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Vern Burnell got his wings on December 16, 2018. While it's hard to say goodbye, we hope he is laughing and dancing again with his wife Verna.

He was larger than life and will be missed by so many. He owned who he was always. He had a powerful presence and not everyone saw eye to eye with him but you’d be hard pressed to find someone he knew who didn’t respect him. Those who loved him; and there are many; loved him deeply. He taught and shared and inspired and will be missed deeply.

Vern's life took him from a farm in Unity, Saskatchewan, to Ponto Road in Rutland at the age of 9. In 1962 he married Vernalynn Mae Porter, the love of his life; and their life together took them to Prince George, then Surrey and then back to Rutland where they raised their two children; Shauna and Brad. Together Vern and Verna started Burnell's Turf Irrigation in 1969 and then Van-Kel Distributors in 1978; struggling and risking so much together and helping and inspiring countless others along the way. So many friends and family worked for and with them over the years and there are hundreds of stories of working on irrigation crews with Vern, running into him while he traveled the province, and the parties and laughter he loved so much, with Mom at his side. He was “Vern from Canada” and loved to tell people that Mom got the “a” in her name for being smart. He was quick with comebacks and hugs and he appreciated everything he had. He instilled in us that "every day's good, just some are better". He was positivity personified and we will miss him so much.

So for all of us now missing him - raise a glass, tell a good story, and laugh and love deeply.

Condolence Messages
  • Jan 02, 2019
    Shauna and Brad,
    So sorry to hear about Vern. He lived life large, with a great heart and willingness to share. Know that he lives on thru you. His laughter and sense of right can be seen in both of you. May you live on happy memories of both Vern and Verna.
    Karen Hounsome
  • Jan 02, 2019
    So saddened to hear this news. As an 20 year old kid out of college to where I am today, Vern always had time to come over and say hi. He was an amazing man who I will always admire and respect. My condolences go out to Brad, Shauna and the rest of the Burnell family.
    Kendall Davies (Oakcreek Golf and Turf)
  • Dec 31, 2018
    Dear Verna, Shauna, Brad & Family,
    Vern was a very nice man and had a great sense of humor. I enjoyed working for you at Van Kel in the summer over 10 years ago. I am so glad I met Vern and all your family - such a lovely, kind group of people. I am truly sorry your loss.
    Diane Scott
  • Dec 28, 2018
    Our deepest sympathy to the Burnell Family. Vern and Verna and their family members have been great community builders in the Ellison District for so many years. Their irrigation firm supplied most of our needs in our orchard developments over the years. Always a friendly greeting and a great place to do business. Really great people! They will be missed. Sincerely Kay and Gerald Geen
  • Dec 28, 2018
    So sorry and deepest condolences. RIP Mr B.
    Leonardi family
  • Dec 28, 2018
    While we did not have the pleasure of knowing Vern & Verna for very many years, we soon learned with a fantastic couple they were when our daughter married into the Burnell clan. Such a great loving family and Vern with his sense of humor and fun...never a dull moment. Have heard of and witnessed some of his many kindnesses, especially one involving a group of KSS school boy curlers in Keremeos, many years ago. Vern's passing is a real loss to humanity.
    So now only 20 months later, he and Verna are together dancing away, but this time to heavenly music...and heaven will never be the same...such fun !!
    Lovingly, Carol Sprecher & George Bradley
  • Dec 27, 2018
    A tower of a man. And not just in stature. He lit up every room he entered. He will be greatly missed by those he called friends. And I have never met a man with more friends. Terry Ormrod
  • Dec 27, 2018
    Brad, Shauna and families. I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. I can still hear him talking and laughing on the other side of our fence :) He was a wonderful neighbour, always looking out for us. I am thinking of all of you and sending you my sincerest condolences.
