Michael John Kemble

May 31, 1940October 5, 2019

This unassuming, kind man died peacefully after a major stroke, with his loving family at his side.

Born in Evanston, Illinois in 1940, he left at age one with his mother Evalyn (d.) and sister Diana (d.) when father Edward (d.) joined the Canadian army. His younger sister Barbara was born in Canada. Post war the family moved to Vancouver. He graduated from Shawnigan Lake School. A year abroad in Europe was life changing from the influence of great architecture and the finest operas and music. He returned to enrol at UBC, graduating in architecture.

In the early 60s, Michael enjoyed skiing and sailing with friends up the coast and in summer worked on the roller coaster at the PNE. Not many rode it upside down and backwards. He had a lifelong spirit of adventure, running rivers in his canoe, and at 74 years paraglided off an 8000 ft mountain in Turkey!

In 1964 he married Ingunn, who was courted on a Vespa and home made beer. They shared adventures in ceramics and played with art and design together throughout their lives.

Michael was an Urban Planner for the City of Vancouver. He leaves his legacy on West Broadway, Chinatown, the Central Area and Coal Harbour. In 1977, he went to China to investigate Chinese Gardens prior to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Garden being built.

He and Ingunn, son Martin, daughter Hana and granddaughter Magnolia camped as a family at Heron Rocks for fifty years. There he playfully built rafts with this children, and caught salmon from the canoe, the dog sitting in the middle, one evening chased by killer whales. Further adventures with the Dogwood Canoe Club included three dumps in the Thompson River rapids.

The Winery was in the garage. Trips to the Okanagan with friends to get grapes by the ton resulted in twenty years of award winning home made wines.

Whistling in his workshop, he built beautiful wooden furniture and structures for home and garden. His whole life he was passionate for music, attending the opera, symphonies, VRS and concerts all over the world.

Loved by many, Michael is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Ingunn, his sister Barbara, his son Martin and daughter Hana, and granddaughter Magnolia, as well as extended family. We will miss him very much but are convinced he has gone to sing with Jessye Norman, and are comforted by a life so well lived.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Michael’s memory to the Vancouver Recital Society or Doctors Without Borders. A musical celebration will be held in November for friends and family.

Fond memories and expressions of sympathy may be shared at for the Kemble family.


No services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Michael John Kemble

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Grace & Yehouda Chaki

October 18, 2019

So sorry to hear of Michael's death, Ingunn. We have many warm memories of good times ...hikes in the woods, following the fishes, discussing wines, beers, and the joys of creativity . May the souvenirs of your life together bring comfort to you and your family in the days ahead. With sincere condolences, Chaki and Grace

Paul Pinsker

October 18, 2019

As a Development Planner with the City of Vancouver, Michael had an excellent reputation as someone who was easy to work with and who gave skilled advice on projects proposed for rezoning and/or development. He also was generous with his time serving the public. As an example he was a major volunteer on the Employee Project for Vancouver's 100th birthday in 1986 - a sign to identify City Hall. Michael's design for the sign, to be placed at the corner of Cambie Street and 12th Avenue, was endorsed by staff and then approved by City Council. The sign yet endures, announcing Vancouver City Hall to the many thousands who pass by every day.