October 2, 1944 – April 18, 2020
It is with heartfelt sorrow, I advise the peaceful passing of my beloved Dennis, in his 76th year, on Saturday, April 18th, 2020, after a courageous battle against an aggressive brain tumor.
It is a comfort to reflect on his career. Dennis enjoyed a varied and fascinating life. He was born the 2nd child to John and Rose Nagy in Yorkton, Saskatchewan on 2nd October, 1944. He attended school in Willowbrook, Yorkton and Winnipeg.
He joined Air Cadets and was selected to attend summer camps on Sea Island in BC each year. The family moved to Winnipeg and Dennis joined a new Air Cadet group. Through a great deal of hard work, he was awarded a flying scholarship and attained his private pilot’s license. He attended the Manitoba Institute of Technology, taking an electronics and radio operator’s course which led to a position with the Department of Transport in a four-man weather station in the North West Territories, where he was able to save sufficient funds to purchase his own aircraft. He spent many days, putting in flying hours to reach commercial status and accrue valuable ‘left seat’ Captain hours.
His first commercial flying job was transporting fish and freight in Northern Manitoba. In 1966 he took a position with an Australian airline flying in New Guinea. Returning to Canada he was employed by Lambair, then Midwest Airlines which merged with Transair, flying northern routes and water bombers. He was part of a crew who delivered an Argosy 65 from Winnipeg to Safe Air in Blenheim, New Zealand. He trained on the B737 in Ireland. Through a merger in 1979 with Pacific Western Airlines, he moved to Captain on the B737. Canadian Airlines International merged with PWA and Dennis trained on the B747 400, flying Asian routes from the Vancouver Base. He moved onto the B767 as Captain, remaining there until his last flight in December, 2001 with Air Canada, a career of 32 years.
He loved sailing, mastered the rudiments, and took part in many regattas in the Caribbean racing with PWA crews, or chartering with friends.
He longed to go offshore sailing, so took early retirement, outfitted his beloved 42ft sailboat and set sail with his wife, Sandra, on their great adventure. Fourteen months later they landed in Opua, Bay of Islands, New Zealand, having visited many places en route: USA ports, Mexico, Galapagos Islands, French Polynesia, Easter Island, and the Cook, Nuie and Tonga Islands.
Returning to Canada they settled in the lovely Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island where Dennis met new interesting friends who shared his passion for aircraft. Next, he built his own helicopter, a mini Bell 47 ‘Mash’ type, and he had a number of exciting day trips with family and friends.
He then moved on to 3D printing, building a printer and turning out interesting items from parts for a radio headset to a playable ukulele.
We took three cruises together: a short one with the Flight Attendant group, one up to Alaska with family, and our wonderful birthday present of a cruise around South America – circumnavigating Cape Horn – something dear to our hearts.
Dennis took pride in his family and watching the grandchildren grow. He loved and taught the boys fishing and introduced them to flying skills on computer simulator programs. The boys loved to go driving with Poppa in his truck – especially when it was a treat to Tim Horton’s.
Dennis was predeceased by his Father and is survived by his Mother. He will be greatly missed by his wife, Sandra, Adam Saunders, Lara (Gregory) Nikitas, grandsons Christopher, Alexander and Andreas Nikitas, his siblings Allan (Sadie) Nagy and Emily (Nestor) Frykas, his many nieces and nephews, numerous Aunts, Uncles and cousins, and his friends who enjoyed his intellect and engaging conversations. Dennis was a gentle soul, kind, considerate and thoughtful and blessed with a brilliant mind.
A private farewell will take place in Duncan, and a small celebration to honour Dennis will be planned when the Covid 19 crisis has passed. Dennis’ ashes will be interred with his father in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
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