We Remember

VECCHIO, Vanessa Lia

We are absolutely devastated to announce that our beautiful, loving butterfly, Vanessa Lia Vecchio (also known as ‘La Calabrisella’), was tragically taken away from us the morning of January 29th from a motor vehicle accident while heading up to Big White. She was a fearless 30 year old enjoying and challenging every day God gave her with her infectious laugh, crazy sense of humour and never-ending smile. She was born November 5th, 1985 in Kelowna, a proud Rutland Voodoo, and flaunted her dual Italian-Canadian citizenship. She graduated from Rutland Senior Secondary and attended Okanagan College where she obtained her CEA (Certified Educational Assistant) and Northern College for her ECE (Early Childhood Education) certificates. She so loved her little students! Vanessa was full of life, laughter, love and forgiveness. She lived every day to its fullest, travelling the world with her family to Italy, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Turkey, Mexico, Cuba, Disneyland, Disneyworld; later travelling with friends for return visits to New York, Los Angeles, Mexico, Italy, and Costa Rica. She also enjoyed scaring her mother with her cliff-jumping, white water rafting, and zip-lining, not to mention the trip she had planned to Thailand and Australia in two weeks.


Vanessa is survived by her grieving mother Joey Anne Vecchio; father Bruce Langham; step-father Bill Stewart; siblings, Leticia (Shawn Klassen) and nephew Nico, Marlisa, Michele, Serena; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins. We are at ease knowing she was welcomed in Heaven by her beloved Nana and Papa Vecchio, her Vecchio and Russo great-grandparents, her aunt Cynthia Russo-Kenney, Aunt Elsie and Uncle Val Rampone, Uncle Louie Russo, Uncle Perry Pucci, Uncle Tom Beckstead, cousin Shannon Beckstead , and friends Jessica Mayes and Steve Candida. We know, as much as she didn’t want to leave us, she is happy to be reunited with these special people.


Her Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, Feb. 6th at the Mission Creek Alliance Church in Kelowna. The public is welcome to come early to see Vanessa and say their goodbyes to her between 10:00 -11:00 am. Please feel free to write your favourite story about Vanessa on her butterfly tree. The service will begin at 11:00 am and there will be an opportunity to share your story about Vanessa during this time. Everyone is invited to join the family for a luncheon reception immediately following the service at Mission Creek Alliance Church. After the luncheon we will bring Vanessa to Lakeview Memorial where she will be put in a Mausoleum next to her Nana and Papa.

In lieu of flowers, donations would be greatly appreciated for “The Vanessa Vecchio Award” c/o COBSS, 316 – 3001 Tutt Street, Kelowna, BC V1Y 2H4.  If you wish to send a condolence, post photos or share a memory, please scroll down the page to the area called “Share Your Condolences.”


Saturday, February 6, 2016 at 11:00 am

Mission Creek Alliance Church

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“The Vanessa Vecchio Award” c/o COBSS, 316 – 3001 Tutt Street, Kelowna, BC V1Y 2H4.


Service Information

Service Details

The service for VECCHIO, Vanessa Lia is scheduled for Saturday, February 6, 2016 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:

Mission Creek Alliance Church

2091 Springfield Road Kelowna, BC


Special Requests:


Funeral Pointers:



  • Patti DiMaria says:

    Dear Joey & family
    Our heartfelt condolences to your family on the loss of your Beautiful Vanessa. She was one of the kindest,most congenial young ladies we know. May God give you the comfort & peace that you seek & may the soul of Vanessa rest in peace.
    God Bless
    Patti, Sam,Jenna,Samantha & Ross xoxox

  • Carol Stefanyshyn says:

    I was shocked and saddened to hear about Vanessa……I am so very sorry for your loss…..thinking of you and your family during this difficult time…

    Carol (Michael Stefanyshyn’s mom)

  • The Compas family says:

    We are very sorry to hear about your loss……we wish you strength in this difficult time. We only met Vanessa a couple of times, we remember her full of life and enjoying it. Our thoughts are with you. Arno, Gerda, Maryn and Miko Compas

