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Nancy (nee Bell-Irving) Sunderland Duncan

November 1, 1926 ~ July 25, 2021 (age 94)


With sadness and many fond memories, we announce the passing of Anne Helen Sunderland Duncan on July 25th, 2021, in Kelowna, BC. Born on November 1st, 1926, to Henry and Annie Bell-Irving in Vancouver, ‘Nancy’ was the youngest of the Bell-Irving’s six children.  The Bell-Irving clan has long and significant roots in Vancouver. Her death represents the passing of a generation.

Nancy grew up in Vancouver, during the great depression. Her fondest memories are of summers spent on Paisley Island, a small family owned island located between Bowen Island and Gibsons in Howe Sound. She attended Crofton House during the war years. At the end of WWII in 1945 Nancy met a returning regular forces RCN officer, Lieutenant Ean V.P. Sunderland; they were quickly engaged and married. As a Royal Canadian Navy officer’s wife, she lived in several Canadian cities (Victoria, Halifax, Ottawa and Richmond Hill) as well as in British naval ports, Rome (NATO), and Norfolk, Virginia (SACLANT). Nancy and Ean enjoyed entertaining and made many friends wherever they were posted. When Commander Ean Sunderland retired from the RCN the couple moved to Qualicum Beach, on Vancouver Island and spent many wonderful retirement years there.

After Ean’s death in 1994 Nancy married Geoff Duncan - a new friend and companion. Nancy was an avid reader, gardener, bridge player, pet owner, painter, and an expert knitter known for her many “sought after” socks and beautiful sweaters. Following Geoff’s death, Nancy moved to Victoria in 2000 and enjoyed life in the Stoneywood area of Royal Oak. She moved to nearby Berwick House in 2011.  In late 2017 Nancy relocated to The Heritage in West Kelowna – to be closer to her sons and their families.

Nancy is predeceased by Ean, Geoff, her five siblings and grandson Samuel Whitehead. She will be fondly remembered as a loving mother by her three children Brian (Linda), Mark (Doris), and Virginia Whitehead (Roger). Nancy was known as “Nan” to her grandchildren - Michael (Jillian), Matthew, Cameron (Melissa), Emily (Stefano), Wendy (Matt), Nicholas (Sarah), Melanie (Christopher), and Daniel; and her 9 great-grandchildren - Carlotta, Oliver, Martino, Arturo, Clio, Katelyn, Kai, Quinn and Hailey. Nancy was an adventurous and generous person who enjoyed travel and spending time with family and friends.

Nancy’s family want to thank the caring service provided by the staff at Orchard Manor senior care center in Kelowna. Nancy was a member of St Georges’ Anglican church in Westbank, where she was loved and will be fondly remembered. Due to the changes with Covid-19 regulations, a time and date for a Celebration of Life service will be announced at a later time. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to your favourite charity.


You can still show your support by planting a memorial tree in the memory of Nancy (nee Bell-Irving) Sunderland Duncan
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