The North Hastings Community Fish Hatchery has lost a friend with the passing of Denis Brown at age 79.

Denis was there from the beginning. He was recruited by founding member of the hatchery, Denis LeFeuvre, to be on the first board of directors. Friend, and fellow hatchery volunteer, Ron Bowman, says, “Denis had worked for Ontario Hydro and was an iron worker before that. He knew all about pumps. He was a handy kind of guy. He knew all about tools.”

Bowman recollects the first days during the construction of the hatchery when Denis was on-hand to help stain the lumber that is now on the front of the building along with a group of others who all pitched in to assist.

Right from the start Denis took on the role of operations manager and that never changed. “He was retired but he spent a LOT of time at the hatchery,” says Bowman. In the beginning there were lots of mechanical problems and Denis was always ready to help.

Denis, and his wife Elaine, had previously volunteered with the Fish and Game Club. He is remembered for his teaching of the safe gun handling courses. Bowman remembers that Denis wouldn’t take any nonsense and would read the riot act at the start of the course so everyone would pay attention.

Denis was also a car enthusiast and had raced at one time. This is a pastime of a number of the volunteers at the hatchery and it was something Denis enjoyed.

There is no replacement yet for Denis Brown. These are going to be large shoes to fill.