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Vance Brian Kahl

December 13th, 1949 - September 20th, 2023
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Vance Brian Kahl passed away peacefully September 20, 2023 in his own home following a brief illness. He was was 73. Sadly missed by the loved ones he leaves behind. 

Born in 1949 North Battleford Saskatchewan to the late Alexander Kahl & and the late Jessie V. Jones (Francis-Chickering-Kahl). Vance was the youngest brother of four siblings; Edward, Jolleen, and Iris. 

Born in North Battleford, Sask. in December 1949 Vance moved as a toddler with the family in the spring of 1951 to Burnaby, BC where he lived until 1955 when the family moved to a rural property in Stave Falls, BC. 

Vance grew up in the Stave Falls and Stave Gardens and Mission City, BC areas until the death of his father in March of 1965. His  mother then remarried in 1966, returning to Burnaby, BC. 

Vance attended Burnaby Central High School and began his working career in 1969 with CP Rail. He was injured in a tragic workplace accident in 1972, which left him a paraplegic. 

The physical recovery from his accident took over a year in hospital, but the mental and emotional recovery took another three years. In that time he learned to focus on the things he still could do, as opposed to the things he could not. 

After that, Vance became unstoppable. 

In his youth he was an avid kayaker, sailor, swimmer and SCUBA diver. He studied engineering at DeVRY Institute of Technology. He was a passionate outdoorsman who loved to fish and hunt, and enjoyed crossbow hunting in particular. 

He moved first to Ruskin, BC then finally to Maple Ridge where he remained until his passing. Over the years he became an adept carpenter, cabinet maker and mechanic. He loved to fix and repurpose things. Whenever there was a build within the family, a cabin, a barn, a garage, a fence, he would arrive with his camper van, tools in hand.

He built his own home, then renovated another, using a series of pulleys and supports (that he designed himself) ALL BY HIMSELF, to suit his personal needs. He had a brilliant mind, big, strong capable hands and a dark, dry sense of humour. 

Largely relying on crutches as opposed to a wheelchair, he found it difficult to find clothes that fit due to his muscular shoulders and arms with such a small waist. His solution was to take up sewing. Coached by his two sisters, Vance learned to alter his own clothes to fit and often made or repaired clothing for others as gifts.

Despite being a paraplegic for fifty years, Vance never let his disability stop him from doing ANYTHING. 

Our greatest gift to him was to honour his wishes to return home from the hospital, to the care team that had been with him since 2008.

Vance never married and had no children. He was predeceased by his youngest sister, Iris Kahl-Staekli in 2016. Then his eldest sister, Jolleen (Kahl-Horton) Donaldson and his older brother, Edward Kahl both within a day of each other in early 2022 as well as his sister’s widower John Donaldson in September 2023.

He is survived by his niece, Corinne Horton, his youngest sister’s widower, Larry Staeheli and several cousins in Canada and elsewhere. 

He is also survived by those friends that became family, most notably his good friend Indra Tones and her sons Ryan Tones and Danny Tones as well as their extended family. 

The family would like to publicly recognize the extraordinary care team at Access Health who helped Vance to live well, under his own terms, until his body could no longer continue. We credit his independent living, largely, to their care and his own stubborn tendency!

A generous, kind man, he went out of his way to help those he loved. He was easy to love. We will miss him. 💗

An intimate Celebration of Life will be at the Maple Ridge Funeral Chapel, 11969 216 St Maple Ridge, on Saturday October 14th at 11am, to share our favourite memories of Vance.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation  to the continued research at Spinal Cord Injury British Columbia. 


Larry Kahl
October 20th, 2023

Rest in peace Vance! You were an inspiration to all of us and we will miss you!
A special thank you to Cori Horton for all that she did for Vance!

Larry Kahl (one of Vance's cousins)

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