We Remember

MACDONNELL, LaVerne Agustus

July 12, 1940 — December 19, 2013

LaVerne Macdonnell
Celebration of Life

Please come help us celebrate the life of LaVerne Macdonnell
2:00 p.m., Sunday, March 9,
50 Plus Activity Centre
5672 Beach Avenue, Peachland, BC

We are planning an afternoon of wonderful music, warm memories and good food.

LaVerne created music with so many students and adults across the province, and we are hoping that many of you will be able to come help us make this a memorable afternoon.

An RSVP would be appreciated.

LaVerne, born in Kelowna on July 12, 1940, and resident of Peachland, passed away unexpectedly and peacefully in his sleep on December 19, 2013. He is survived by his loving wife of 48 years, Rita (nee Sawatsky);daughter Leanne Macdonnell, her husband David Endacott and daughters Shael and Tala, of California; daughter Juli Macdonnell of Salt Spring Island, BC; brother Bryan and his wife Lorraine and sister-in-law Fran, all of Kelowna. Sadly, he was predeceased by his brother Jim on November 10, 2013, and his parents George and Laura.


LaVerne had a deep appreciation for music, rural community, and being on the water and in the wilderness of BC. These things were extremely important to him and an ongoing source of joy. LaVerne and Rita lived in Prince Rupert, Pavilion, Bella Coola (where they raised their children), and then Creston, until they moved to Peachland to be nearer his father, George. In each of these communities, LaVerne sailed, hiked and participated in the musical culture.


LaVerne created and taught within School District Band Programs, organized concert series, jammed with friends, and sang in choirs. As a teenager he decided to play the trumpet. When his family couldn’t afford to buy one, he raised chickens – killing and plucking them himself. Once he had his trumpet, he refused to own another chicken.


LaVerne also had a wonderful capacity to share his joy in music with others. His enthusiasm and commitment to developing music in youth defined his life. In Bella Coola, he invited a few students over for an after-school kitchen-table jazz band (with family participation). From this, a hugely successful district-wide band program grew. Through his commitment, youth toured BC, participating and placing high in competitions in much larger school districts. Many of the youth had rarely been outside of Bella Coola and experienced the adventure of travelling from a tiny, isolated village, over the daunting Chilcotin Highway, to places like Williams Lake, Prince George, Vancouver, and even Winnipeg. As one of his former students posted, “I can’t imagine what our lives would have been like growing up in Bella Coola without him. The energy he put into us ‘kids’ and our music was such a blessing.” In his last position in Creston before retirement, LaVerne taught band in 5 elementary schools.


LaVerne loved being on the water, lake or ocean. He sailed up and down the West Coast and on BC’s largest lakes. Some of Juli’s and Leanne’s most treasured memories are of the sailing adventures, both fun and frightening, instigated by their Dad. LaVerne’s love of water and aversion to debt, led him to become a commercial fisherman soon after moving to Bella Coola, fishing for most of each summer. On retiring, he took up commercial fishing again for a few years, then bought a sailboat and enjoyed taking family and friends out on Kootenay and Okanagan Lakes.


LaVerne loved to be outdoors – hiking, camping, and enjoying the natural beauty and animal life of all his home communities. He even appreciated the deer that visited his yard, sometimes to the detriment of his garden.


LaVerne continued singing right up to his final days. In Peachland, he sang with Musaic and the Variety Singers. He sang his last Christmas concert shortly before his death and, of course, he knew his music inside-out. How very happy he looked, doing what he loved best.


Husband, father, grandfather, fisher, sailor, explorer, musician, teacher – all of us who loved him will miss him deeply.


In lieu of flowers, donations in LaVerne’s memory may be made to Peachland Wellness Center, 4426 – 5th Street, Peachland, BC, V0H 1X6.


For those wishing to send a condolence, photos or share memories, may do so by scrolling down this page to the area called “Share Your Condolences”.





2:00 p.m., Sunday, March 9, 2014

50 Plus Activity Centre

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In lieu of flowers, donations in LaVerne’s memory may be made to Peachland Wellness Center, 4426 - 5th Street, Peachland, BC, V0H 1X6.


Service Information

Service Details

The service for MACDONNELL, LaVerne Agustus is scheduled for 2:00 p.m., Sunday, March 9, 2014. Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.

Address & Contact for Service Location:

50 Plus Activity Centre

5672 Beach Avenue, Peachland, BC


Special Requests:


Funeral Pointers:



  • kristy Norton says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss. He will be greatly missed by all.

  • Gail Cowie says:

    I am so very sorry to hear of your husband’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

  • Marilyn Guidi (Brinton) says:

    How saddened to hear of Laverne’s sudden passing but what a peaceful way to leave! I have many fond memories of us cousins playing games at Grannie Macs! Cherish your memories, Rita, and I am quite sure that somewhere he and Jim are leading a group in music!

  • Jim Simms says:

    Many, many fond memories of Laverne. We may have lost him but the fond memories will last foreever.

  • Judy Wyper says:

    My condolences to the whole family. Reading about LaVerne’s life, I see he touched many lives, and was a blessing to a vast number. I hope that fond memories of him can help ease the pain and sadness of his sudden passing. Judy Wyper

  • Jo-Ann and John Ackery says:

    Dear Rita and family How very sad I was to hear of LaVerne’s unexpected passing. I have many happy memories from our childhood of time spent with him.He always saw the funny side of situations and maintained a calm gentle manner. Even in his most recent illness he maintained his sense of humour and adjusted to his difficulties with unfailing cheer. What wonderful memories you will have to share with each other. My love to you all
    Jo-Ann ( Duncan) and John Ackery

  • Dario Raymond says:

    One of my fondest memories of LaVerne was in Stage Band when he told members of how they’d come a long way since the beginning of the year. He then would say ‘a lot of you if you were trying to play this piece at the beginning of the year would have tears in your eyes’. Indeed, the band had come a long way thanks to LaVerne

  • Pennie Powell nee Piddocke says:

    So very sorry to hear of LaVerne’s passing,it was wonderful to see him at Jim’s funeral. Our families ( MacDonnell’s Clement’s & Piddocke’s spent a lot of time together as kids. Wonderful memories.

  • Jim Calvert says:

    I remember when Laverne used to drag me out of bed at 5 in the morning to go fishing in the Skeena River. Laverne was a true voyageur and we always returned to prince Rupert with a truck load of fish.

  • Linda Thomson ( Cross ) says:

    Blessings to you and yours Rita.
    Another great cousin has left us but
    we are all so fortunate to have been left
    with so many good memories.
    Take care to all.

  • Anita Stushnoff says:

    Marilyn Ronmark shared with me the news that Laverne had passed away. I’m so sorry for your loss, though I’m sure your grief has already been through a long process. I have such a memory of how vital and full of life he was at La Musica and whenever we connected in music events. It is a wonderful thing to remember all the years you shared together, and I pray you may find comfort in your memories in the time to come.

  • Christel Davidsen says:

    On behalf of the Peachland Community Arts Council we would like to let you know how very sorry we are for your loss and to let you know that we are available for you if you ever need anything. May you find peace and comfort in the days ahead.

  • Elaine Breeden says:

    I was sorry to read of LaVerne’s death, Rita, in the Creston Valley Advance. My thoughts & sympathies are with you and your family at this sad time.

    Elaine Breeden
    Retired PCSS Teacher

  • Lyn and Mel Gardner says:

    Our thoughts are with the families at this sad time. Laverne certainly has left a legacy of music with the many students of Creston Valley that he so ably mentored. Such a gentleman!

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