    -Nicole de Bosch Kemper (Ackerman)
  • Dec 27, 2018
    Shauna, Brad and families, we are so sad to hear about the passing of your kind caring and funny dad Vern! Remembering great memories of time spent with your family! From - Rod & Laurie Barton
  • Dec 27, 2018
    To Shauna and Brad,
    Sorry to hear of your loss. He was a pleasure to know and always fun to talk to.
    Your old neighbours,
    Ev and Gord Barber
  • Dec 25, 2018
    Very sorry to hear of Vern's passing. I remember a Star baseball player on our Senior Baseball team in Prince George way back about 1961 or so. When I moved to Kelowna in 1968 I was happy to see Vern again and we both started business about the same time. Vern played 2nd base or SS and I was the Catcher so we got to know each other very well way back then. Rest in peace, you have earned it,
    Jay (John) Hunter- Kelowna
  • Dec 24, 2018
    Shauna and Brad, we are so sorry to hear this news. Cherish your memories. Sending our condolences to you and your families.
    Ron and Denise Yamabe
  • Dec 23, 2018
    So sorry for your loss, we knew and loved both Verna and Vern from grade one to high school and forever. Our hugs to you too Mona. Bryan and Jean Major.
  • Dec 23, 2018
    Brad, Shauna and families. So sorry to hear about Vern - he will be missed. Vern and Verna are now together sharing their love for each other. Love to you all and my thoughts are with you.
    Joyce Schaefer
  • Dec 23, 2018
    My condolences to family and friends. I had the pleasure of living next door to Vern and Verna on West Ave. They truly were the absolute nicest people to call my friends. Their love for one another their children and grandchildren was so obvious in everything they said and did. Vern was an amazing man with many stories to share. He will be missed by many but has left memories for all to remember and admire him. Rest In Peace Vern.
    Pam Lornson
  • Dec 23, 2018
    Brad and Shauna I'm sorry for your loss. Your dad was so kind and generous and will be missed by everyone that was lucky enough to have met him.
    Barry Evans
  • Dec 23, 2018
    To Brad, Shawna and your families, our deepest condolences. Vern was a very kind and sweet man! Verna would be so excited to see Vern enter into heaven!
    Harvey and Marion Beselt
    P.S. Brad, it was so good to visit with you at the airport.
  • Dec 23, 2018
    Sorry for your loss I have so great memories of our time together.
    Gary Pederson
  • Dec 23, 2018
    We are so sorry Brad and Shawna, we also have many memories of your dad, best neighbors for many years. Bill and Sheila
  • Dec 23, 2018
    Our deepest condolences to Shauna and Brad and families. We used to buy sprinkler parts from Vern not knowing he was a cousin. He will be missed.
    Ardeth and Rick Galitzine
  • Dec 23, 2018
    Our sincere sympathy to the Burnell family. Vern was such a special part of the Ellison Community and the business world. We enjoyed the many memories working with Vern & Verna on the Ellison Events and personally over the years. Vern will be missed by all who knew him.
    John & Brenda Dawson
  • Dec 23, 2018
    I went to school with both Verna and Vern. Truly wonderful people, together forever now. Condolences to the families. Elsie St Amand
  • Dec 23, 2018
    So sorry to hear this news. Your Dad was a real institution in Rutland and will be missed by all.
    Steve Boutang
  • Dec 22, 2018
    I am so sorry to hear of Vern's passing. We are thinking of all of the family at this sad time.
    Don & Carol (Hamm) Gavin
  • Dec 22, 2018
    Remember Vern from the Yacht Club and Mickey's Pub - nice man to chat to. Full of personality and I am sure will be missed by many. Condolences to the family.
    Trudy Hurst
  • Dec 22, 2018
    My deepest condolences. Vern was a wonderful person, a Rutland Rover legend, and a strong supporter of all things connected to his community. He will be missed and remembered fondly.
    Denis Showler
  • Dec 22, 2018
    So sorry for your loss! Knew them both and they were wonderful happy people who lit up a room,
    Norene Loseth
  • Dec 22, 2018
    We're so sorry to hear of Vern's passing. Our condolences to you, Shauna, Brad and your families.
