On Monday night at the regular monthly meeting of Richmond County council in Nova Scotia, a moment of silence was held for Lorenzo Boudreau, a personality who held a special place in the public life of the municipality.
Boudreau, who died Feb. 16 at the age of 94, had attended more than 900 council meetings of the Municipality of the County of Richmond. The Cape Breton man was such a fixture in the public gallery that he was named an "honorary councillor" in 2002.
Boudreau was a veteran of the Second World War and a former garage owner in Arichat. He was also very inquisitive, asked tough questions and was a champion of democracy who had a deep appreciation for what he had fought for during the war, according to his grandson.
"To him it wasn't something to take for granted; it was something that you needed to be involved in on a personal level," said Jason Boudrot, a lawyer in Port Hawkesbury.
'You should have been at the meeting'
Boudrot remembered how his grandfather would respond sometimes if a person from the community asked him about issues that had come up at council.
"'You should have been at the meeting. You should go to these things.'"
Alvin Martell of West Arichat, who has served 13 years on council, said Boudreau always sat behind him in the gallery and was never shy to either ask questions or make observations.
"I think he was an historian at heart," said Martell, who added that when he had strong feelings about something, such as saving the old county courthouse from the wrecking ball, he spoke his mind.
Martell said although the municipality wants to sell the vacant building, it will try to include a clause in the sales agreement that its outside appearance is to be preserved.
'He created for us an archive'
Boudrot notes that while his grandfather is gone, his knowledge of the local Isle Madame community is ever-present in scrapbooks, newspaper clippings and in his own historical notes.
"Because he recorded so much of it, he created for us an archive. He did record a lot of what was in his head," said Boudrot.
The family wants help to transfer all his records to digital form so they can be shared on Facebook and other platforms, for all to see.