“If music be the food of love, play on. Give me excess of it.” - Twelfth Night
It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of
our beloved brother and uncle.
Kurtis was born in Trail, BC to Lorna and Charles Blaihut. He was educated in Trail and later at the University of Victoria, earning a degree in teaching. He taught at Fruitvale Elementary School for 25 years and Montrose School for 10 years, retiring at the age of 58. He was a born teacher and a mentor to many.
He leaves to mourn him; his sisters Sandra Colangeli and Wendy McLaughlin, nieces; Lisa (Gord) Douglas, Tracy (Denis) McLaughlin, Gianna (Daryl) Colangeli, nephew; Todd (Amy) McLaughlin, and great niece Caylee. Kurtis is also survived by his cousins Butch (Ena) Boutry and family, Sheila Ewings and family, Mary-Anne, Janet and Elizabeth and family, Arlene (John) Sorenson and family. He was predeceased by his three brothers-in-law, Lino Colangeli, Larry McLaughlin and Lonnie Plasko.
Kurtis had a wonderful “circle of friends” who were so very good to us all. Laurie, Dick, Donna, Marilyn, Barb, Carol, Audrey, Rob and Helen-to name a few. His school friends Don (Marlene) Recchi and George (Donna) Arneson, who stayed in touch until the very end-you are in our hearts forever. Kurtis’ Vancouver friends, too numerous to mention, but love and thanks to you all.
Other people in Trail have won the Met Opera Quiz but the passing of Kurtis in August marked a milestone in this city’s long history with the arts. Drama, vocal, ballet and film performances, now viewed at the Royal Theatre and the Charles Bailey Auditorium have lost a loyal and knowledgeable patron. Teaching and encouraging others to understand the classics was eagerly undertaken by Kurtis. His presence and knowledge will be sorely missed.
A Celebration of Kurtis’ life will be held in the Archives Room of the Colombo Lodge on Rossland Avenue, Trail on Saturday, October 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm. We look forward to seeing you all to celebrate his life.
As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made to Sanctuary or a charity of your choice.
You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence.
“My tongue is weary when my legs are too. I bid you all good-night” ~ Henry V, William Shakespeare.
I met Kurt in New York City in the late 70's early 80's while he was visiting. I don't remember how we met but I volunteered to show him around the city, we went to the theater, central park and I'm not sure if we went to the American Museum of Natural History. It really saddens me to find out that he has passed. If I could I would like to find out about his passing if it is not to hard to tell. I considered him a friend, we talked on the phone for quite a while after he returned to Trail but I had some medical issues and some how lost contact with him. I wish I had the Internet a while ago but didn't until recently I've thought about him often in the last 30 some years. My email is email@example.com my name is Arthur Bonker. Again my heart felt sympathy to learn he is no longer with you.
To Lisa, Sandra & family, I wish I could have been home to celebrate the life of Uncle Kurt with you, your family and friends. I can still remember everything about Uncle Kurt’s house: checking the box on the porch for mail, playing with Anne in the livingroom, looking at (and probably touching!) all of his special trinkets and treasures. It was the thrill of our day to spend time with him in his home. Looking back, I know that Kurtis’ love of opera must have rubbed off on me somewhere in my childhood! I can still remember opening the book of opera tales he gave to Anne and I as a gift. Die Zauberflöte was on the first page – it was the first opera I had ever heard or learned of, and to this day continues to be my favourite. If I could only spend another day with Uncle Kurt in his special opera room, listening to and discussing his recordings, different operas and singers... Even though he is gone, Uncle Kurt will be with me every time I step onto the stage and share my love of music, because he cared to share his love of music with me. Uncle Kurt was an amazing man and will always remain in my heart and childhood memories. Thank you for allowing him to be part of my life. Love always, Marie
Im sorry to hear about your loss of your brother. He has no pain now. Hope to see you sometime in the future in Trail.
Wendy, you know how sorry I was to hear of your brother's death, even though I never met him. Kurtis sounds like he was a wonderful person and will be missed by many; I wish I had met him. He was lucky to have such good sisters to take care of him when he needed it. Take care, Wendy, and the rest of the family.
Dear Sandra,Wendy and family: Words can not express my sympathies with the passing of Kurtis. You lost a bother, uncle and a friend. Kurtis was a gentle man with a flair of class. People will miss going to him for insite to operas in which he was the master at interpretation. Time will heal the open wound, but keep his memory alive in your hearts and cherish them. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time Chris Fabbro
Although we never did personally meet any of the family members except by correspondence with Wendy, we wish to express to you all our sincere heartfelt sympathies in the passing of this exceptional man. Rita & Mark, Toronto, Ontario
My deepest heartfelt sympathy on your great loss. Kurtis was a wonderful friend.He will be greatly missed.When I hear opera I will think of him. school pal Margaret Kucher
Dear Sandra and family, I just read Kurtis's beautifully written obituary in the Trail Times and felt so sad. He was such a beautiful and kind man - I so enjoyed seeing and visiting with him over the years. I can imagine how much he'll be missed by all of his family and his many friends. I'm so sorry that I'll be away with my kids for Thanksgiving so will be unable to attend the Celebration of his life on Saturday. I understand the need to have it on a long weekend for those who will be travelling in, but selfishly, I'm so disappointed because I'll be gone! Please know that my thoughts will be with you all and especially I will be remembering Kurtis, his wonderful sense of humour and his ready wit. He'll be sorely missed. Sincerely, Norma
Dear Sandra, Lisa and family, We are very saddened at Kurtis' passing. His kindess towards Anne and Marie during the years that Lisa cared for them was very much appreicated and will always be remembered. I don't know if you remember, but Kurtis gave Anne and Marie a beautiful book call "The Barefoot Book of Stories from the Opera". He inscribed a little a note (in beautiful penmanship) on the inside cover which reads: "For Anne and Marie, I am happy to share my 21st New York Quiz prize with you lovely girls. I hope you enjoy these wonderful stories from the great operas, Love Kurt." Well yes, they certainly did enjoy the stories. Little did Kurtis know how Marie would take it to another level! Love, Anita and Dean
Kurtis, or "Uncle Kurt" as my sister and I used to refer to him, was so wonderful to the two of us. I can remember so vividly the details of his home and the time we used to spend there. I will never forget ooh-ing and ahh-ing over the signed and framed photographs of famous opera stars that were throughout the living room. Mostly though, I remember the music room. Uncle Kurt was such an amazing man. He was so kind and tolerant of two young kids jumping all over his pink sofa. I loved the time we spent at his home; I always felt welcomed and loved there. There was just something so special about the atmosphere surrounding that home for me. I am so thankful that we were able to be a part of your family for those years, and that we had the opportunity to be involved in Kurtis’ life as well. I will never forget the special impact that Uncle Kurt has made on my life. I wish I was able to return home to join in the celebration of his life. I will be thinking of you all. Love you so very much.