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Dick Pachal

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Dick Pachal

February 18, 1952 - April 10, 2017


Dick passed away at home on April10th after a prolonged illness.  He will be deeply mourned by his wife and best friend of 35 years, Kendra, and by their three children Kate, Owen and Anna Pachal.  He will also be grievously missed by his brother and mentor, Dr. Murray Pachal of Whangarei, New Zealand and by his beloved uncle Jerry Brown of Chilliwack, B.C. In addition, Dick leaves behind many cousins, nieces, nephews, friends and colleagues.

Dick was unique.  So smart, so funny, so irreverent.   He didn’t have a chance to retire but often said he was “retired” in his twenties when he aimlessly followed his interests and finished several degrees, supporting himself with a well loved summer job collecting garbage in Stanley Park. Dick held degrees in engineering sciences (MIT), law (Osgoode Hall) and medicine (UBC).  He practiced law briefly in Vancouver and worked as a psychiatrist for his last 18 years, first in Ottawa and then in Duncan, B.C.

Despite all the education Dick was entirely unpretentious.  The things he cared deeply about were family, friends, quiet conversations and a homemade meal.  He loved to cook for his family and a few close friends.  Dick loved those close to him deeply and sincerely, was a singularly ethical person and an inspiration to all who knew him well.

The family will hold a private service.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Doctors Without Borders or to the Canadian Cancer Society.


Send a condolence, light a candle and/or share a memory, click "Send Condolence". Once your message has been approved by the moderator it will be posted to the website.

From: H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff

H.W. Wallace Cremation and Burial Centre Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Suilven MacGregor
Relation: colleague

I am so sorry to hear of Dick’s passing. He was a much valued colleague. I am a Family Physician and he helped me to care for many patients over the last 15 years. He was a highly skilled, insightful and compassionate physician. He had a dry humor, which I will greatly miss.

From: Sandra Hart
Relation: Colleague &friend

Dick’s passing saddens me greatly. I worked with Dick and told him he was the best psychiatrist I ever worked with. His intelligence,kindness,
dry humour,and love of family always evident. Dick had my respect and affection.

From: Anon
Relation: Patient

I saw Dr Pachal about 8-9 years ago at Duncan Mental Health. He was the first psychiatrist that I had met that spoke to me like I was an equal, and with respect. I had a new diagnosis, and broke down crying in his office. I will always remember him being so caring and considerate saying “I understand. It’s been very hard for you.” I only got to meet him a couple times but remembered the psychiatrist I liked who genuinely listened to what I had to say. The little things (the tipping back in the chair, the mug he was holding when talking, the listening and caring) really have made an impact on my life as I have seen many professionals who have been unaware that they were condescending. Dr Pachal was not. I am forever grateful for his kindness. I am saddened to hear of his passing and send my condolences.

From: Margot Page
Relation: He was a friend of my sister in Ottawa

Dear Kendra and Family..we met in Ottawa..you lived next door to my sister Patricia Page Hoisak and husband Peter. When you moved to the Island, I often saw Dick at my shop, buying special cards…he was a delightful customer. So sorry for your loss. i have informed Pat and Pete.

From: Anonymous
Relation: Patient

I was very fortunate to spend four years in psychotherapy with Dr. Pachal at the Duncan Mental Health Clinic, from 2006 to 2010; and through a seemingly random next-spot-available patient lottery process at that.

Over the course of our extended interaction, I gleaned a sense of the person underlying the professional role. Firstly, and most obviously, he was brilliant. It was such a pleasure to volley ideas back and forth with such a razor-sharp intellect. He was compassionate, kind, and gentle. He taught me how to talk, so to speak (pardon the pun, he enjoyed those too). I mean really talk. Talk that matters. He wasn’t above partaking in geek humour if the opportunity arose, and it often did. He was tough, but always fair. If he said he was going to do something, he did it. He taught me that life is about playing the hand that you were dealt to the best of your ability.

One summer, when he was leaving on vacation, I coined an off-the-cuff new word. Here it is, as found in the dictionary:

Pachaliday (noun):
1.) When a Pachal goes on vacation.
2.) When a person in regular contact with a Pachal ceases to be in contact with a Pachal.

Thus, it was a Pachaliday on both sides of the equation! He was amused. Yes!

I was shocked to read of his recent passing. My deepest condolences to his family for their devastating loss. Please know that he was loved by many that you are likely unaware of.

My time with him was a gift and I am thankful.

From: Chris and Pamela
Relation: Colleagues and friends

We met Dick in Brockville in the 90s. He was a joy to work with and we saw him as “one of the good guys” – approachable, thoughtful in discussion regarding patients’ and he always loved a good laugh. Pamela and I visited him in Cobble Hill and we enjoyed a meal together with Kendra and a tour of their property with the kids several years ago. He regaled us with plans for the barn and other projects – so full of life and energy after dodging his first bullet. Dick made everyone he met feel that they were friends for life! Even though he was In Brockville for such a short time, his name has always come up in wistful recollections of earlier days. Our deepest sympathies to Kendra, their terrific kids and his family. He was a joy and pleasure to be around. His life will continue be an inspiration in ours.

From: Karen Davis
Relation: through work at Duncan Mental Health Centre

Kendra, Kate, Owen and Anna, I am so sorry for your loss of your husband and father. I worked with Dick at DMHC and had great admiration for him. His work was excellent and he was a valuable asset to our community. It was very obvious to me how much he loved all of you and took seriously his role as family man. He was an honorable man.

From: Beatrice De Faria
Relation: I used to date his brother Bill Pachel many years ago.

Dear Kendra and family,

I am so sad to see that Dick has passed away, I just saw this today. Please accept my sincere condolences to you and your family on your loss.
Dick had a great sense of humor, which I so fondly remember. As did his brother Bill. I hope they are having a good laugh together in a special and better place.
God Bless

From: Kim Jarvi
Relation: He lived in my house in Toronto in the early 1980s

Kendra and family:

We never met, but Dick spoke fondly of you when he called or visited Toronto. He lived in my house while he was studying law at Osgoode. I just now stumbled upon his obituary, and it saddened me immensely. I had been hoping to visit him on Vancouver Island a number of years back, but was not able to swing that. That is now a matter of considerable regret for me, as I had always wanted to see him again.

The reason I wanted to see him again is he was an incredibly good guy. Always positive, cheerful and fun to be around. Never full of himself, he would playfully get you to laugh at yourself whenever you fell into that trap. He was a ball of positive energy, and that takes a special kind of magnanimity and generosity of spirit.

He was something of a polymath, with his multiple degrees in unrelated fields and his remarkable expertise in keeping aging vehicles running. He needed that expertise to coax his White Whale to and from Osgoode Law School, and he kindly helped me fix my own decrepit vehicle as well.

I don’t find people like that these days. Dick was lucky to be able to follow many different and interesting paths and still find time for a family he adored.

I am sorry that I learned so late of his passing, but it is never too late to send condolences. Dick was a great guy, and I feel a bit lost now. But he still puts a smile on my face. I am sure he does that for you as well.

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