February 4, 1936 - March 17, 2022

Denis died quietly during the night after many weeks of palliative care at Grace and Misericordia Hospitals in Winnipeg. His final day was the 10th anniversary of his wife, Marge’s death.

They leave behind five sons: Pat (Katia), Mike (Tracy), Tim (Judy), Nick (Amanda), and Colin; and eleven grandchildren: Jamie, Kate, Aydan, Mira, Cameron, Marc, Brandt, Connor, Colette, Lauren, and Anya. Denis is pre-deceased by his wife Marguerite (Atkins), his father James, mother Janet (White), and infant brother Brian.

Denis was born in Vancouver, where he attended St. George’s Boy’s School and UBC. He and Marge married in 1960 before moving to Boston as Denis studied Architecture at MIT. Their years in New England had a profound effect on both of them. In 1966, they returned to Canada, where Denis began a 30-year career teaching in the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. From 1973 to 78, they frequently returned to the Mediterranean for research in the Greek islands and later to live and tour with the family aboard their boat Can-Can.

After returning to Winnipeg, Denis continued to teach and serve in administrative roles at the university. His architectural practice included designing several private residences, churches, and other public buildings and supervising a number of interns. As head of Architecture, he introduced digital technologies in design and drafting, and he travelled to Nepal several times to strengthen ties between the architectural training programs in Canada and Asia. After retiring, Denis and Marge finally returned to BC, where they built their retirement home on Piers Island near Sidney. Both were drawn to service in island governance, with Denis serving on the Improvement District for multiple terms. On Piers, they found new friends and community as well as new interests in gardening and observing the local fauna. They bought a 33-foot sailboat named High Hopes. They were excited to introduce their grandkids to the coast and take them on long sailing trips north to Desolation Sound and around Vancouver Island.

In later years, Denis gathered his memories of his parents and family into two books for his grandkids, first a family history, and second his thoughts and reflections on architecture. He spent a number of years travelling with his friend Julie, including repeated trips to Italy and Ireland. While in Ireland, he traced some early Jesson and Mahony ancestors around Dublin, Cork, and Limerick. He leaves this research, with many notes and lists, unfinished for his family to continue.

In late 2019, Denis returned to live with Tim’s family in Winnipeg, just a few months before the pandemic.

Denis’ ashes will be interred in Mountain View Cemetery, Vancouver. Plans for a Celebration of Life are not yet determined.

A Memorial Tree was planted for DENIS
We are deeply sorry for your loss ~ the staff at 1442 Main Street
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