11/13/2013 03:18 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST

Dennis Oland wrote of bond with father forged on water aboard family boat

Dennis Oland and his father once spent long and contented days together, cruising the waters of the St. John River aboard the family boat.

But those periods of family bonding between Richard Oland and his three children contrast with sworn affidavits from police in New Brunswick, who describe occasional arguments between father and son.

Dennis Oland, 45, faces a charge of second-degree murder in the death of his father, whose body was found on July 7, 2011, in his office in Saint John.

Before Oland's death, Dennis wrote an article for the Royal Kennebeccasis Yacht Club describing river cruises on the Aloma with his father and two sisters.

"We all love our boats and have wonderful memories of years past. This is my story and the story of a wonderful boat that many had the pleasure to enjoy," he wrote.

In the article, Oland says "my father would take the family out on the Aloma as much as he could."

"My sisters and I grew up on this boat and with my father as the captain you could always count on a big adventure for every trip and he never let us down," he wrote.

"Dad knew the boat better than anyone and he was certain to make sure that I learned all I could about the boat and the river."

Dennis describes how Richard Oland was soothed by days spent on the water.

"Dad was completely at peace on the Aloma and these were the best of times for our family."

But police affidavits and a recent biography of the Oland family and its brewing empire depict tensions among members of the family.

More than 30 years ago, Richard Oland was involved in the operations of Moosehead Breweries Ltd., but a book about the company says he had a falling out with brother Derek Oland over who would take over the business from their father.

Harvey Sawler says in his book "Last Canadian Beer: The Moosehead Story" that Richard Oland left the company in 1981 and quotes Derek Oland as saying his brother was "an argumentative type" in a passage that describes an acrimonious relationship at the time.

Court documents released this fall quote Dennis Oland as telling Saint John police he and his father would occasionally get into arguments.

"He would occasionally have big fights with Richard Oland but they would blow over quickly," Const. Stephen Davidson of Saint John police says in a sworn affidavit.

The document contains claims not proven in court.

A friend of Dennis Oland, who worked as an investment manager, says he was active in community affairs and loved yachting.

Gary Howard, a vice-president of marketing at the Canadian Automobile Association, said in an interview in 2011 that Dennis Oland was elected chairman of the association's division in the Maritimes from 2002 to 2006.

He would share the occasional coffee or beer with Dennis, who was involved as a volunteer in the community, whether working with local schools or on the board of the YMCA.

Oland devoted himself to his volunteer role with the association and the YMCA, Howard said, adding: "It wasn't just taking a seat (on the board), he did it for the right reasons."