by Derek Volk

We have lost another VPC legend. I am sad to announce the passing of Denis Labonte. Denny worked with us as a truck driver for over 35 years. No one who met him will ever forget that unmistakable booming voice.

I was six years old when Denny came to work at Volk Packaging, so I have basically known him my entire life. I remember going on the road with Denny delivering to customers when I was no older than 10.

I can still recall making a delivery of boxes to Camden Tanning with him. They gave me a chain full of colorful leather samples. I saved those (although I’m not sure why) for many years. It was cool at 23 years old to not only go back to Camden Tanning as their sales rep but have Denny as the driver for most of my territory.

I often met Denny somewhere on the road to pick up a sample or send one back to Biddeford. We would often meet at a Dunkin so I could buy him a coffee and some donuts, even though he had probably already stopped at Cole Farms.

Denny was probably the strongest person I’ve ever known. He loved to cut wood and it showed in his barrel chest and Popeye arms. When Amy and I moved from Bangor to Portland it was Denny who stopped at our apartment so we could load the VPC truck with our entire household. When we arrived in Portland, we were trying to use the dolly to get our top/bottom washer/dryer into a tight closet. Amy was worried we would tear up the linoleum floor.

As I was wiggling the dolly back and forth Denny pushed me aside and with his giant voice said, “Let me see that!” He then picked up the washer/dryer, dolly still attached, and literally walked it into the closet like he was putting away groceries in a pantry. It was something I’ll never forget.

Our customers, especially the ladies, loved when Denny arrived at the docks. They would hear his voice, like the Pied Piper, all come over to say hello. Denny will be greatly missed by his friends, family and everyone at Volk Packaging who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him. Rest in peace, big man.

Derek Volk is Chief Executive Officer at Volk Packaging Corporation in Biddeford, Maine.

Spread the love