November 26, 1923 – December 21, 2020
At 4:34 am on December 21, 2020 we lost one of the great ones. With family by his side, Denis John (Earle) Rowse succumbed to complications brought on by his fight with cancer. As was fitting for a man who seldom suffered from so much as a headache, he passed painlessly in his sleep.
Born on November 26, 1923, Denis lived a life that was filled with every joy and tragedy that the world has to offer and through it all, showed us what it means to be a truly good man. He was born and raised in the city of New Westminster along with his two sisters Beryl and Betty. His parents Thomas and Ivy strove to give their children a good life but with the onset of the depression, things became hard for the family and often there was not enough to eat.
As tough as things were it only served to create in Denis the qualities and attitudes that naturally drew people to him. After graduating, he managed to scrape together enough money to head off to university. His schooling delayed his participation in the Second World War so while he was trained as a bomber navigator, the war ended just as he was waiting to be deployed to Europe.
After the war Denis went back to school where he became the first student to ever achieve degrees from both the University of British Columbia and the University of Washington. While working a summer job on the north coast, to earn money for tuition, he was introduced to Charlotte Balagno. The woman he was to marry, who was to stand by him through all the good and the bad right up till the end.
Making a life and raising a family, experiencing all of the highs and lows such an endeavour brings. Charlotte the flamboyant force of nature and Denis her rock, as perfect a team as there ever was.
At the age of 97, most people have outlived their friends and companions. Not so for Denis, who with his wife Charlotte, was forever adding new people of all ages to his social circle. His friendships were many and varied, young, old, male or female.
He made time for them all but what he loved more than anything was getting dragged up on the dance floor by ladies of all ages at the many parties he and Charlotte wouldn’t dream of missing.
Denis worked hard to provide for his family spending most of his career as a manager at the pulp mill and finishing up his working life with the department of fisheries. His off time was spent boating and fishing in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Although he was never ready to give up either of these things, at the age of 92 the skiing came to an end when he broke his leg (fully recovered as fast as someone half his age). He could have strapped on the boards again but didn’t want to risk another broken bone because the first one had really cramped his style.
The boat also became a little too much to handle so over the next few years the excursions around the north coast became shorter and fewer. Even then Denis still enjoyed going down to his boat for a little quiet time, just him and a glass of scotch, or heading up to Shames for lunch and an opportunity to see all his skiing buddies. Also a world traveler, with his wife at his side, he visited virtually every corner of the globe. Trips that continued right up until last year.
His son in law once asked him what the secret was to such a long life lived so well and his answer was that early on he chose to be happy. To look for the good in any situation and let the rest go. A true gentleman you would never find Denis badmouthing anyone or losing his temper. Whether intentional or not he set an example for us all to aspire to.
Denis was predeceased by his sons Baby Denis and Brendan (Betty) he is survived by his wife of seventy years Charlotte, daughter Stephanie (Mark), son Sean (Ann), daughter Hilary (Tim), and son Judson (Sarah). As well has twelve grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. His family would like to say thank you, for all the care and kind words that we have received from so many during this difficult time.
There is no question that Denis led a full and rich life with more years under his belt than many are given. Yet it is still hard to say goodbye. But say goodbye we must and when we are through these COVID times we will be inviting all his friends to join us in sending him off in a truly fitting fashion.
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