We Remember

BIRCHALL, Mary Susan (née Squinas)

May 7, 1940 — January 6, 2024

With heavy hearts, the family announces the death of Mary Birchall on January 6, 2024, after many years challenged by complications of diabetes.  Mary passed peacefully after a last visit with her youngest grandchild, Hannah, and having enjoyed the bright and beautiful Christmas decorations during her short stay at Three Links Manor, Kelowna, BC.

Mary was predeceased by her husband of 56 years, John (d. 2020), son Robert (d. 2018), parents Thomas Squinas and Celestine Dagg-Guichon, and siblings: Harry, Annie, Illa, Susie, Jeanne, Liz, Shirley, and Lana. She is survived by sons Richard (Susan) and Ron (Bonnie); daughter-in-law Cathy Leif (Percy); cherished grandchildren Hannah, Thomas (Justin), Isaac, and Eric.  She is also survived by sister Emily, and many many nieces, nephews, and cousins of Ulkatcho First Nation, Anahim Lake.

Mary was born in Anahim Lake, BC, descendent of both Tsilhqot’in Chief One-eye and Dakelh (Southern Carrier) Chief Domas Squinas.  Mary was a curious child.  When she was too young for school, the teacher at the small school would allow Mary to play at the back of the classroom while older children were taught. This allowed Mary to figure out on her own how to read English before entering the first grade; a considerable feat, considering English was Mary’s 3rd language, a speaker of both Chilcotin and Carrier at home.

However, local schooling was not to be, and Mary was taken to residential school.  As a survivor of the unspeakable Kamloops and Williams Lake residential schools, Mary was not one to trust institutional settings or those providing anything perceived to be biased “advice”.  As an example, Mary’s deviations from medical advice, while at first frustrating for family, resulted in many instances of doctors being amazed at Mary’s exceptional recovery and her “diligence” in following said advice… Mary was an amazingly vibrant and determined woman, who was a life-long learner; always keen to meet new people and learn of their life stories.

Always stylish, it is not a surprise that while working as a nurse in Vancouver, her neighbour turned husband, John, had caught her eye with his neatly combed hair.  As a very involved mom and community member, Mary participated wherever possible, from softball coach and cubs/scout leader to Toastmasters #38 Kamloops Area Governor. She was also a “Superhost” volunteer in the 1993 Canada Summer games and a proud member of a line dancing group, performing during the opening ceremonies. All the while, she was working as the bookkeeper for the family concrete construction business.  Never afraid of hard work, Mary was known to lend a hand with the trowel if needed.

Of course, like her rancher father, horses were always a very important part of Mary’s life; both having her own horses and participating in numerous Cattle Drives or going to the many summer fairs and pow-wows of the interior and Okanagan to see horses in action. It was a very sad day when age caught up to John and Mary, and they had to move to an accessible apartment in the Okanagan, while their horses retired north to the Chilcotin.

Many in Kelowna will remember Mary as that vibrant brightly dressed senior in a wheelchair, shopping in the mall for gifts, getting a new TV, or perhaps enjoying waffles with strawberries and whipped cream for breakfast at a local restaurant.

The family thanks all of those caring individuals who helped Mary with her day, including the staff at Highlands Senior Residence where she lived for many years; the patient and caring Kelowna Cabs Accessible Taxi drivers; the Walmart volunteers who would help Mary onto a store scooter; Dr. Javed Ali for his exceptional kindness; and of course, everyone at Kelowna General Hospital Nephrology department.

All are welcome to join Mary’s family and friends in commending her into God’s care, SATURDAY, JANUARY 20, 2024, at 11:00 am, at THE CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF ST MICHAEL’S and ALL ANGELS, 608 Sutherland Avenue, Kelowna, BC. If you are unable to attend in person, please join the family online by Livestream at the time of the service (see below), a recording will be made available to view shortly thereafter.

As an extension of Mary’s giving nature, please consider a donation to Cathedral Cupboard (St Michael’s and All Angels) or the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society in lieu of flowers.

If you wish to send a condolence, post photos, or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Condolences”.



In case anyone has trouble with the video, the church’s main YouTube channel is www.youtube.com/c/TheCathedralChurchofStMichaelAllAngels

SATURDAY, JANUARY 20, 2024, at 11:00 am


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Cathedral Cupboard (St. Michaels Cathedral), or Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society Link: www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/cathedral-church-of-st-michael-all-angels/, www.kfs.bc.ca/donate/


Service Information

Service Details

The service for BIRCHALL, Mary Susan (née Squinas) is scheduled for SATURDAY, JANUARY 20, 2024, at 11:00 am. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.

Address & Contact for Service Location:


608 Sutherland Avenue Kelowna, BC


Special Requests:


Funeral Pointers:



  • Shirley Farquhar says:

    Rick, Susan, Thomas, Issac and Eric, So sorry for the loss of your mother and grandmother. She certainly had a remarkable life and has left a lasting legacy for her descendants. May warm memories and her love of family fill your heart at this difficult time. Shirley

  • Gord and Lonna Cobus says:

    We met your Mom at your Wedding and enjoyed her sense of humour and warmth. Our deepest condolences to you and your whole family for your loss.

  • Gerrit & Flora Ann Cobus says:

    Rick, Susan,Thomas, Isaac &Eric. Our deepest sympathy to you all on the loss of your much loved Mother, Mother-in- Law & Grandmother.

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