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Pegeen Brennan

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Pegeen Brennan

December 20, 1928 - September 17, 2013


Pegeen Brennan died peacefully on Sept. 17 at home, surrounded by family.  She was 84 years old.  Born in Ashcroft, B.C., she lived her early years in the Cariboo, where her father was a cowboy on the Gang Ranch.  The family lived in a tiny log cabin in remote sagebrush and timber country, where she began her lifelong love of horses.  At age seven, her family moved to the Brennan grandparent’s farm in Orillia, Ontario, but after her mother died tragically of polio she and her three sisters were brought up by aunts and uncles.  In her late teens she returned to B.C., to Fernie, where her father was a coal miner.  She married there, but later divorced, moved to Vancouver, and attended UBC.  She wrote poetry and novels, and became a Senior Instructor in the English Department at UBC, where she met her best friend and husband, Lee Whitehead.  She loved especially the years she spent teaching in the interdisciplinary Arts One program.

            Pegeen and Lee retired from UBC in 1987 to a log house surrounded by sagebrush and timber in the Okanagan, which they made their perfect place, with horses, cats, many wild birds, and a wood-working shop.

            Pegeen is survived by her sister Sandra Gabriel (George Gabriel); her brother Desmond Brennan (Barbara Chipperfield) and their children Jesse and Kelsey; her husband Lee Whitehead, their son Paul and his wife Lenore, their daughter Lael Whitehead and her husband Richard Iredale, their three granddaughters: Lauren (Blake Wilder), Marlies, and Julia; by a great-grandaughter, Kymera Wilder, born August 21, 2013 to Lauren and Blake; by her foster daughter, Meltem Brennan; and by numerous Brennan and Zimmerlee nieces, nephews, and cousins

Pegeen wanted to be remembered especially by two of her poems: “No Sting” (2005) and “Love” (1977):




is nothing to fear


It sits

–  a solid rock  –

on the other side

of a low fence

in a warm niche

where you once sprawled


Wait and see


When you crawl back over

and settle into its stony crease

your interrupted bliss

will come swarming back

and you will bask in


as before




Do not think love can be coffined


it slips the oak paneling

to course the underground

toward the loved one


Along the way

some crystallizes as quartz

or as coloured gems

some solidifies as silver or gold


Some, like mine for you,

bursts the surface

in joyous streams,

tumbling wild

in diamond cataracts


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Pages: 12

From: Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service Staff

Nunes-Pottinger Funeral Service Staff send our condolences to family and friends.

From: Ross & Gisela Labrie
Relation: Colleague

Peg was one of those whose warmth and compassion made the English Dept. at UBC, however fleetingly, a communal space.

From: Nina Fischer
Relation: neighbour

I am so sorry to hear about Pegeen. She was a great lady.
My thoughts are with you all.

From: Crispin and Jan Elsted
Relation: Friends and colleagues

Dear Lee and Family,
We are so sorry to hear of your loss. Peg was a loving and enriching woman, and always made one feel better for every conversation or passing smile she gave. Bless her, and our love to you, Lee, and all your family,
As ever, Crispin and Jan

From: Tony Dawson
Relation: colleague, friend

Dear Lee:
I was saddened to hear the news about Peg. I remember well her warmth and spirited collegiality around Buchanan. And fond memories too of the little place on Galiano. My very best wishes to you at this difficult time.

From: Jan de Bruyn
Relation: Colleague and long-time friend

Lee, I was devastated to hear that Pegeen had died. I seem to be hearing of death frequently. I cannot tell you how terribly saddened I was by the news and I send you my deepest condolences. I often recall my last visit, and how our friendship deepened on that opccasiion.. When you are able, please drop a line. Love Jan

From: Herbert Rosengarten, Amanda Goldrick-Jones
Relation: Colleague and friend

Dear Lee, We’re thinking of you and hoping that you’re OK. We have wonderful memories of Pegeen, her warmth, her marvelous sense of humour, and we shall always keep a place for her in our heart. Much love, from Herbert and Amanda

From: Marian Gravelle ( nee Albo)
Relation: Friend of the Family

To Peg’s family, I was in shock when I read about Peg in the Fernie Free Press, Peg will always hold a special place in my heart, I knew her as a little girl and as a young adult, then she left Fernie to further her career. I last seen Peg at the Fernie Re Union and she signed her book for me, which Iwill cherish forever, also I recently lost my daughter and Pet sent me a card and letter. Peg was a beautiful lady both inside and out, her smile will remain forever in my heart. My sincere sympathy goes out to Pet’s family and all those who were near to her.

From: Betty and Mauno Nikkanen (nee Albo)
Relation: Met in Fernie

When Pegeen came to Fernie, all our family just loved her from the beginning, missed her when she left for Vancouver to further her career.
We met with her a few times as we live here and were fortunate to visit her and Lee at their place. Our deepest condolences to Lee and family.

From: roger and claire horton
Relation: friend

We have been thinking of you during this time, and offer our condolences now. We will miss those occasional meetings and pleasant exchanges with Pegeen who always made us feel as if we were a friend rather than an acquaintance.

Pages: 12

Service Schedule

Private service arrangements have been made.

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