We Remember


January 1, 1970 — January 1, 1970

We announce with great sadness the death of Roy Denis, much loved father, husband, brother and friend, suddenly of a stroke at Vernon Jubilee Hospital. He was 85 years old and had been long retired in the Okanagan Valley after a full career with the City of Calgary Electric System.

 Roy was born in 1928 to Tim Denisenko, a Don Cossack, in the village of Pokrovskoye in the former USSR. At that time, economic and political turmoil were beginning to destroy normal life in that region at the boundary of Ukraine and Russia, not unlike today. His father, a highly regarded farmer in the region, remembered the Russian Revolution well, and was hounded off his land. Roy grew up in fear of NKVD, the Soviet Secret Police, a forerunner of the modern KGB and Russian FSB. The family successfully hid from the police because Tim used the ruse that he was a film projectionist for the Communist Party. Upon arrival in a provincial town, they would register with the local Commissar, sometimes using false names to escape discovery, and would move on when Tim sensed danger, explaining only that the film had finished its run and it was time to leave. While this protected the family from arrest, deportation and execution, it left young Roy with no stability. The family spent terrible war years in Europe behind German lines and eventually arrived in Italy as displaced persons after the war ended. Roy’s brother Tony and sister Faina were born in Europe after the war while the family waited for better circumstances.

Roy received a generous grant from the Italian government to study electricity and electronics in Rome, where the family lived. He had happy memories of playing ball on the Spanish Steps and always loved the warmth of the Italians. He continued to have a working knowledge of Italian the rest of his life. He emigrated from Hamburg to Halifax some years later, brought his family to Canada and moved west to Southern Alberta, where they settled near Stirling and Raymond and began farming again. He met an Irish nurse, Dympna Flanagan, at a Calgary dance sponsored by the Nurses’ and Electricians’ Unions in 1958. They settled, raised two children and eventually retired to Peachland, BC. Later in life, Roy met Olena Bramble and they lived happily together for many years in Lumby, BC.

 In his final decades, Roy managed to find some peace in his life with his siblings and children, as the trauma of wartime Europe grew distant. Still, he always worried that Russian agents would find him in Canada and carry out terrifying retributions, as he had witnessed with his own eyes as a young boy. He never fully recovered from his awful childhood memories, nor learned to trust Canadian institutions to guarantee his privacy, safety and security. His experience tragically mirrors that of many Canadians who arrived through Halifax, fleeing dictatorships or other oppressive regimes, grateful to find a welcoming home in a wealthy, stable democracy, but with heavy baggage still to carry.

 Roy always loved the weather, gardening and outdoor life of the Okanagan, especially fishing. He was a good square dancer and was proud to stay in shape and active throughout his retirement in many activities with the Peachland Seniors Centre. He is survived by his partner Olena Bramble (Lumby), former wife Ruby (Oltmanns née Dympna Flanagan, of Peachland), a son Gerald (Boston MA), daughter Corinne (Calgary), sister Faina (Edmonton), brother Tony (Creston); nephews Trent (Edmonton), Curtis (Edmonton) and Michael (Calgary); and grandson Finn (Boston).

 A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 10:00 am at Springfield Funeral Home, 2020 Springfield Road, Kelowna, BC with interment to follow in Peachland Cemetery. 

 In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada (www.heartandstroke.com). For those wishing to send a condolence, photos or share memories, may do so by scrolling down this page to the area called “Share Your Condolences”.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 10:00 am

Springfield Funeral Home

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Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada Link: www.heartandstroke.com


Service Information

Service Details

The service for DENIS, Roy is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 10:00 am . Below you will find the map for the service location and the contact information should you have any questions.

Address & Contact for Service Location:

Springfield Funeral Home

2020 Springfield Road Kelowna, BC


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  • Lori, Paul, James and Lucas Schoettle says:

    Our most sincere condolences to you and your family.

    • Gerald Denis says:

      Thank you Lori and Paul, you’re very kind. I know Corinne especially would appreciate it if you were to join us Tuesday. Did she mention she is getting married next month? It’s rather a lot of emotion to pack into a single season. My very best to you, Gerald.

  • Leblanc /Smith Family says:

    Corinne and family,

    You are all in our thoughts and in our prayers during this difficult time.
    Wishing you peace to bring comfort, strength to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.

    All our love,

    Mom, Dad, Blake and Aline.

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