November 8, 1950 – August 28, 2019
At the age of 68 years Dennis Fentie passed away privately and lovingly surrounded by his partner Lorraine and daughter Fiona.
Dennis is survived by his wife Lorraine Nixon, daughter Fiona Simpson, husband Parry and grandchildren Christa and Nicolas Tascona of Coquitlam, B.C. , His children Jason Nixon, wife Andrea, Grandchildren, Abigail, Austin and Ava of Edmonton AB; Allison Nixon and grandchildren Carter and Jillian Nixon – Fassotte of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Dennis was predeceased by his mother Mary Fentie, his father Gordon Fentie as well as numerous Aunts and Uncles from Alberta and B.C.
Born in Alberta, Dennis moved to the Yukon with his placer miner mother “Mary Minerals” in 1962. He spent the better part of his early youth in Watson Lake until he was sent out to school to live with his favourite “Uncle Joe” in Edmonton. During his latter teen years Dennis fell into a bad crowd and troubled times as sometimes befalls youth. He paid dearly for his mistakes but it was a life altering experience. Dennis refused to let his past define him and returned to Yukon determined to move forward and live a new productive life. Dennis often referred to his troubled past as his “Best Lesson in Reality” and major turning point in his life.
In the years ahead, he became a community leader and spokes person, business owner, hockey coach, team sport participant and chamber of commerce director. Dennis continued to develop many skills and to build a network of friends and associates in the mining logging, transportation businesses throughout Yukon communities.
In 1996 he obtained an official pardon and proudly declared “The slate is clean, clear and closed. I have officially repaid my debt to Society!”
Dennis was a direct, focused individual who was respected for his tenacity, honesty, and no nonsense approach to private and public sector business.
Raised by a single mother who prided herself in thinking independently and never relying on the “system” to provide her with financial assistance taught Dennis that hard work and self reliance were key assets to success as an individual.
His mother’s mantra “Lead, Follow or Get Out of My Way” was adopted as his own after her passing.
In 1988 Lorraine entered his world and he was forever smitten with his “Tulip” at his side to support him in the years ahead as his career changes took them into the world of politics.
In 1999 his beloved daughter Fiona was reunited with her Dad after searching for him for years. The reunion was a “treasured love” and brought immeasurable joy to them both.
As Premier of Yukon, Dennis was a tireless champion of Yukon and Yukoners. The achievement that gave him the most satisfaction was obtaining significant increases to health care funding transfers. New hospitals in Watson Lake and Dawson City, WL and Dawson Senior Centers, and Whistle Bend Extended Health Care Centre will serve as his legacy and contribution to the social fabric of the Yukon.
After his retirement as Premier of Yukon in 2010 Dennis spent many years riding his Harley motorcycle, driving his jet boat down Yukon Rivers and BC lakes, mentoring young entrepreneurs, providing counsel as a director on several mining companies, building a southern summer holiday retreat home with Tulip and relaxing with family and friends raising a glass of Guinness in salute to the “Good Life”.
He will be affectionately remembered by many close friends and colleagues and loved unconditionally by family “Til we see ya on the other side” dear heart, Dad and Grumpa!!
A “Celebration of Life Service” will be held at the Kwanlin Dun Cultural Centre on November 8, 2019 at 2 pm. Everyone welcome to attend.
Lorraine, Fiona, Jason, Allison and family would like to express heartfelt thanks to so many family and friends for all the love and support during this very difficult time. Special thanks to Dr. Tanis Secerbegovic and Dr. Ngozi Ikeji for their help in Dennis’s care in and out of hospital. Also all the parties involved helping repatriate Dennis home to Yukon to honour his last wish. In lieu of flowers please make contributions to the Canadian Cancer Society and or register as an organ donor on the Gov’t of Yukon website.
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