1932-2021 ~ Dennis Gaunt, much loved husband, father and grandfather, died peacefully in his Chilliwack home days after his 89th birthday. We, his family, grieve deeply the loss of his physical presence among us even as we celebrate his anticipated transition into the Unknown.
A lifelong learner and seeker, Dennis had a keen curiosity about all forms of life, the universe and their Creator and doggedly pursued the truth throughout his whole life. He often expressed his gratitude for having had a chance to be ‘part of it all’.
A voracious reader, he began collecting books in his home town of Rochdale, Lancashire, England and continued when he emigrated to Ottawa in 1956 and moved to BC in 1974.
Nothing excited him more than to walk into a used book store titillated by the prospect of discovering a Tarzan book or science fiction he lacked, or an English boys’ book that would complete a collection. In later years, his interests expanded to books on spirituality and philosophy which enriched his life immeasurably.
His second great interest was gardening. That led him to his teenage apprenticeship with a dahlia grower, studying horticulture at the University of Edinburgh, working at the Experimental Farm in Ottawa, and to productive years with the City of Ottawa Recreation and Parks where he rose from gardener, through city arborist to Deputy Commissioner.
From 1974 to 1996 he served as Director of Recreation and Parks for the City of Burnaby. He had a passion for creating public access along the waterways and green pathways across the city. The residents of Burnaby continue to benefit from his far-sightedness in planning.
During his 24 year retirement in Chilliwack, he enjoyed creating a beautiful garden and growing from seed in his backyard greenhouse. He accepted a leadership role in AMORC (Rosicrucian Lodge) early in his retirement. As we settled into the community, he became involved in the Chilliwack Museum and the Lions Club thrift store.
The Rotary Club honoured him with the Paul Harris Fellowship award in recognition of the many hours he spent sorting and pricing for their annual book sale. Handling books was not work!
He supported the Chilliwack United Church and attended a weekly Bible Study asking his “annoyingly tough” questions always in his gentlemanly manner. Through the church, he had the opportunity to apply his talent for amateur dramatics.
There was no best actor award like the one he won in the Dominion Drama Festival in 1967, but he played a great Scrooge! He was spiritually fed by regular meditative walks through Minter Gardens. None of Dennis’ abundant energy was wasted! He was a contented man!
Dennis valued love deeply and we who love him are firm in our belief that love never dies.
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