  • Rhayne & Brent Arrance says:

    Our deepest condolences to your family—heaven gained a beautiful angel on Friday. Every great memory Brent and I have from the last five years involved Vanessa, from camping at Cooke Creek, floating down Enderby, Cliff Jumping, Vancouver Fright Night, Christmas Parties, Halloween, Birthdays and weekend BBQ’s. Out fondest memory was having her attend our wedding and getting to dance with her till three in the morning. Thanks to Vanessa and her camera, we have many pictures to look back and remember them all. She was fearless in every adventure she encountered and there was no feat that the boys could try, no matter the risk, that she wasn’t game to try with them. She was a beautiful soul inside and out and her smile was always infectious. We are heartbroken and she will be forever missed. Xo – Rhayne (Wife #1) and “Brother” Brent


    My deepest condolences to you Joey and your family
    My thoughts and prayers are with you


  • Carrie, Brooks, Parker & Kesler McGillivray says:

    We are so very sorry to hear about your loss. Vanessa was such a positive, sweet, caring person. I am extremely thankful to have met her and had her be a part of both our sons lives. I know their favourite days were when “Teacher Vanessa” was working! They often talk about how she was so silly because she always put snow on her hair while building snowmen, they truly enjoyed their time with her. She is in our thoughts and prayers as is everyone who is grieving her loss.

  • Filomena Romei says:

    Dear Joey and Family,
    Our deep and sincere condolences. Words cannot express our sadness…You are all in our thoughts and prayers. God bless!
    Mike, Lorenzo, Letizia and Filomena Romei

  • Anita schweigert says:

    Im shocked to hear of her passing on friday morning. I known vanessa long time. I loved being around her and talking to her she would always make me laugh. Hope she sees everything she wanted to see in heaven.

  • Rhonda Bardwell says:

    Dear Joey , Bruce and Bill. My heart aches for your loss of Vanessa. I only knew her as a child but watching her grow through pictures I have seen, shows me what a wonderful woman she had become. She was taken from you all far to early. Your beautiful Vanessa lives in the hearts and memories of so many people. Sending my thoughts and love to you all at such a devastating time.
    Rhonda Bardwell

  • Bettina Schell says:

    Dear Joey and family,
    I am so sorry and sad that you have to go through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
    Sincerely, Bettina

  • Susan Ito says:

    Dear Joey and family,

    I’m so shocked and saddened to hear of the tragic loss of your daughter. Even though I did not meet her, I’m sure she was as beautiful and kind hearted as Serena and Michele. Please know my thoughts are with you during this difficult time, and I only hope the warm memories of Vanessa help your hearts heal.

    Thinking of you all,
    Sue Ito

  • Nancy Siddon says:

    Dear Joey
    We are so sorry to learn of the loss of your daughter. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family as you go through this tragic time. Cherish your memories
    Much love Charles, Nancy & family Siddon(TMR)

  • Hugh Beckstead says:

    Vanessa was a rare soul. I’ve never known anyone like her and am unlikely to again. Vanessa never seemed doubt of the path she was on in life. I believe she was one of the few who truly understood life on this earth. She was always just going to be one thing and that was herself. How many of us can honestly say that? She had a special spark in her eye that you can gleam from any photo and a laugh that was infectious and filled any room she was in. She knew exactly what path her life should go and how to get there. It was a life too short but a life well lived. I will forever remember all the times we shared and try my best to embody the positive, happy, exuberant personality that was vanessa. Joey and family, I can’t begin to imagine how you will all cope and move on from her loss but I can only assume it will in some way be by sharing in her memory and ensuring her legacy live on.

  • Michael says:

    Dear Family,

    I stayed in touch with Vanessa on and off throughout the years since graduation, I will always remember her strong and cheerful personality. I know there are few people I know in the world, that have in fact touched the world in a meaningful way, but Vanessa is one of them. I am so sorry for your loss, and I hope you find some comfort in knowing that while she was not on Earth as long as some, I can tell you with 100% certainty the spent the time she did better than most. The time she did spend, was spent encouraging others, shaping the lives of others, and making the day of anyone she met brighter. I know she did more in 30 years, than many will do in a life time.

