We Remember

Capozzi, Herb

April 24, 1925 — November 21, 2011

On November 21st 2011, Herb Capozzi headed towards the light.  He walked off the Grid Iron, the Court, the Soccer Pitch, across Howe and Hornby Streets and out of the legislature and board rooms, through rows of grape vines and towards God, where he joined his mother Maria, father “Cap” (Pasquale) and two brothers, Joe and Tom. One family complete again.

Known as an “Ambassador for British Columbia,” Herb made substantial contributions in sports, business, tourism and government.  He was a colourful and charismatic citizen who challenged and mastered all that he attempted with style, passion and his legendary smile.

In the 40s, Herb was Captain of the University of British Columbia’s football and basketball teams and a Rhodes Scholar candidate.  In 1947, he was offered a contract with the New York Giants.  Herb turned it down to accept a Rotary International Scholarship to study at the University of Perugia for two years, becoming fluent in Italian.  While there, he played basketball for the Italian University National Team against the Harlem Globetrotters.  Herb was always grateful for the scholarship and this led to a lifelong admiration and appreciation for Rotary Foundations and the work they do.

In 1952 he resumed his football career with the CFL, playing six years for the Calgary Stampeders and Montreal Alouettes.  From 1957-1967, Herb became General Manager for the BC Lions and became the longest-running general manager, implementing the team’s first medical plan.  He signed players like Joe Kapp and Willie Fleming.  As GM, Herb saw two Grey Cups in 1963 and 1964, the team winning in 1964.  Herb played in two Grey Cups himself and throughout his life went to 33 more Grey Cups as a spectator.  Herb left the Lions to become a Social Credit MLA and served two terms.  In 1971 Herb bought the Canucks for 3.6 million, a move that kept the team in Vancouver and out of U.S. control.  He was always cheering for the underdog, even establishing three scholarships per year during his MLA days, not for the fastest or smartest, but for the candidate with the “highest mountains to climb.”  Herb strove to achieve and was not afraid to be a pioneer.  He was part of many firsts.  He started the Vancouver Whitecaps, BC’s first professional soccer team.  He co-founded the Keg Restaurants and was instrumental in bringing McDonald’s restaurants to Canada.  He co-owned and was Vice President of Calona Wines, the Capri Hotel and Shopping Centre.  He started the first racquetball club in Vancouver called “The MARC”; he was a Canadian Singles Racquetball Doubles Master and Canadian Masters Racquetball Champion.  He started Sneaky Pete’s, a highly successful disco in its day.  He gave millions and millions to charities through Dabbers – Kelowna’s first professional bingo parlour.  He served as a director of Food, Entertainment and Housing in the highly successful Expo 86.  He received the Order of British Columbia in 2008.  He was a gifted public and motivational speaker, speaking at colleges and prisons, foundations and roasts.  Until his death Herb had many encounters with people who would tell him that his speech had changed their lives, motivated them to move on or do the impossible.

Herb was also successful in his relationships, wooing his beautiful wife Alixandra (nee Ydo) to marry him and for the next 20 years she was always by his side, he by hers, right until the very end.  Alix was Herb’s muse, his spirit lifter, his confidante, his greatest love and his greatest supporter.  Alix and Herb lived the purest example of what love could and should be.  He was a great father to four children, Paula Humphries (Les), Greg Capozzi (Brenda), Sandy Capozzi and Sheena Capozzi-Nicolaou (Loullis), proud grandfather of nine, Ciara, Christi, Katie, Julie, Heather, Spencer, Sebastian, Anthony and Siena and loving godfather to Tatiana Alixandra Rose.

Herb has been inducted into the UBC Sports Hall of Fame, Vancouver College Hall of Fame, Italian Cultural Hall of Fame, BC Sports Hall of Fame, and the Canadian Soccer Hall of Fame.  As President and patriarch of the family-owned business, Pasadena Investments, Inc., Herb oversaw the successful land and development company until the day he passed.

A special thanks to Dr. Mike Koss who helped Herb and Alix with such caring compassion and sincerity.  We are all very happy for Herb as he used his earthly vessel to its absolute maximum until it could be used no more.  Herb has now turned it in for a new model.

A service will be held on Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm at St. Charles Garnier Catholic Church, 3645 Benvoulin Road, Kelowna, BC.  We ask that in lieu of flowers and cards you make a donation to the Central Okanagan Foundation – Herb Capozzi Memorial Fund, 217-1889 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 5V5; phone: 250.861.6160 or online at www.centralokanaganfoundation.org .

Herb was born April 24th 1925.  As per his request his epitaph will read: “The rumours of my death are highly exaggerated.”

Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm

St. Charles Garnier Catholic Church

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Central Okanagan Foundation – Herb Capozzi Memorial Fund, 217-1889 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC, V1Y 5V5; phone: 250.861.6160 Link: www.centralokanaganfoundation.org


Service Information

Service Details

The service for Capozzi, Herb is scheduled for Saturday, December 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.

