Fantastic father, great community citizen, friend, and educator.
These are the words Raechel Tupman used to describe her father, Dennis Tupman, who died Dec. 9 in Victoria. He was 86.
Dennis was well known in the South Cariboo, where he and his late wife Ruth bought a cabin in the 70 Mile-Green Lake area in the 1980s. When he retired, they moved here permanently, she said, living in a house on the lake until they moved to 100 Mile House in 2016.
Her dad was hugely involved in the community, especially the arts, community band and the church. Indeed, when the church lost its minister Dennis and others stepped in as lay ministers to lead services. He was also very supportive of the local businesses, gently reminding everyone to shop locally.
“He made significant purchases from the hardware store, JJ’s Home Inspirations and he did all his vitamins and stuff from that little place on the corner,” she said. “Donex was one of his favourite stores.”
Tupman said her dad was a person who genuinely enjoyed people. It became a joke when people came to dinner – they had no chance to eat because he was always asking so many questions. He was also a prolific letter writer to the 100 Mile Free Press. He moved to Victoria in 2021.
His death prompted online messages from friends in the community. In a letter after he died, Sandy and Bruce Madu recalled how influential Dennis and Ruth were to the 100 Mile House arts scene.
“When we arrived and were just getting into volunteering for the Festival of the Arts, the Performing Arts, and the Art Council they were retiring from all these societies,” the Madus wrote. “Their footprints are on many of the things we do in these societies even today.”
Hedy Buurmeester remembers how she and Dennis would joke around before and after services.
“Me trying to teach him Dutch words, him failing miserably. He was a caring man, always asking how I was, and when I fell off of a ladder and had serious injuries, he sent me a letter, calling me a stubborn Dutch woman (in good fun) and signed it ‘A stubborn Englishman’,” she wrote. “Sure missed him when he moved to Victoria.”
Tupman has her own memories of her father: Snowmobiling at Green Lake, his gardens here and in Vancouver, his duck whistle and all the lives he touched. She especially remembers him as the father who showed up at the Royal Bank in Vancouver where she worked on her birthday to play Happy Birthday on his saxophone.
‘He just made the most of his time here on earth, that’s for sure.”
A service in Dennis’ memory will be held in Vancouver April 1 as a nod to her fathers’ silliness, said Tupman.
There will also be one planned in the 100 Mile House area for late spring or early summer. Dennis was predeceased by his wife Ruth in 2020.
“We’ll be spreading his ashes up there.”