    Good Bless,

    Michael Streilein

  • Monika Smith says:

    My Dear Friend Joey
    I was absolutely devastated when I heard the news, that Vanessa was gone. I immediately thought back to the day she was born and Amber and I came up to the hospital to visit you and Bruce. You were the picture of pure happiness and pride and so proud of your little girl. Watching her grow over the years during your annual Christmas letter and photos, was amazing, watching your family grow bigger and bigger. I know their are no words now that can ease your pain, but I feel that Vanessa looks down from Heaven and wants you to smile and remember all the good times you had together, and not the day that God took her away to be one of his Angels. God Bless you Joey and family.
    xox Monika and Don

  • Orest and Lorraine Zaryski(nee Bossio) Eric and Diane Cridland(nee Bossio) Glenn and Colleen Weber(nee Bossio) says:

    It is with great heartfelt sadness to hear about the tragic news of your Loss Joey and Family. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family . We will always remember her infectious smile and the memory of her when she was just a little girl and you had her @ the mall and in walks my Mom and Dad and Vanessa said, “What are you guys doing in my Playhouse?” A young Beautiful life taken way too soon. She impacted a lot of people’s lives and her legacy will live on in you and her siblings. RIP Vanessa

  • Donna Martin says:

    I’m so so sorry to hear of the loss of Vanessa. I remember her as a young, fun loving and beautiful co-worker from our days of working together at KFC in the Mall. RIP Vanessa. My thoughts and prayers are with Vanessa’s family and friends.

  • Melina Moran says:

    Joey and family,

    So sorry to see the news about Vanessa. Our thoughts and prayers are with your family at this time.
    ~From the Di Fabrizio Family

  • Joe and Bianca Iafrancesco says:

    To Joey and Family,
    We are heartbroken to hear of the passing of Vanessa. We are at the moment away until next week and wanted to let you know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all at this very sad time. We remember Vanessa as a loving young person who always went out of her way to give us a hug and enormous smile whenever we encountered her. May God bless and take care of you all.
    Bianca and Joe Iafrancesco

  • Jan Rauter & Family says:

    My deepest Sympathy to the Vecchio Family….I was so very saddened to hear of Vanessa’s passing. She was a beautiful soul with a smile to light up life. My heart and my prayers go out to all of you…may God rest her beautiful soul. She left quite a mark on life…may she continue her journey in the arms of her loved ones already passed.
    My sincerest sympathy is the loss of your daughter, sister, niece and friend.

  • Denise Kenney says:

    This is the second time my life has been abruptly fractured by the news of an accidental death. Vanessa was about the same age my mother was when a car accident also ended her life. I now know that one can never fully understand the reach of death in the moment that it happens. Vanessa’s death will reach into the corners of all our lives, but so will her life. I have images in my mind of seeing Vanessa a little more grown up each time I visited Kelowna: a very frilly dress on a two-year-old, hanging on the elbow of my Auntie Ida, cracking jokes at Christmas, and finally running into her at Glenmore Elementary where my daughter now attends school. I remember noticing her genuine interest in the young kids and her ability to see them as interesting people who were just somewhat smaller than the rest of us. She had a generous heart. I know how to lose a mother, but I don’t know how one survives the death of a child. My heart goes out to you Joey. You are not alone… and neither is she.
    All my love and support, Cousin Denise.

  • Isaac Hines says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your loss Vanessa was a bright soul and very kind and easy going. Rest in peace u will be missed.

  • Brad Talbot (Mr T) says:

    Dear Joey and Family: My heartfelt condolences are with you and your family as I share in your loss and feel the terrible void life will have without Vanessa. Her contagious smile and exuberant love of life are memories I will always cherish as she was a true joy in my teaching career. Thoughts of Vanessa in class, fund raising for Costa Rica and the frequent chats we shared always make me smile. I will always be have a precious and fond memory of a very special student. My thoughts are with all her family and friends.

