Above: Gib Boddez with his 1967 S-33 Meteor at a cancer fundraising event held in Morinville Aug. 16, 2014. – Morinville News File Photo
by Lucie Roy
Morinville News Correspondent
Gilbert (Gib) Boddez was born and raised in Riviere Qui Barre (RQB) in a family of six – two boys and four girls.
His parents Andre Boddez and Mathilda Belanger married In November of 1939 at St. Peter’s Church in Villeneuve. Gilbert was the first son, born in In March of 1941, and was followed by siblings Andrea, Simonne, Gordon, Lena, and Doreen.
“We were raised in a rural/urban atmosphere,” Gib said of his childhood years, adding their farm yard was in the Hamlet of RQB, something that allowed them to have children around all the time but also the responsibility of daily chores like milking cows and feeding pigs.
Boddez went to school in RQB and after Grade 12 went to work at the Royal Bank in Morinville. He said he was there three and a half years and transferred five times, the last one to High Level. “High Level at that time had one mile of road and could only be accessed during the winter,” Boddez said. “I had a fairly new car and a new girlfriend. That was not a good mix, so the job had to go.”
He quit the bank in December of 1961 and married his girlfriend Lillian (Lil) Williams Aug. 1, 1962. This summer, the couple celebrated their 54th wedding anniversary.
Gib and Lil Boddez have two children: Sandee and Bradley (Brad). Sandee, the oldest, is a school teacher. She is married to Dan Blackburn, and they have three children – two boys, and a girl.
Son Brad Boddez had a Bachelor of Education and taught for ten years. He is a City of Edmonton firefighter and also the Fire Chief for the Town of Morinville. He also owns and manages the Body Shop Fitness Facility.
Gib and Lil moved to town in 1962, the year they got married. Lil opened up a hair salon on 100 Avenue where the Royal Bank is now. The shop was on the main level, and the couple lived in an upstairs suite.
They built their current house in 1964 and moved in a year later. Lil had her shop in the house.
Gib Boddez went to work with Sturgeon County in 1962 and became the County’s CAO in 1971 and held the position for 27 years until 1998. He spent 36 years in total working for the County.
After taking on the CAO position he registered with the University of Alberta’s Department of Extension and after of correspondence and weekend attendance, he received his Certified Local Government Mangers (CLGM) designation.
Boddez said he enjoyed politics and was also on Council for a stint of six years during the 1960s. During his political run, he was new in town. But being the political kind of guy he was, he did not like what was happening. He and fellow Morinville resident Roger Champagne decided to run for Council and got in.
Council was not Boddez’ only community involvement. He served on the Morinville Volunteer Fire Department for 11 years and retired from there as Deputy Chief. “I loved the adrenaline rush when the fire siren or fire phones would go off,” he said.
Boddez is currently an active member of the Rotary Club of Morinville and proudly promotes it.
“I belonged to most of the clubs in town,” he said. When Darryl Ripple and Duane Gibb came to my office and asked if I would like to join a new club called the Rotary Club, which they were trying to start, I said, ‘What the hell do you want to start another club for in this town? We have enough clubs already. You see the same faces at all the clubs.’ But I went along with it to try it out. Rotary is by far the best of all clubs and it gets things done. You have the top people in the companies and decisions can be made without having to go back to get approval from their superiors. It’s a great club, and I’m glad they invited me and I joined.”
Gib said half of his family are Rotarians in this club – family members include his brother Gordon, sister Simonne Chevalier, and her son Joel Chevalier.
Boddez has also been a honourary member of the Catholic Women’s League (CWL) and has been involved with them through his wife for more than 40 years.
Together with his wife, Lil, the couple’ have spearheaded some legacy projects, including the church clock tower, a water fountain honoring past mayors, trees along 100 Avenue, the church’s recent time capsule project, and the erection of a Peace Light in St. Jean Baptiste Park.
The couple has also been playing the part of Mr. and Mrs. Claus at the Town of Morinville’s Lite Up the Night Christmas Parade for several years.
Boddez enjoys antique cars and has had a couple of them in his life. He still has the car he bought right out of the showroom from Pelletier Ford Sales in 1967, a 1967 S-33 Meteor. The car was restored to original condition and won a trophy at the 2016 Rock ‘N August event in St. Albert. He has been going to the event for the last six to eight years and has managed to take a trophy in four of those years.
“It is sort of unique; there weren’t that many Meteor S-33 built and not that many around,” Boddez said of the car. “It is Candy Apple Red and sort of eye-catching.”
As pastimes go, Boddez said he also enjoys fishing but has not had a chance to go out that much. He said he also enjoys woodworking and does not mind doing some mechanical work.
But despite a long and varied personal and professional career, Boddez sees his greatest accomplishments as seeing his children grow up and be successful. “I think that is quite a feat,” Boddez said. “When we got married I was 21 and my wife was 19, and we got married and really didn’t know bugger all about anything. We had a family and grew up in a family with having the responsibility of kids. That’s all of a sudden a real life changer, and some people can do it, and some people have trouble with that and consequently probably split and the rest of things that happen when they can’t get along or see eye to eye on stuff. My family has done well.”
Boddez and his wife are enjoying retirement. They’ve been taking a couple of months off in winter and going to Mexico for about 15 years.
“It is like going home to family as it is the same people that go at the same time at that resort,” he said. “The people have kind of taken us under their wing. If my future can continue further than next few years, it will be just great.”