The profound and lasting impact Dr. Barry Urness had on his community, his friends and family during his lifetime was celebrated on Wednesday afternoon at Kelowna’s Trinity Baptist Church.
More than 800 people attended one of the largest memorial services held at the local church to honour the memory of Urness, who passed away June 21 in Kelowna.
He was 69.
In delivering the eulogy, Barry’s nephew, Marc Urness, spoke of his uncle’s strength and spirit, his kindness and love for his family.
“What I’ll remember is Barry’s tenacity, his endless enthusiasm, his belief in kindness as it pertained to other people,” said Marc Urness. “Barry’s impact on his province and community is evidenced in many awards and accomplishments, but most importantly, his legacy lives in the family he loved so much, and the way he conducted and lived his life.”
A founder of the Okanagan Sun junior football team, Urness was a tireless builder and volunteer in the community for more than three decades in Kelowna.
Called a “visionary” by many who worked with him closely, Urness served as president of the Kelowna Amatuer Sports Society for 10 years, and also worked on the Kelowna Civic Awards Committee for 25 years.
In 2008, he founded the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame Museum.
Last month, Urness was named as a COSHF inductee.
Outside of the realm of sports, Urness was involved in many civic and community endeavors, including serving as provincial director of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, and sitting as the honourary chairman for the first two phases of the Mission Creek Greenway project.
He was named winner of the City of Kelowna’s 2011 Anita Tozer Award for making a positive contribution to the quality of life in Kelowna.
Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray, who was quoted in the eulogy by Marc Urness, summed up Dr. Urness’s contributions to the community this way:
“The DNA of Barry Urness is all over this great city of Kelowna,” Gray said. “The inspiration, energy and spirit he instilled in others will be his legacy.”
A chiropractor Kelowna for more than 40 years, Dr. Urness was also recognized by the Government of Canada with a Commemorative Medallion in honour of the 125th anniversary of Confederation.
Barry Urness is survived by his wife Betty, sons David and Dean, and five grandchildren.