  • Audrey Delaere says:

    Joey, my heart is with you and your loving family . You are in my heart at this time. Voice from that past @ Belgo ~~ T.O.C Audrey Delaere

  • Mary ouwendyk says:

    Oh Joey. My heart goes out to you and your family in this difficult time. Please know you will be in my thoughts and prayers. Love. Mary Ouwendyk

  • Heather Karabelas says:

    Dear Joey and family,

    Please know that you are in my prayers at this sad time. As you ache in your hearts, may you find comfort in knowing that Vanessa is in the presence of Love’s completeness.

  • Gerry and Wilma Just says:

    Dearest Joey, Leticia, Marlisa, Michele and Serena. Our hearts are broken and our tears mingle with yours. We are shocked and saddened with this interruption in your beautiful family. Vanessa was a reflection of you, Joey, caring and loving. We know you will cherish the memories of her outstanding yet shortened life. May God bless you all and hold you in His caring arms through this awful time. We love you all.

  • Carol Campos says:

    Dear Joey, Bruce & Family
    We are deeply saddened to hear of your loss of your beautiful daughter Vanessa. You all are in our thoughts in this very difficult time.
    Fondly, Jack, Carol, Amanda & Mel Campos

  • Cyril Chalk says:

    Dear Joey and family

    I was so shocked and saddened to read the news of Vanessa’s passing. It is always sad to lose a loved one, but the loss of a child is incomprehensible. May the hope of eternal life and reunion one day in God’s time and the happiness of wonderful memories give you peace and grace at this difficult time.

  • Rodney & Sandra Beckstead says:

    Dear Joey , Bruce, Bill and family ,
    We are so sorry to hear of the passing of your beautiful Vanessa. We know that she was the light of your lives. May God give you the comfort and the strength to continue on until you are reunited with her. Sincerely Rodney and Sandra Beckstead.

  • Leanne Zorn says:

    To Joey and family:
    I was very, very saddened to hear this tragic news. I was just visiting RSS last week and reminiscing at Vanessa’s graduating class photo. Her energetic spirit made a lasting impact on me. I know, Joey, this is so devastating for a mother, and my heart goes out to you. Much love, Leanne

  • Cindy Page says:

    Hello to Vanessa’s family and friends,

    On behalf of the Early Childhood Education and Care faculty at Northern Lights College, we are just devastated to hear the very sad news of Vanessa’s death – we sincerely thank her sister for taking the time to contact us. Vanessa was a hard working student who persevered through her studies to ultimately reach her goal of becoming a certified early childhood educator. As the chair of the program, I had the pleasure of working closely with Vanessa in planning her studies. Vanessa and I were in close contact as she considered her options and found the best plan for her. Here are a few words from two of her main instructors:

    I am so saddened to hear this and feel so at a loss for words. She was so “alive”! I appreciated her mother’s words about how she did not want to depart but that she would be happy to reunite with others she loves. She has gone Peak to Peak, from the peak of one existence to the peak of another. My sincere condolences to her family and friends. (Joyce Thompson)

    I taught Vanessa for so many courses- just last winter she completed her third practicum and professionalism course. I was so was happy to see her be ready to apply for her certificate to practice. My heart breaks to read this news, she was such a lovely, caring and warm student. So accepting of feedback and guidance- she really wanted to do well for herself and the children she loved working with. I’m devastated reading this…a young beautiful soul taken way too quickly. I just want to weep!!! (Lisa Trischuk)

    Vanessa, we will miss you… Cindy Page, Northern Lights College

  • Mareike Evers says:

    To Joey and family:
    I was very, very saddened to hear this tragic news. I m a Germanfriend from Vanessa. I Visite kelowna in January 2010 and worked in the Red balloon Daycare. Vanessa Helped me to find friends and show me the Life in Kelowna. Thanks for all and R.I.P
    Your Mareike

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