Jason Kahl remembers riding with his father to Port Renfrew and Sooke as a child, making visits to regional directors and community members for his father’s work.
“He knew everyone and worked with everybody,” Jason said. “He could talk to absolutely anyone.”
Lyle Kahl died on April 12 at the age of 80. The former Esquimalt MLA and Social Credit party member as well as realtor, school teacher, business owner and gardener would have turned 81 in June. He would have celebrated his 60th wedding anniversary with his wife, Donna, in July.
Jackie Page, Kahl’s daughter, described him as someone who always wanted to help others out. He even went so far as purchasing a condominium for a couple who couldn’t afford it while he was a realtor, then selling it back to them at cost when they could afford it, Page said.
Kahl also taught gardening classes to young children and was an active community member up until a few years before he died.
“Honesty was a big thing with him,” Page remembered. “He always told the truth and took the consequences no matter what. Being honest and living up to your word were very important to him.”
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Kahl’s political career ran from 1975 to 1979. Jason said at the time, he represented communities from Esquimalt to Port Renfrew. He fought hard in favour of the E&N Railway and Jason said he was instrumental in getting Victoria General Hospital to where it is now on Helmcken Road.
A 1975 election advertisement, targeted at seniors, says Kahl had plans to work towards community based nursing home care, removing property taxes on homes of people over the age of 65 and eliminating the provincial income tax for people over the age of 65 on incomes up to $5,000, among other things.
Kahl was well-known in the community, according to Jason. He even wrote a column, “Kahl Comments” for the Goldstream News Gazette where he detailed his thoughts and comments on issues and questions from others.
“Coming out of politics he was well-versed in municipal affairs,” Jason said. “He was the go-to guy for a lot of development on the West Shore.”
Local developer Jim Hartshorne knew Kahl for almost 20 years and says he always enjoyed working with him. Hartshorne said Kahl was one of the “strong” personalities in real estate in the area.
“He was a prince of a guy, a guy who cared about people, was honourable and was very proud of his West Shore connections,” Hartshorne said. “He was just one of the good guys you could always trust … it was amazing how many people knew [Kahl] and respected him.”
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Outside of his professional life, Jason and Page describe Kahl as an encouraging parent and grandparent who did not let work get in the way of family.
“When I was 21 I went off to music school in Los Angeles and he just put me on a plane and said go,” Jason said. “He always encouraged everybody in the family to go forward and supported them.”
A Facebook post Jason wrote about Kahl’s death received more than 200 comments from community members, friends and family. Many of the comments speak of cherished memories with Kahl, detailing the kind, personable and helpful person he was.
Kahl leaves behind his wife, three children and five grandchildren.
“Despite him living a very accomplished life, full of laughter and love, it’s hard not to be sad,” Jason’s Facebook post reads. “He was my father, friend, mentor and business partner – all of which he excelled in.”