Even if she didn’t have the confidence inside her, Henry Sundquist saw it in Rose Breitkreutz.
The retired behavioural consultant was remembering her longtime co-worker at Armstrong’s Kindale Developmental Association. Sundquist, former executive director who spent 28 years with Kindale, died suddenly while camping on Nov. 7 at the age of 76.
“Early in my career, I was kind of backed into a corner and faced with something very tough. Henry didn’t say, ‘This is tough. Can you do this? He said, ‘This is tough. You can do this,’” said Breitkreutz. “His confidence in you was greater than what you saw in yourself. And I kept that throughout my career.”
Under Sundquist’s guidance and leadership, staff and Kindale, including Breitkreutz, made sure Kindale’s clients’ quality of life far surpassed anything they could have imagined.
“He was not a micro-manager, he was very hands-off unless we needed an extra resource,” she said.
Born in Eckville, Alta., on Feb. 8, 1945, Sundquist moved to Coquitlam with his family at age two. It was his dad, Weikko, who fostered in Sundquist a love of the outdoors. He obtained a skiing scholarship to Washington State University and pursued a degree in sociology.
In between and during his time at university, Sundquist was employed as a commercial fisherman which took him up and down the Americas, from Chile to Alaska.
Sundquist, his wife, Maria, and daughter, Stephanie, moved to Vernon in 1979. Sundquist’s son, Eric, was born in 1988.
A recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, Sundquist devoted his life to pursuing equal treatment of all people, especially those with disabilities.
Kindale was Henry’s second family, advocating for an inclusive community and kindness to all.
Sue Phillips was Kindale’s longtime president of the board of directors. She retired from the position in July 2021 after nearly 14 years with the board. It was Sundquist who enticed her to join the organization.
“Henry was always positive about everything, but he made sure the clients were well served, first and foremost,” said Phillips. “Henry knew how to jump hurdles in orders to get things accomplished. We did what we could for him.”
Sundquist, who was Kindale’s executive director until 2012, is survived by his wife of 49 years, his children and grandchildren.
A celebration of life with an open invitation to all that would like to attend will be held on April 16, 2022, at Paddlewheel Hall in Vernon from 2 p.m.-4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that a donation be made to his lifelong passions of either the Kindale Developmental Association or Wildlife Conservation Society Canada.
If you wish to attend a livestream of the funeral service on Friday, Nov. 19, 2021 you can find the link here.