So long, Gerry O

More than 400 family and friends gathered Saturday to celebrate well known Vernon businessman Gerry Obrecht, or Gerry O, as he was widely known.

A gregarious man with an infectious smile and a big laugh, Obrecht made friends easily, stayed friends forever, cherished his family and loved a good party. 

He was perhaps best known for his former ownership of the Kal Hotel and Gerry O's Liquor Store, along with his sponsorship of many local sports teams.

An avid golfer and former club captain at the Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club, Obrecht's personalized golf cart and other sports-related items from his life were on display at the Vernon Lodge during the celebration of life.

“After his family, he loved playing sports, sponsoring sports and watching sports,” said longtime Friend Sherman Dahl.

Obrecht loved to combine his love of travel with sports. He attended many major league sports events including NFL Super Bowls. In 2013, along with his son Phil Bouchard, he competed in the Global Scavenger Hunt, knocking off the three-time defending champions from New Zealand. The prize was to go on the same 23-day around the world trip again in 2014.

Obrecht was born in Vancouver and grew up in Brandon, Man., later moving to Kelowna, where he attended Okanagan College to study business.

He went on to become a successful businessman in the hospitality industry, owning the Kal Hotel from 1983 to 2007.

“He always had time for you and an encouraging word,” said longtime pal Jeff Parker, who met Obrecht when he was running the rival Coldstream Hotel in the early 1990s.

Obrecht also served for a time as president of the BC and Yukon Hotel and Restaurant Association, where he worked hard with government to advance the industry across the province.

“Surround yourself with people who lift you up – he certainly was all of that,” added Dahl.

Obrecht died at Vernon Hospice House on May 5 after a short battle with cancer. He was 63. A slide show narrated by his wife Pam ended with Elvis’s version of Sinatra’s “My Way.”

Anyone wishing to share a memory can do so at https://rememberinggerryo.com/

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