Address by Lil Boddez / Photo by Lucie Roy
Editor’s note: Ninety-year-old Morinville resident was honoured Friday night with the Legacy Award during the Annual Volunteer Appreciation Evening. What follows is the speech given by Lil Boddez outlining Madame Riopel’s legacy of accomplishments.
By Lil Boddez
What an honor for me to share with you this nomination for a very special lady for the Legacy Award. I have known her for a long time and she is so deserving. What I’m going to say only skims the top of what this lady has accomplished. We do not have the time to list it all.
This lady is Raymonde Riopel. She was born on August 7, 1920 to Joseph Perras and RosAnna Huo, one of Morinville’s founding families. Her father was very politically inclined as well as a great businessman for that time. He served in various capacities throughout the Town. He owned one the first butcher shops, a livery stable, a hotel and had a very successful trucking business as well as a garage. He was an instrumental part of bringing electricity to the Town in 1924, as well as building wooden sidewalks along main street. He volunteered to serve as the major fund raiser for these and many projects in the Town. He passed down these many attributes to his daughter Raymonde who worked right along with him in her growing up years.
Raymonde got her teaching degree and began her career in 1939 at the age of 19 years. She taught for 45 years, retiring from teaching in 1985. In those 45 years she taught a great number of students and in some instances, two or three generations.
Raymonde married the love of her life, Roland Riopel in 1946. Roland was also a descendant of a founding family (Armand Riopel). Raymonde and Roland raised five children, three girls and two boys in the Town of Morinville. She has always resided in Morinville and still lives in her family home.
She was a very active lady, she taught school, raised her family and still had time to volunteer and run a successful insurance business for over twenty five years. She was a member of Les Femmes Christien (Christian Ladies) group, and is currently a member of the Catholic Women’s League. After retiring from teaching, she was a school trustee for the Thibault School District. She has always been very active in St. Jean Baptiste Church, her parish community, as well as keeping up with everything going on in the schools and with her past students, as well as with the Alberta Teachers Association. She is very quick to call and congratulate someone on a job well done, particularly her past students. She has a passion for history and has been a resource person for many people. She is currently a member of the Historical and Cultural Society, as well as a member on the naming committee for the Town. She was a member on the committee who published the third Pictorial History book for the Town. She still serves as a consultant on many various committees.
A personal passion of Raymonde is leadership and public speaking, two very important qualities of volunteer. She coached many students, as well as her own children on how important these two attributes are. Many of her students and her children credit her coaching and teaching as one of the reasons for their success. The remnant of those teachings laid the ground work for many volunteers today.
Raymonde, like her father has always been and still is very active politically. Even though she may not be out and about as much today, she certainly keeps tabs on where and what might be happening in government, school business and general happenings around town.
She was and still is a Grand Lady and truly is one of the best ambassadors that the Town of Morinville can have.
Thank you Raymonde, for passing down that great foundation of volunteerism and a wonderful legacy for us as we begin the next 100 years of Morinville.