SURREY - His striped engineer's hat will be missed.
Dave Penn, who became a fixture in Surrey since starting the Bear Creek Park Train with his wife Linda in 1996, died on Father's Day at the age of 66.
Wearing his engineer's hat, Dave took everyone along for the ride on the locomotives Eddy the Engine and Chough. His staff nicknamed him "Chief " for his opinionated ways of doing things, but always loved working with him, not for him.
"When we got into the train, it was his dream," said Linda. "He loved children and his whole idea was to have a place for fun, family entertainment that was not too expensive."
A Surrey resident for more than 40 years, Dave was a born leader, taking up head positions in Boy Scouts, then- Kwantlen University College and the Surrey
Rehabilitation Society over the years. "He was sincerely interested in people,"
said Linda. "He has been a strong builder of the community for many, many years. I think something people don't know about him is he employed some people who were on drug rehabilitation at the train and helped a lot of people get back into a productive life."
Dave ran the station for 15 years until he became sick in January 2011. He had an enlarged spleen, blood problems and a malfunctioning liver as a result of leukemia.
Linda kept the trains on the tracks in his absence, but after a year and a half, Dave passed away on Father's Day.
"He was a very loving father," Linda said, adding they have seven children and 34 grandchildren. "He was somebody that really cared about his community, that gave back 110 per cent and touched peoples' lives."
Photos of Dave are already on display in the station. Linda will run the business until their contract expires at the end of the year, at which point the trains may stop. She said the city declined to purchase the trains. A memorial is set for 4 p.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at 10122 140th St. in Surrey. All are invited and in lieu of flowers, the family asks people send donations to Vancouver General Hospital's leukemia program.