It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the passing of Stephanie Ahearn Carlson. She died quietly and peacefully in her home in Qualicum Beach, B.C. She was surrounded by the love of her daughters and dear friends, who are all so grateful to have spent time with her before she left.

She is survived by her ‘darling girlies’ Vanessa, Jessie (Ben Yardley), Nancy (Will Jones) and her adored grandchildren; Lily Watters, Lucy, Lila, and Townes Yardley; Cooper and Woodrow Jones, as well as her partner of several happy decades Doug Gordon. She is mourned by her countless friends and extended family members, especially her dear sister Louie.

Stephanie was born to Jean and Gordon Southam on February 12th, 1945. The third of seven children, she grew up in a large and happy home surrounded by invaluable antiques, an enviable art collection, countless cocktail parties and black-tie dinners. The happiest times in her youth were spent at the barn, where she excelled as an accomplished equestrian, winning so many trophies and ribbons that she needed a separate stall to store them all.

A true BC girl, she spent her summers at Qualicum Beach, a tradition that was started before she was born. She and her siblings would join their grandparents in their summer home on Judges Row. When she married Bruce Carlson, and had 4 girls herself, she would lean over the balcony of ‘the house on the hill’ every night at 5 o’clock and yell “girliiies, dinner time” so loudly that they would run up from the beach and sit down to a perfectly prepared dinner, always including fresh vegetables from the garden.

It goes without saying that all who knew and loved Stephanie would, at some point, comment on her beauty and humour. Even at her sickest moments she would have her girls in uncontrollable laughter with her razor-sharp wit and timing.

She was kind and generous, she gave so much back to the community and causes she cared about. A value she learned from her own family, and one she has passed down to her daughters. In 2015, she was given the Governor-General’s Caring Canadian Award for her work with British Columbia Children’s Hospital and Foundation, along with many other accolades both civically and provincially. She leaves behind a legacy of philanthropy and community service.  She left an indelible mark on the communities and organizations that she lived in and served.

A celebration of Mum’s life will be held at Christ Church Cathedral, 690 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC, at 3:00 pm on Thursday April 4th, 2024. Doug and her girls invite everyone to join them at a reception immediately following the service.

Condolences may be offered to the family below.

McCall Gardens

  • Julie Howard

    I think of all of you so often. What a lasting legacy Steph has left of an amazing woman, loved and admired by her family, countless friends and so many others from all walks of life. We can bring her smile and the light and sparkle in her eyes to the forefront in a heartbeat – this is how she will always be remembered. God speed her passing.
    Julie Howard

  • Maya

    Steph, our time together is something I will treasure and lock in my heart forever. I am grateful for you and every moment we shared. I have never met someone with so much gratitude, love, kindness, wit, and laughter. You are truly one of a kind and I feel so honoured to have been able to care for you. Thank you for sharing your wisdom with me, you are a true blessing in my life.

    I will look for you when I stare out at the ocean and when I look up at the sky.

    You are so loved Steph.

    Xo Maya

  • Harv, Dhar & Meera Dhanda

    Our thoughts are with you Jessie and your entire Family. We’ve heard Lucy tell us many stories of her very special Gigi. May your heart continue to overflow with the beautiful memories and the love you shared. Sending you strength, peace and love as you navigate this sad loss. Love, Harv, Dhar & Meera Dhanda

  • Frann Meredith

    So sad to hear of Stephanie’s passing. I was so fortunate to live and work for 2 years with the family in the mid 80’s. I have the fondest, indelable memories of Calgary winters & Qualicum summers. Rest in Peace, beautiful Stephanie.

  • Holly Welburn

    Vanessa, Jessie, Nancy and all the family, my heartfelt condolences to all of you. I am so blessed to have had Stephanie as my employer and friend for so many years. Stephanie was such an incredibly beautiful soul, so giving, kind, caring, thoughtful, gracious every day of her life. She so loved you “girlies” and her grandchildren, you all were the love and sparkle of her life. A day wouldn’t go by without her expressing to me the love she held for you all. The many days we shared such laughter, as we were sure the universe would hire “us” to solve the world problems! So many good belly laughs we had together, I will miss her great wisdom and the years of blessed advice along with her witty humor, but most of all I’ll just miss her, it was truly an honor to know her and have had her in my life. Much love to you girls.

