After a courageous battle with cancer, Denis Lavigne passed away peacefully on August 15, 2020 with his family at his side.
Left to cherish Denis’s memory is his beloved wife of forty years Barbara; father Raymond (Elda Levesque); son Jason (Aimee); daughter Ashley Smook (Matt); and grandchildren Madison, Mason, Avery and Lindsey. Denis will also be deeply missed by his brothers Mike (Denise) and Rick (Donna); sister Gisele of B.C.; and his beloved furry companion Cody. Denis was predeceased in life by his mother Gertrude.
Denis was born on June 17, 1956 at the St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg. He grew up in the St. Vital neighbourhood, attending Dakota Collegiate. Denis had an entrepreneurial spirit even as a boy. At age 14, after having worked for Dickie Dee selling ice cream, Denis did some calculations and realized there was money to be made! So, with his father, young Denis started a bicycle powered ice cream service called “Snow Boy”, which was eventually sold to Dickie Dee. Having accomplished this feat, Denis set his sights on a new goal, his flying license. After working 8 hour night shifts at 7-Eleven, while still attending his high school classes during the day, Denis had saved up enough money to pursue his dream.
At age 16, Denis obtained his private pilot’s license. Denis was passionate about flying. One of his and Barbara’s first date was a surprise trip up in the sky, not just the going-out-for-breakfast he had initially sold her on. It must have been a good flight because they were married in 1980. It was because of this very enthusiasm and love of flying that it was devastating to him that because of the airline industry’s poor economic climate of the 1970’s, that he could not find full time work as a pilot. So naturally he did what anyone in his position would do, he decided to open Winnipeg’s first indoor miniature golf course. His first location was off Pembina Highway, and was soon followed by a second on McPhillips Street.
After having run the miniature golf courses, he and Barbara moved with their children to B.C. in 1989. In 1995, they returned and settled for some time in Winnipeg before moving out to Stony Mountain. It was here that Denis started to pay attention to the gravel trucks passing by and thought it would be a nice relaxing career. He soon found a company to take him on and support him in his training. By the time Denis realized that it was a life of 18 hour days, six days a week, it was too late, he was already hooked. Denis was passionate about driving truck, arguably as strongly as he was for flying. He truly loved what he did and the people he would meet along the way.
Besides truck driving, Denis had a sweet tooth and was a notorious candy robber. But most of all, Denis loved his family, especially his grandchildren, more than anything. A true kid at heart himself, he could often be seen out on the trampoline with the kids or spinning in the saucer swing until he got sick.
Denis was truly one of a kind and will be missed by all who knew him.
In accordance with Denis’s wishes, cremation has taken place and a private family memorial will be held.
The family extends their gratitude to the staff at the Selkirk Regional Health Centre, Medicine Unit 2, especially Sara.
For those who desire, please consider a donation in Denis’s memory to CancerCare Manitoba.
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