Joe Kupkee, age 73, passed away peacefully at his home in West Kelowna, BC on April 11, 2016, lovingly surrounded by his wife and two daughters.
Joe was born in 1942 in Ottawa, Ontario. Because his father was a member of the RCMP, Joe lived in many places throughout his childhood before finishing his high school years in Maple Ridge and Salmon Arm, BC. After completing his teaching degree at the University of British Columbia, Joe spent the next 38 years as a high school teacher. He taught a variety of subjects but was most passionate about teaching English, History, and Media/Film Studies.
Another passion of his was coaching. He coached both boys and girls basketball in the BC school system for 18 years and had back-to-back undefeated seasons with the Salmon Arm Jewels in 1977 and 78. Because of this exceptional record and his overall dedication, Joe was inducted into the British Columbia Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach in 2008.
Joe was extremely proud of his work as a teacher and as a coach, influencing and maintaining friendships with many players and students over the years. Some special highlights being provided by the ladies of the notorious TP Squad!
As an avid reader, sports fanatic, and historian, Joe wove these three passions into his ongoing love of travel and adventure. He travelled to many countries over the years and managed to make it to 49 of the 50 US States (just short of his 50/50 goal!).
A loving grandad, Joe had recently moved back to the Okanagan, after 32 years on Vancouver Island, in order to enjoy more time with his three precious grandchildren. This included many hockey and soccer games as well as many dance recitals. Joe was also enjoying the local wineries and taking in the many opportunities to attend concerts and sports in the Okanagan area.
Joe is survived by his wife of 25 years Barb Kupkee, daughters Tanya Harrington and Tracy Lamerton, sons-in-law Chris Harrington and Marc Lamerton, and grandchildren Benjamin Harrington and Ava and Alexander Lamerton. He is pre-deceased by his parents Allen and Gertrude Kupkee and his grandmother Laina Aho (with whom Joe had a special bond).
The family would like to extend a huge, heartfelt thank-you to all the friends and family who have offered their love, support, and special memories of Joe via email and phone calls.
A Celebration of Life will be held at the Prestige Inn (251 Harbour Front Dr NE) Salmon Arm, BC on May 28th, 2016 from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
If so desired, donations in Joe’s memory can be made to a KidSport affiliation in a community of your choice: www.kidsportcanada.ca or KidSport Salmon Arm 451 Shuswap St SW, Salmon Arm, BC, V6G 1Z4
Online condolences may be sent through Joe’s obituary at www.bowersfuneralservice.com