Address & Contact for Service Location:

St. Charles Garnier Catholic Church

3645 Benvoulin Road Kelowna, BC


Special Requests:


Funeral Pointers:



  • Rob Stearns says:

    I’ve worked at Capri Hotel for the past 31 years…I’d talk to Herb whenever I’d see him. Herb had the most wonderful sense of humor and was always very kind to me….I will truly miss him.
    My Sincere condolences to your family

    Rob Stearns (Capri Carpenter)

  • b gail plecash says:

    Dearest Alix, Greg, Paula,Sandy,and Sheena,

    What a wonderful obit about your father… to read of his colourful, very full life.I will never forget the visit Lauren and I had a few years ago before we left for Italy. Herb gave us some useful Italian expressions to use while we were travelling. In his hilarious, protective manner, he wanted to make sure we told the Italian gentlemen who were bothering us that we had dangerous powerful boyfriends!
    He was lucky to have your strength to carry him through the most challenging of times, and Tom has waited a long time for him, so we can celebrate!
    Love, Gail,Lauren, and Krista

  • Ernie Iannacone says:

    How sad to hear that a great and very successful man has fallen but very happy to know that he is now reunited with his parents and brothers. What fun they must be currently enjoying.

    My relationship with Herb goes back to VCC and UBC days when I met all three brothers. Herb and my paths crossed many times over the intervening years. He was always obliging, particularly when asked to speak at various functions, which he enjoyed as much as his audience.

    My condolences are extended to the entire family but particularly to Paula, a former student of mine. I often think fondly of that very nice lunch that Herb, Paula and I shared together at BCIT.

    Previous days have gone but their memories remain.

  • George Athans Jr. says:

    Few will equal the legacy of Herb Capozzi. A life filled with high achievement in sports, business, charity and public speaking. He left a positive and lasting impact on all who where lucky enough to know him. Herb along with brothers Tom and Joe helped put Kelowna on the map and they did it with style and a good measure of fun. So lets raise a toast to the Capozzi boys knowing the amazing Okanagan wines you drink today all started with them. Rest in peace Herb, you have made our city and Province proud.

  • Ron Borsholm says:

    I met Herb at a young age when I delivered newspapers to his dad “Cap” on Abbot Street. He was and always will be one of my greatest role models.

  • Max & Chris DeHart says:

    Greg, we were very sad to hear about the passing of your father. Chris and I are out of town and will not be able to attend the service but our thoughts are with the entire family.
    Maxine and Chris DeHart

  • Betty and Irv Nitkin says:

    Dear Alix:
    Our deepest condolences on Herb’s passing. He was a wonderful next-door neighbour and a warm and cheerful presence at all times. And, as a constant remembrance, the beautiful palm tree that you and Herb gave us when you moved away is still thriving.

    Betty and Irv Nitkin.

  • Pete & Karen Tennant says:

    Our sincere condolences to you and your family Paula.

    Peter & Karen Tennant

  • sheree liversidge says:

    To the entire Capozzi family,we send our condolences to you.We have very fond memories of Herb from the late 60’s and early 70’s.The fireworks every halloween on Glenmaroon when we were on the same street.Greg and Paula you might just remember Jackie and me,but your father sure had a lasting memory to us as kids what a great dad he was to all of you.

    All the best
    love Sheree,Jackie and Gloria

  • Jane Maloff says:

    Alix;my deepest condolences to you. Herb was an amazing man and I am very happy to have met you both, I will never forget you and Herb you both have touched my life in more ways then words will ever be able to say. Thank-you for coming into my life and sharing his love with me.
    Take care, I will never forget you both.
    Love Jane (NND)

  • Lesley Punter says:

    Herb you where always there for me and I thank you, you where a great friend of mine .Will miss you so much.

  • Derek, Nicole,Harry, says:

    Alix, We all loved him dearly. He will be greatly missed.”Tomorrow”, I say! I will call on Jim-just to show I’m thinking of him- But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes- and distance between us grows and grows-Around the corner,yet miles away. “Here’s a telegram sir, “Jim died today” and that’s what we get and deserve in the end- Around the corner, a vanished friend. May God wrap his loving arms around you during this time. Luv U. Derek, Nicole, Harry, & Donna.

  • Anne Lerro Seminara says:

    Dear Alix and the Capozzi family: Herb and I are first cousins. My mother Sarah and Herb’s father Pat were brother and sister. I was so saddened to hear that Herb has passed away. Herb stayed with me in New York on his way to Italy many years ago. I was so proud, and not surprised to read of his accomplishments. Aunt Mary and Uncle Pat visited us in New York also. I am sorry that so many miles seperated us over the years. My sister Catherine and Florence are still living and I now live in New Jersey near my grandchildren. My thoughts and prayers are with you in this time of grief.
    Love, Anne

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