    Holly xoxo

  • Peggie Terry

    My sincerest condolences to all Steph’s family. The tribute is so Steph ~ surrounded by family and love – as it should be!
    The last chat I had with Steph was on a walk along Judges Row early in the year. We reminisced on horseback riding on Qualicum’s beach back in the day, and attending horse shows on the lower mainland. Steph was a very accomplished rider and always well mounted.
    Little did I know that this would be the last time we would share in the past.
    She was lovely inside and out, it showed in her smile and the glint in her eyes.
    My thoughts are with you all, hold the multitude of memories close.

  • Carrie Hallet

    My sincerest condolences to you all. I met Stephanie at Brentwood College years ago, she was always a pleasure to speak with. I will cherish the lovely pottery bowl she gifted to me even more now. Thinking of you all during this very difficult time.

  • Jo-Anne Stark

    Deepest sympathy to the family; in the short time that I knew Stephanie, I found her to be a kind, warm and genuine person with a sincere love for her family and loved ones. She will be dearly missed.

  • Jan Fuller

    Jan Fuller

    I had the pleasure of Stephanie’s friendship as her next door neighbor in Qualicum beach for the past ten years.

    Stephanie had a way of making people feel you were so important in her life.

    “ Summer” for our family really started when we saw Stephanie’s cottage “ come alive “ in July with her arrival and the anticipation of her girls and those “ darling grandchildren “ coming throughout the summer .

    Our grandkids adored Stephanie and many mornings we had
    to tell them that they could not go and visit Stephanie at 6:30 in the morning!

    They quickly retorted “ but Stephanie said we could come visit her ANYTIME !!

    As she struggled with her health and the family all had to go back to their homes, we had a standing date at 7 pm each evening to laugh, sometimes cry and always solve all the problems facing the world :

    She was always so appreciative and made me feel that I was the favourite part of her day .

    As I grew to know Stephanie more, I realized that she had the gift of making everyone feel that way!

    I will forever miss this beautiful, tender, witty, compassionate neighbor and friend.

  • Alan & Lindsay Hutton

    We remember Stephanie as warm, kind, generous and beautiful. She has a special place in our hearts and in our prayers. May she rest in peace with our love with her. Alan & Lindsay

  • Suzie and Larry Nuttall

    Our condolences to the whole family. We will miss you dear Stephanie. I am smiling now, just thinking of you. Rest in peace dear friend.

  • Jill Purdy

    No one could make me laugh like Steph. Our mothers were great friends so our friendship goes way back. Also every fall for about sixteen years a group of us walked in the UK, France and Italy. Those were such special times and Steph was always there to bring laughter and fun to the group.
    I will miss her.
    My condolences to the “ girls” and to Doug and Bruce.

  • Lynn Eyton

    Dear Stephanie – I will always cherish your loving friendship, humour, generosity and all the adventures we had in our lives.
    Just so you know, I will be there for your Girlies and Louie … much love always, Lynn ❤️❤️

  • Bronwen and the Fordyce Family

    Reading this beautiful tribute to Stephanie, I hear so much of her lovely, hilarious daughters and grandchildren. While I never had the joy of meeting her, I feel so blessed that my kids and I get to enjoy the wonderful legacy she has left in the incredible family she created. Sending all our love the Jessie and the entire family.

  • Kora DeBeck

    My thoughts are with Nancy and all of Stephanie’s family, friends and community as they collectively grieve the loss of such a loving, wonderful, vibrant soul. I knew Stephanie most as a teenager and young adult. She was always a warm, supportive and encouraging presence. I am so sorry for everyone’s loss.

    I will remember her always with fondness and with love. I hope her girls and partner and community are finding comfort being together and honouring her beautiful legacy.

  • Jacky Sheng

    I owe Stephenie a lot; she hired me for her lovely girls. Lots of fun memories. I am so sad for the young ladies she left behind, but feel very honoured to have known a lovely person.

  • Sherry Killam

    Stephanie was a kind-hearted generous and always humorous woman who brightened many lives with her presence, including mine in many occasions. My heart goes out to all of you.

  • robert brown

    Great memories of Steph over my 70 years. Our parents were great lifelong friends as well. She was
    always fun to be with. She shall be missed, that’s for sure. Condolences to partner Doug and all family and friends .
    So long but not good-bye Steph.
    Bobby Brown

  • Jane

    My sincerest condolences.
    My thoughts and heart are with you.

  • Kulvinder Chohan

    Vanessa, Nancy and Jamie, I am so sorry for your loss, And to Doug, Jessie and Louie, my sincere condolences. She loved you all so much.

