Dennis (Papa) Powell was born in Edmonton on February 12, 1936. He was proud of his humble beginnings, and was always happy to share his stories of growing up in abject poverty (to hear him describe it) in northern Alberta. The second in a family of four brothers, Dennis left school and home at an early age and set out to take on the world armed with street smarts, a powerful work ethic and an unflagging will to succeed. In Toronto, in the 1950s, he found his life partner and soul mate Ellen, and they married despite the considerable reservations voiced by her mother. At the time, Dennis’ entire fortune consisted of a one-half interest in a 58 Ford, but Ellen saw in him much potential for improvement.
She was right. Dennis and Ellen started their new family in Toronto, where they lived for several years before pulling up their stakes and moving west to BC. They had visited the Okanagan once on vacation and decided it was where they wanted to be. In 1970, they moved to Lake Country, where they would live for the next 40 years and build a business together that would eventually occupy them, their children and grandchildren.
Dennis was an amazing man, with many friends and admirers. His generosity, good humour, and adventurous spirit earned him love and respect at every turn, but he also never let anyone forget that he could be a strict boss and a firm leader.
Dennis loved to travel, and often would, with friends, family or both. He would make a special point of meeting and befriending families in countries that he visited, often arranging ongoing support for them and their children.
But Dennis’ greatest and most favorite project was his family. His best times were those spent around the dinner table, raising a glass and arguing about whatever was going to be the topic of the evening. He was the toastmaster, the storyteller, and always the centre of attention. When he and Ellen retired to their Denman Island cottage in 2011, their dinner table and their beach became a destination resort for many.
Papa died on March 22, 2013. He leaves behind Ellen, their children Laurel, Philip, Christina, and Andrew, grandchildren Chantelle, Dane, Zachary, Max, Cassia, Amelia, and Seamus, great-grandchildren Tyson, Lucas, and Alivia, and many other nieces, nephews, friends, neighbours, and extended family. He will be missed.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to Canuck Place.