren, Liam and Joshua Leetz, his children’s mother Judith Sundstrom (nee Keen), his brothers Wayne (Laura) Sundstrom and Daryl (Joan) Sundstrom and many extended family and friends. He is preceded in death by his mother, Agnes “Elvira” Sundstrom, father, Johannes “Al” Sundstrom, and brother, Larry Sundstrom.
Verne was born in Duncan, B.C. and started his life in Rounds Camp near Lake Cowichan before growing up on the family properties in Langley, BC. As a child, he worked on his uncles’ farms picking berries and baling hay.
His great love of the outdoors led him to choose a career that gave him the opportunity to enjoy them. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BSc. in Forestry in 1972, worked as a Forest Ranger for the B.C. Forest Service and later became a Registered Professional Forester and Timber Scaler.
Verne’s career took him to every corner of our province and several other provinces of Canada, many of them remote places that few people will ever get the opportunity to experience.
His early career was spent in Northern B.C., thence moving to Vancouver Island where he spent the better part of 22 years. Much of his time on Vancouver Island was at Alderlea Farm near Nanaimo, which he, Judith and his children created from empty land, creating many happy memories of this place. He eventually found his final home in Kamloops, B.C. in 1997, where he remained until his death.
He was drawn to Kamloops by work, but ultimately fell in love with the city because of its beauty and recreation, the presence of close friends and the ability to participate in his outdoor lifestyle.
Many people whom Verne worked with or met at university have remained his life-long friends. Together they have shared many adventures in life, from working, hunting, fishing, hiking, marriages, births, and deaths.
Throughout his life, and after “retiring” from forestry, he continued his love for the outdoors as an avid nature photographer and outdoor clubs. One of Verne’s fondest passions was teaching the younger generations, especially his children and grandchildren, about the outdoors. His desire to pass down good stewardship of nature to allow many generations the privilege of enjoying it, was evident to all who knew him. He especially loved hiking in the grasslands with his camera and faithful dog, Indy.
Verne will be strongly missed by the many friends he had throughout the province. He was an active member and past president of the Kamloops and District Fish and Game Association.
He served on many projects and committees working toward nature conservancy. He was also a well-loved member of his coffee group, card group, curling group, his hockey buddies (as he was a long time Kamloops Blazers fan) and all of the other friends with whom he had made connections over the years. Verne will be remembered for his kind and generous spirit, his gentle giant persona, and his loving, easygoing nature.
The family wishes to thank Doctor Foster and all of the caring staff at Kelowna General Hospital, as well as family and friends who were able to comfort him during his final days.
Due to COVID 19, a celebration of life will take place when restrictions allow for any family and friends who wish to attend to be present.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Verne’s name to the Kamloops and District Fish and Game Association or the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.
Condolences may be expressed at: www.firstmemorialkamloops.com
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