    I saw Stephanie several times a week for many years. Her smile, spirit, nature and company was special. She was sincere and real.

    I have really missed her in the recent past, but thoughts of her always brought a smile. Always will.

    I miss you dear Stephanie.

  • Barb Quinn

    Stephanie was my friend years ago when we were much younger and finding our way through growing up. She was a bring spark in my life. I send condolences to her daughters and Doug as losing Stephanie leaves a big hole.

  • Claire O’Connor

    Much love to you girls, I simply adored your Mum.

  • Sara Silveira

    Beautiful tribute to your beautiful mom. Daniel, Sofia and I will miss her so much. Sending so much love to all her girls and grandkids.

  • Lesley curtis

    My love to all of her family, in this sad time. You were all such a big part of my life, when I became your nanny. Your mum was an amazing woman, who loved her family passionately and gave so much to others. My love and condolences to you all. X

  • catalina

    See you later Steph, It was nice to have had meet you.

  • Judy Trowbridge

    Sending deepest condolences to you all .
    Stephanie was an absolute treasure and loved by all who knew her
    my heart goes out to you ♥️

  • Doreen Macfarlane

    An amazing woman who had just as an amazing life. Her generosity helped many at risk children in the DTES. I knew her beautiful daughters and they forever remain close to my heart. Rest in sweet peace Stephanie. ♥️ Doreen Macfarlane

  • Lonny Koch

    My sincere condolences to Vanessa and Lily and family.

  • Jenni Jackson (Dorward)

    I’m so sorry to hear of Aunty Stephanie’s passing. She was a beautiful and inspiring woman. I was always happy to see her loving smile and have big hugs when we ran into each other. I’m thinking of you all in this moment and I’m sending you my love and condolences.

  • Robin-Lee (Ross) Clarke

    I am sorry to hear of Steph’s passing.

    We both went to Strathcona school, and were roommates for a year. She was beautiful, funny, and very talented. We formed a trio with Nancy Rose, another roommate very talented on piano and guitar and ended up singing on the very first entertainment show at the Butchart Gardens.

    I send my sincere condolences to her family and many friends

  • Preetika Mehra

    Jess, Vanessa and Nancy,

    I am so sorry about your mum. My thoughts and prayers are with u all at this time.


  • Carol Henriquez

    My heartfelt condolences to Doug and all the family.
    Stephanie was an amazing, lovely, intelligent, beautiful and kind women with a great smile and laugh. A great and special friend who will be sincerely missed.

  • Bryan Benepe

    Your Mom would crack me up regularly. She was rich in heart and soul. She would share them with us using laughter or tender tears. Every single time I think of her, I smile. That can not be said of everyone. Her personal legacy to me is to be kind and grateful. Thank you, thank you. To you girls, I wish you a safe place to grieve and the assurance that there are days coming when you will remember her, with all her flaws and failings, in the most loving way. I wish you all the best in every way.

  • Terry

    I like the part where it was said”surrounded by love” It just doesn’t get any better than that. RIP!

  • Detta

    Sending you and your family love and strength.

  • Bonnie Evoy

    Stephanie was irresistably lovable. I feel so honored to have played a small part in her care over the last few years. A beautiful, funny, special angel our dear Stephanie

  • Glory

    You may be gone but your memories remain in the heart of many.
    My deepest sympathy to the bereaved family.
    May the Peace of Christ Jesus comfort you all specially on this difficult time.

  • Jennifer and Clark VanderMye

    Both Clark and I send you beautiful girls our thoughts – I just loved your Mummy and she was so wonderful & beautiful, inside & out. Having been a small part of her home life a few decades back was a very special part of my life.

  • Maki

    I’ve had the absolute pleasure and honour to do Stephanie’s hair for many years and we have grown to become dear friends. She was always so grateful and happy when she mentions her girls, the grandchildren, Doug and Jamie.
    I miss you Stephanie, you will forever be in my heart ❤️

  • Bruce Munro Wright

    I am honoured to have had a chance to know Stephanie and witness to her generosity and charitable endeavours. She was a delight and we will all miss her very much.

  • Erica Leyland

    I send “the Girlies” lots of love and hugs. Your Mom will be missed by many people.

  • Peter And Joan Lamb.

    Sending you our condolences girls!!! Steph was lots of fun and will be missed by all who knew her❤️. Peter And Joan.

  • Laurie Ross

    My thoughts are with all the friends and family who are grieving this loss.

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