The Trent University community is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of John de Pencier, former Board chair, honorary degree recipient and remarkable community leader.
From the time he received a phone call more than 40 years ago asking to support the ‘parent fund’ when his daughter Jan was attending Trent, Mr. de Pencier made a profound connection with the institution. In 1981, he joined the Trent Board of Governors and served with the Board for 12 years, five of which he served as chair. Mr. de Pencier was also chair of the Advisory Committee of the highly successful Beyond Our Walls Campaign and he served as chair of the Trent Foundation. In 1993, Mr. de Pencier was recognized with the University’s Eminent Service Award and, in 2002, he received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Trent University in recognition of his years of public service and dedication to the University.
In reference to his many contributions, Mr. de Pencier’s obituary in the Globe and Mail states: “Education was deeply important to John and while he did not attend university, there was no greater source of delight to him than supporting his children and wife through fourteen university degrees, perhaps most notably Marni's Ph.D. where he was with her every step of the way. John was the most worthy recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Trent in 2002.”
In further tribute to Mr. de Pencier and in recognition of his passion for nature conservation, the University established a new nature trail in 2008, named in his honour. The John de Pencier Nature Trail, a two-kilometre trail located in the Canal Nature Areas on the east bank of Trent University’s Symons campus, was made possible through the generosity of Mr. de Pencier’s friends and family who established the John de Pencier Fund for Trent’s Nature Areas.
Outside of Trent, Mr. de Pencier was a retired insurance executive who distinguished himself as a governance volunteer for many Canadian institutions. He had a long association with Trinity College School where he was chair of the Board, and has served on the Boards of both the Toronto Symphony and the National Ballet. Mr. de Pencier was also a founding member of the Canadian Paraplegic Association and a director of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. In addition, he served as chair of the Council of University Board Chairs.
The University extends heartfelt sympathies to Mr. de Pencier's family and friends, and to all who knew him. In honour of Mr. de Pencier, the University will lower the flag atop the Bata Library to the half-mast position on Friday, December 21.
A funeral service for Mr. de Pencier will be held at 11 o'clock a.m., Saturday December 22, 2018 Christ Church Deer Park, 1570 Yonge Street, Toronto.