Daughter bids final farewell to father and popular restaurant chef

Dennis and Edna in front of the Stagecoach restaurant with two medieval guests part of the May 1973

Dennis and Edna in front of the Stagecoach restaurant with two medieval guests part of the May 1973 Ely Centenary Celebration. Picture: FAMILY - Credit: Archant

There are many Ely residents, families and businesses who knew Dennis and wife, Edna Kancir, my parents.

My parents had been the proprietors of the Stagecoach Restaurant, now a Thai restaurant, between 1960 and 1984 - Dennis the head chef and Edna the restaurant manager.

Many families will have fond memories of special occasions and family gatherings at the Stagecoach.

Others will remember working either for Dennis in the kitchen or alongside Edna in the dining areas.

My parents had built up a good business reputation and were well-respected and popular. Your previous editors will no doubt recall eating across the road from their old offices.

Former employees commented on being made to feel like part of a family. My parents showed great commitment to their staff and were equally rewarded by loyal and dedicated employees.

Dennis married Edna May Green at St Etheldreda’s Catholic Church, Ely on September 3, 1955.

Most Read

They made Ely their home and brought up their three children, Julie-Ann, Vivien and Paul, where all family members supported local community and charity events.

In 1983, Edna was confined to life in a wheelchair having been injured in a tragic car accident.

Not able to cope with Ely’s hill, nor continue working in the busy restaurant, Dennis and Edna moved to Orton Longueville in Peterborough and adapted to a new way of life.

They took up Bridge, enjoyed gardening and visits from their growing family. It had been a wrench giving up their life’s work and family home.

Dennis was a quiet and unassuming man, someone who built long-lasting friendships.

Dennis took on his role as main carer until our mother passed away in 2008. In 2012, with failing eyesight and hearing, he moved to London into an assisted living flat close to his eldest daughter, where he spent eight comfortable and well-cared for years there.

Ely meant so much to him, the magnificent cathedral, the river and surrounding Fens. Dennis was always grateful to former staff and good friends who supported him throughout his life.

On Friday, April 17 having just celebrated his 94th birthday, Dennis passed away peacefully in his sleep. He is survived by his children and eight grandchildren. He will be sadly missed.

Owing to the COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a close family and friends funeral service in London on Thursday, May 14 followed by a memorial and internment at the Holy Trinity Church in Orton Longueville at a later date still to be confirmed.