This is to celebrate a life well lived. A man who could strike up a conversation anywhere, any place at any time. His laugh was distinct and his sense of humour was always on. He loved to joke, do impersonations and make people laugh. If you asked Dad how he was he would say excellent! Or Excellanto or even Excellanto Tonto. He was always positive and comfortable person that people felt they could talk to, a very thoughtful conversationalist.
Darrell Dennis Legge DAZ as he was known to his family was a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and friend. He came from a large family of 9 Children and His father was with the British Government stationed in Trinidad. The Family lived on beautiful estate; He described it like it was paradise. He was born with polio and was lucky to walk thanks to the love and daily massages that his father gave him, helping to bring circulation to his legs. The bond forged here was strong and Darrell had a deep admiration and respect for his father. Seldom did he challenge his father’s judgement.
Once walking it wasn’t long before he was running and then riding horses. It was his love for horsepower that had him wanting to fly. As soon as he could He moved to Canada to join the Air Force and to become a pilot around the time of World War 2. This is when he met his first wife Jean.
After a harsh cold winter in the east and a visit to the west coast where they were experiencing a very mild winter he decided he would move to Vancouver. Later he wished he had moved to California as he was never comfortable with Canadian Winter
Dad started his sales carrier as a travelling salesman with Campbell’s Soup and found he was very good at selling. He eventually found his way to selling cars at Bow Mac on Broadway. Darrell excelled at car sales and met many interesting people along the way. Dad was Sales Manager at the time when Jimmy Pattison was General Manager. He liked to tell the story of how Jimmy asked him to come with him as he was going out on his own. Dad wanted to but past up the offer because he felt the responsibility of an ever growing number of mouths to feed and could not take the risk.
But he excelled at selling Cadillacs and General Motors of Canada awarded him the Master Salesman title several years running and he had numerous trophies of achievement that earned him the nickname Mr. Cadillac
He loved the deal and worked many long days putting deals together. He was an Entrepreneur and later partnered to run Columbia TV and Stereo with Len Margolis, this partnership flourished and together they bought and grew Scotties Furniture, as well as investing in apartment buildings. Dad could have someone new to Vancouver in to a Furnished Apartment with a TV and a Stereo and one HFC payment to cover it all…all at the blink of an eye.
Around this time Columbia came out with and ad campaign that Had Darrell Dennis on the side of the bus and Darrell Dollars hanging up inside to promote TV sales. I tried bringing some Darrell Dollars to my Dad to redeem for cash. Apparently I did not read the fine print and no I did not want to buy a TV.
Later Dad would get back into the cars and most notably, an exotic car lot on 12th and arbutus and later Truck Stop Auto Sales.
Along the way 3 wives, 10 kids either by birth, adoption or marriage and 9 grandchildren
Always loved a good story and loved the game of getting you to believe what he wanted you to believe. Like the time Dad got Eric to believe he was Tarzan. Dad proved he was Tarzan by breaking open a previously broken but carefully reconstructed Coconut with his bare hands. When Eric witnessed this he was convinced and told all his friends at school what he believed now to be the truth. Dad was Tarzan. Eric was quite upset when he found out this wasn’t true.
Dad loved his clothes, belts, shoes and cowboy boots. He had numerous suits from Brandy and Wine for Men, lots of shoes the same but in assorted colours to match different outfits. Shirts and ties made from the same flowered materials. Style, Flare and Pizazz…that was DAZ. Dad always liked to look good and of particular importance was his hair. He always carried a comb to address any out of place hairs and would freak out if you touched his hair. I would help him put on helmets in such a way as to disturb as few hairs as possible.
One week I was away at camp and when I came home I got picked up by my Mom at the Ferry as we walked back to the car I could see it was Dads car and he was in the passenger seat with his head bandaged up, I freaked out and immediately thought that something terrible had happened, car accident, brain damage, worse… As it turns out Dad had just come from having had hair plugs put in his bald spot. He was not going to go bald without a fight. He also survived 2 heart attacks in his 50s and beat Bladder cancer about 25 years ago.
He taught me real life skills like bartering, negotiating a deal and smuggling turtle skin cowboy boots across Mexican borders. Sometimes maybe not always the best role model, but he was always riot to be with, never a dull moment. The thrill of waiting in a Laredo Texas Walmart waiting for Jose to deliver the boots, wondering if we have or will be ripped off and if we were going to make it home to the hotel that night. I exaggerate a little because the truth is I always felt safe with Dad, He could talk his way through anything most anytime.
3620 Westmount Court, the house he built and lived in until his passing, 53 years in one home, it was his goal to live out his days in his house and he probably could not have done that without his last wife Ann. Ann loved and took care of Dad and they had spent all their time together for the last years. I wondered how people still fell in love and got married at 85 years of age, but, I saw in the last days just how much they loved each other. Love does not care how old you are.
Speaking of Love, Dad loved Babies and Puppies. His love for babies was obvious but he once told me he found nothing more intoxicating then Babies Breath, he loved the scent. His Love for Animals especially dogs Juliet, Mitzi, Chrissy, Buster, Scooter, Ginger, Chloe, and Tiny and of course Corky was ever flowing. He could often be seen with a dog under his arm and of course we know that Corky was so very dear to him. He rescued dogs, Ginger my dog of 14 years he found her in a Back Alley in Mexico, Aunty Pam was with him, and he almost ran over this potato in the middle of the road and then he stopped and found it was an abandoned puppy. The vet said this abandoned puppy wouldn’t make it but Dad would not accept that and he bottle fed that little pup until she could eat on her own and then he raised her in his RV while on the road. Ginger thanked him by eating the RV couch. This was not going to be a little dog, so he asked me to help him find her a home. I did, my house…
He loved anything with an engine but especially Cars and motorcycles. He was known by his signature ride, the Mercedes Benz 300sl gullwing. That car was iconic to Darrell and he owned it for close to 50 years. From times when Mom would drive us to school in it, to Sunday fun day washing the car and going for a spin on the highway to see what she can do. Every kid in the house wanted to drive it and most did without permission, and most got caught. When Dad would drive it to work, Jim Pattison would make him park it on the road, “that German Crap can’t be beside our Cadillacs!”
Perhaps his favourite things were motorcycling and travel, which later became travelling in his RV. But Motorcycles was the hobby that we both loved. When I was a baby he would put me in front of him on the motorcycle. At 5 years old I was already getting too big for that so he put me on a trail bike, Mom was less than thrilled. For 36 years we rode together, everywhere, West Coast Mountains, trail n and trials riding. Then I turned 16 and we hit the road, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Mexico and Germany. In one day we rode from Yreka California where we ate breakfast to Vancouver British Columbia where we had dinner in Chinatown. Dad loved to ride.
When I think of my Dad I think Style, Class and Respect. He had a love for people, animals and life. He will be missed and not soon forgotten, some of us will never forget him. He was “Excellent.”