Dr William George Vance Mitchell, 1936–2022

Dr William George Vance Mitchell

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of our father, grandfather, brother, and uncle, Dr William George Vance Mitchell. Vance passed away peacefully on Thursday, 15 September 2022, surrounded by family.

Vance forged an 85-year-long trail of laughter, compassion, generosity, and wisdom. He will be dearly missed by his brothers, Alan (Marie) and Terry (Carol); his children, Ian (Erin), John (Sonja), and Natalie (Mike); his grandchildren, Jaime, Finley, Ben, Sean, Clovelly, and Emily (Dylan); and his great-granddaughter, Mana. He also leaves behind much-loved nieces and nephews.

Vance is reunited with his wife and favorite dance and golf partner, Christabel (Chris), and his sister, Joan, who preceded him in death. They loved him dearly and will never forget his wit, charm, grace, and tomfoolery.

Vance was born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on 26 September 1936. He and his family would summer in Portstewart, and he loved to share stories of his adventures there, including roller-skating, golfing, and general shenanigans. While studying medicine at Queen’s University Belfast, Vance met Chris, a nurse in training; they married in 1963. Vance worked as a surgeon in Northern Ireland before immigrating to Canada in 1970 with three children under the age of 4. Vance spent 2 years at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton before moving to Kamloops, where he completed his career at Royal Inland Hospital. He made many lifelong friends throughout his medical career. Vance retired in 1998, soon after moving to Sun Peaks, where Vance and Chris enjoyed life on the mountain. Vance stayed in Sun Peaks after Chris passed away in 2015 and was well supported by friends from the mountain.

Vance was many things to many people. He was a gifted surgeon; a loving husband and devout family man; a quiet, peaceful man; a funny, gregarious host; an avid sportsman; an impatient man; a patient man; an introvert; and an extrovert. He had a finely honed Irish sense of humor, which he passed on to his children, and loved to tell stories. Outside of the operating room, Vance enjoyed golfing and fishing (and tying flies), but his happiest times were with his family. Vance’s family is warmed by memories of card games, family gatherings at Sun Peaks, and skiing at Tod Mountain.

Tremendous heartfelt thanks go to the compassionate and exceptional nurses and doctors at Royal Inland Hospital and Kamloops Hospice. And many thanks to his primary care aide, Rya, who provided much more than comfort to him; they shared so many laughs.
—Ian Mitchell, MD, FRCP(EM)


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Ian L. Mitchell, MD, FRCP. Dr William George Vance Mitchell, 1936–2022. BCMJ, Vol. 64, No. 10, December, 2022, Page(s) 436 - Obituaries.

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