February 28, 1949 – February 11, 2017
After an unflinching battle with pancreatic cancer, Vern laid down his gloves for the final time but left the ring with his hands held high. He passed away with incredible peace on the morning of February 11, 2017, at the age of 67, surrounded by his family and close friends. Vern’s generosity, gregarious spirit and “light up the room” smile fostered friendships that span decades and continents. His kindness and easy charm created a large circle of incredibly devoted friends and colleagues, while his eternal optimism inspired anyone lucky enough to meet him.
Vern was a proud and dedicated Rotarian who firmly embodied the motto of “service above self”. He was an entrepreneur, investor and director of many not-for-profit organizations and won numerous awards for his community involvement including Kelowna’s Man of The Year 2010.
But above all, Vern was a family man. He adored spending time with his wife, Willy Burgess, his mother, Hilda Nielsen, his sisters, Diane Munday (Dik), Dolly Beaudry (Wilf), Shirley Keays and Berdine Fediw (Don), his children, Rowan Nielsen (Karin), Greg Nielsen (Lisa), Jennifer Nielsen, and his 2 granddaughters, Isla and Lachlan. He leaves behind many magnificent memories of time spent on the lake, on the course, on the slopes and on the motorbikes. In lieu of flowers, the family asks for donations to Vern’s favourite charity, the Rotary International Foundation where the Vern Nielsen In Memoriam Fund has been created in his honour. To donate visit: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/the-rotary-club-of-kelownafoundation/
A Celebration of Life will be held at the end of April to coincide with the Kelowna Rotary
Convention he wanted so badly to attend as District Governor. Details will be distributed as plans are confirmed. The family wishes to thank everyone who shared this adventure called LIFE with him and look forward to sharing stories at Vern’s Celebration. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.springfieldfuneralhome.com, 250-860-7077.