June 15, 1950 – September 18, 2020
Rodney David Vance was born on June 15th, 1950 in Vancouver, B.C. and passed away on September 18th, 2020 in the Vernon Jubilee Hospital at the age of 70 years. He leaves behind his wife, Karen; and two daughters, Marie and Emily whom he deeply loved and was always extremely proud of. He will also be missed by his siblings, Dale, David, Patricia, Rand and Catherine.
Rod grew up in White Rock, B.C., where his family enjoyed many get-togethers on the beach. Growing up, he developed a true talent for sports – soccer, basketball, tennis, football and golf. He enjoyed and did well in school, going on to attend Simon Fraser University, where he played soccer and majored in Kinesiology. After graduation he travelled Europe solo and had a great time!
After his BSc, Rod was accepted into two different programs – teachers’ training and medical school. He decided to give teaching a try and never regretted his decision. His teaching career began with thirteen years at Mount Elizabeth Secondary School in Kitimat, B.C., where he taught both science and physical education (PE).
He also coached – usually three teams a year – volleyball, basketball and soccer. His soccer teams frequently competed at the provincial finals in the lower mainland. In 1980, Rod met and married Karen. A few years later, they began their family.
In 1988, Rod and his family took a leap of faith and moved to Vernon, B.C. Rod quickly secured a position at W.L. Seaton, where he would teach for the next nineteen years. He taught PE and was also PE Department Head and Seaton’s Athletic Coordinator.
During that time, he was active in the Okanagan Valley Athletic Association, becoming president in 1996. He continued coaching school teams, as well as soccer teams for his two daughters. He felt strongly that he should not only coach for his students, but for his family as well.
When Rod was 49 years old, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Despite an early retirement, Rod managed to coach over 100 teams during his career. He affected many lives and will be remembered fondly by countless students, colleagues, friends and family. Wherever he went, Rod developed close friendships that lasted his lifetime.
Rod liked to travel and did so whenever possible, especially when it involved golf. Month-long trips to Australia or Arizona somehow seemed to involve more golf than vacationing.
After retirement, Rod became even more active at the Vernon Golf Course and he valued the friendships and camaraderie he found there. He maintained a positive outlook on life and golfed almost every day the course was open. Perseverance was his motto. Despite living with Parkinson’s for twenty-one years, Rod’s continued physical activity helped slow the progression of the disease.
Unfortunately, a fall this past June resulted in a spinal-cord injury that he couldn’t recover from. However, up to the very end, he was planning on a future golf game “in just a couple of days from now”. His perseverance, determination and positive outlook were inspiring for all of us.
In respecting Rod’s wishes, he was cremated. The strict COVID-19 guidelines currently in place with regards to the size of public gatherings are restricting the family from having an open celebration of Rod’s life as they would have desired. However, a small private service for family and close friends will be held at Bethel Funeral Chapel on Friday, October 9th, 2020 at 10 am with Pastor David Hunter officiating.
Please note that this service is by invitation of the family only and is NOT open to the public.
Those wishing to send messages of condolence to the family may do so at firstname.lastname@example.org and the family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations in Rod’s memory be made to your favourite charity.
Funeral arrangements have been made with Bethel Funeral Chapel Ltd., 5605-27th Street, Vernon, B.C. V1T 8Z5, 250-542-1187.
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