August 14, 2016
November 21, 1951 - August 14, 2016
Den departed this beautiful earth in Vancouver after a fatal cardiac event. All who knew him will confirm he was one of the sweetest and gentlest souls they ever knew.
Den was born in Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ontario, and moved to Toronto with his family in 1960. There, he spent his early days until he moved to Vancouver with the wave of hippies, curious young people, and other searchers who arrived in Vancouver in the early 1970s. Once he reached Vancouver he knew he was home.
Although Den spent his early working life in construction and later as the building and maintenance supervisor for the Vancouver Immigrant Services Society his true avocation was mathematics, specifically geometry, which he studied and considered for decades, his final papers and writings amounting to many of thousands of pages. He is remembered to this day as the discoverer of "The Roussel Triangle", a theorem extension of the famed Morley Triangle. His triangle can be found on the internet - a fitting memorial to his fine mind.
Although he's gone he will live on in my heart for the many delightful characteristics that made him special.
I remember him as a young guy 4, 5, 6 years old and unless he was on his way to church or, later, school he would be marching around wearing a kid's carpenter belt nearly all the time, sawing, hammering and putting things together.
He never lost that interest in buildings things or understanding how things worked.
When he would visit my home in the east, within a day or two the cracked, broken, poorly fitting things in the house would be repaired. He noticed it. He repaired it. Barely a word from him.
I remember his smile. If you got a quiet smile from Den you knew you had done well.
I remember he was always glad to see you.
Den was a very able musician in his late teens and early twenties, playing first baritone horn with the Toronto Optimists from 1967-1970, and winning several awards in brass duet, trio, quartet and sextet categories.
Den was a master crossword puzzle solver. He would sit on the bench in the lane way at Mole Hill in Vancouver on nice days solving the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle. He was very good at that.
Den seldom got angry - unless you happened to be on a road trip and you refused to stop at every historic plaque or point of interest on the route.
I remember his encyclopedic knowledge of matters that interested him. He had more than a layman's understanding of many subjects - physics, astronomy, music, electricity, literature, history, and many more. In his teens he became a Napoleon expert, citing details of early 19th century battles and intrigues.
Den was all those memories and more to me. But even more importantly he was one of my very best friends and one of the smartest people I ever knew. I'm sure Den would agree to me modifying a beautiful quote from Rabindranath Tagore's writings: "Say not in grief that he is no more, But say in thankfulness that he was." I shall miss him terribly. (Ray Roussel)