My good friend Dennis Peters died on 14 April after a very short bout of cancer. He was in his 69th year.
Many years ago Dennis said to me, “I fly under the radar.” By flying under the radar, few realized the full extent of Dennis’ activities in the Ottawa and national railfan community. However, he was a force to be reckoned with and was involved in many activities. He grew up in Lowertown and experienced the changeover from steam to diesel. He was a founding member of the Bytown Railway Society and, even before that, was involved in the unsuccessful attempt to save the Grand Trunk Railway station on Lebreton Flats. But Dennis’ railway enthusiasm was firmly founded from being employed by Canadian Pacific as a brakeman in this area working at both Ottawa West and later at Walkley Yard. Later he was with Omer Lavallee in CP Bygones before moving to Ottawa with Parks Canada and Canadian Heritage.
Dennis enjoyed rail travel both in Canada and elsewhere. We had a great trip to Moosonee and explored a little of the Ottawa Valley.
Dennis’ collection of employee timetables, railway plans and other memorabilia is legendary and he was quick to share this, especially as a member of the Ottawa Railway History Circle. After retirement he became involved with the C. Robert Craig Memorial Library and had just become President. With the recent changes to the publication of Branchline Dennis had become one of the editors where he was able to exercise one of his many skills – the art of writing good English.
I wrote above that Dennis was a good friend. He was more than a friend. He was a mentor. He was my idea of a true senator. Ask him a question and he would respond thoughtfully, not necessarily with the answer you were looking for but with sober second thought.
Dennis Peters’ knowledge and experience is irreplaceable and his passing has left a great gap. He will be missed. - Colin Churcher
PETERS, Dennis James
Parks Canada / Canadian Heritage
Peacefully at home in Ottawa on Thursday, April 14, 2016 in his 69th year, after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. Beloved son of the late Joseph John Peters and Annette Marguerite Benoit and husband of the late Dawn Carol Walker. He will be sadly missed by his children, Shannon Peters, Christine Peters (Steve Montroy), Jacqueline Peters (Julie Barton), Tara Nye (Wise), Lisa (Nye) Labonté; Christine Nye (Corey Mask), and Rebecca Hammond; their grandchildren, Thomas-Joseph, Teagan, Peter, Brienna, Owen, Nathan, Émilie, Connor, Téah and Ben. Dennis will also be missed by his many friends and work colleagues at Parks Canada, Canadian Heritage and the Canada 150 team. His greatest passions were his gift for putting thought to paper as well as an extensive interest in all things railway related, including travel, history and operations. Friends are invited to visit at the Central Chapel of Hulse, Playfair & McGarry, 315 McLeod Street (at O'Connor)F on Wednesday, April 20 from 1:30 p.m. until Dennis' Celebration of Life in the Chapel at 3 p.m. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Ronald McDonald House of Ottawa, in memory of Dennis Peters.
Published in The Gazette from Apr. 16 to Apr. 18, 2016