    Gord and Sue Wolfe
  • Dec 22, 2018
    Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Domenic and Lina Rampone
  • Dec 22, 2018
    Shauna and Brad my thoughts are with you. I think of Uncle Vern and always smile. He was an amazing man and welcomed us to the family from the first minute we met him. RIP Uncle! Nicole Welder-Eastman.
  • Dec 22, 2018
    One of the best guys I ever met. Always had a smile on his face. To the Burnell our condolences. Rod Armour
  • Dec 22, 2018
    Shauna & Brad, what a beautiful tribute to your Dad. Our thoughts and hearts are with you all, especially over the holiday season. As you look up into the night sky, know that he will be looking down with a smile on his face, a twinkle in his eye and peace in his heart. Together again, Vern & Verna... Their love will continue to shine down upon you all from the heavens above.
    Love & Hugs,
    Glennys Jurome, Grant & Gregg Delcourt
  • Dec 22, 2018
    Shawna, Brad, Uncle Brian & Aunt Beth & families - what a wonderful Uncle he was. Living so far away from this part of the family, we didn't know Uncle Verna well - but what we do remember of him - wow. The skits and quick humor are wonderful memories and he reminds me so much of his brother Ken - certainly another angel in the sky, watching over you all. If we can believe in the afterlife - he'll be with all those other loved ones gone before him - condolences to you all and hugs sent from Sauble Beach, Ontario - Jo-Ann and LLoyd
  • Dec 21, 2018
    One of the nicest man I have met, I know that Verna will welcome him and hold hi s hand forever. my condolences to his entire family. Anne Grainger.
  • Dec 21, 2018
    Shauna and family I am so sorry to see the news but I know that your mom would be waiting for him with open arms. The passing of a loved one is never easy and hopefully you know that your friends are sending you loving and comforting thoughts.
    Faye Sheldon
  • Dec 21, 2018
    It is a sad time for all. Vern was a wonderful man and a very successful
    businessman. He will be missed by his family and many friends.
    Graham Bell
  • Dec 21, 2018
    My deepest condolences to Shauna and Brad and the entire Burnell family. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Vern you were an awesome person and family man. RIP Mr. B.
    Darren McClelland
  • Dec 21, 2018
    I called him Uncle Vern, I called him Dad, But most of all I called him friend. He was such a mentor for us" young guys" in the turf business. Love you buddy. Co ndolences to Brad and Shauna and all the family
    Bob and Linda Brown
  • Dec 21, 2018
    My condolences to the family and my respect to Vern. I did business with Vern late 70's early 80's. He was a tough negotiator but a man of his word. When we did business there were handshakes no contracts.
    Ken warren
  • Dec 21, 2018
    Vern and Verna were two of the nicest most genuine honest people that we have ever known.
    We enjoyed doing business with them and even more so spending time with them away from work
    Be dearly missed.
    Chuck and Bernice Robertson
  • Dec 21, 2018
    Vern was a classy guy with a heart of gold. Our condolences.
    Don & Lynda Grant
  • Dec 21, 2018
    So sorry to hear of your father's passing. My condolences. Fred van den Eerenbeemt Pei Canada
  • Dec 21, 2018
    We Radu's LOVED our Uncle Vern! From the early days when he lived with us in Calgary he became family. We pray for our Kelowna family during this difficult time and we are happy Vern and Verna are together again.
    Hugs, Clay Radu & Family
  • Dec 21, 2018
    Deepest sympathy to Vern's family. I met him at the Apple Valley program. He was a special man.
    Marie Jeanne Mclellan
  • Dec 21, 2018
    So sorry to hear this news.
    It is clear to see that he was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather and will be missed beyond measure.
    My condolences to the family.
    Sincerely, Carol Romanchuk (Hoffman)
  • Dec 21, 2018
    Condolences to the family, you will have a lot of fun filled memories to cherish, Vern is now in the arms of his wife Verna, may they both rest in peace, and keep the heavens rocking.
    Marlene Kish