Obituary of Denis Groom
DENIS JAMES GROOM
Died peacefully at Peterborough on Friday, January 26, 2018 at the age of 85. Beloved husband of Valerie to whom he was married for 56 years. Much loved father of Sharon (Robert Polese), Diana (John Mullinger) and David (Natalie). Proud grandfather of Gillian, Ian, Matthew and Hannah. Brother of Deirdre Hill. He will be fondly remembered by his extended family, many friends and colleagues.
Denis was born in 1932 in London, England but grew up in Zimbabwe and received his B. Comm from the University of Cape Town. He articled with Deloitte in Zimbabwe before taking the ship back to London in 1959 during which voyage he met Valerie, whom he married in 1961. In London he joined the accounting firm Cooper Bros. & Co. where he became a partner, and they had their two daughters Sharon and Diana (Sharon during an assignment in Newfoundland). In 1967 he was recommended by the Bank of Montreal (the province’s bankers) and the province’s main bond agent to become a financial advisor to Premier Smallwood in Newfoundland. He was also appointed Deputy Minister of Finance and during his tenure was the direct link between the government and the world’s financial institutions. He and his family were very happy in St. John’s and made many close and lasting friends. He left in 1969 to return to London as Chairman and CEO of Roneo Vickers Office Equipment Group before being promoted to Director of Finance for Vickers Limited and a member of the Board. During this period his son David was born. In 1974 he was lured back to Newfoundland when presented with the opportunity to restructure the province’s electrical energy grid, becoming Chairman and CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro which had assets totaling over $1.25 billion. In 1978 he decided to return to the commercial sector and was appointed Managing Director of Cunard Shipping line, which entailed dividing his time between New York and London. While this position was perfect in many ways, as Denis and Valerie had many happy memories of travelling by ship, the family was in England so the frequent separations took their toll. Denis thus decided to move back to Canada in 1982 and joined Air Canada in Montreal, where he became Group Vice President – Marketing and Planning and remained there until his retirement in 1990.
In his retirement Denis pursued his love of golf and tennis, and he and Valerie divided their time between Knowlton, Quebec, Folkestone, England and St. Pete’s Beach, Florida as well as continuing to travel around the world. In 2000 they moved home base to Peterborough, Ontario where they lived on Chemong Lake and Denis took out his speed boat as much as possible. To quote Den’s favourite Louis Armstrong song, “What a wonderful world!”
The family will receive friends in the Chapel of ST JAMES-THE-LESS, 635 Parliament Street on Saturday, February 3rd from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Service to immediately follow. Donations gratefully accepted to Parkinson Canada at Parkinson.ca. Condolences, photographs and memories may be forwarded through www.humphreymilesnewbigging.com.