Past and present mayors among those saying goodbye to Dale Hodges

Article content

In the end, three mayors Dale Hodges served with came to remember him on Saturday; he outlived two others.

The three living former mayors and a fellow council member remembered the city’s longest-serving council member as a tireless and meticulous official who will live on by his accomplishments.

Article content

And a common thread ran through those tributes to Hodges, who served on the city council for 30 years and who died Dec. 31 after a long illness: endless saved papers and mischief.

Advertisement 2

Article content

“Dale read everything and Dale took everything,” former Mayor Al Duerr told mourners gathered at Parkdale United Church.

“We thought it was a mess of paper, Dale considered it a treasure.”

But those accumulated documents, which filled his City Hall office and overflowed into a minivan, were often Hodges’ ace in getting things done around town, his former colleagues recalled.

Former city councilman. Bob Hawkesworth said written phone lists were instrumental in mobilizing citizens against provincial government legislation that would have halted efforts to complete the creation of Nose Hill Park in the late 1980s.

“Next time you walk or bike down Nose Hill, remember the power relationships Dale built from those pieces of paper,” Hawkesworth said.

Hodges was first elected as a Ward 1 councilman in 1983, beginning a 30-year career that spanned 10 consecutive terms until health problems led him to retire in 2013. His term on city council was the longest in City Hall history. calgary City hall.

His service dates back to the days of Don Hartman and Ralph Klein’s terms as mayor. Both men have died.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

Hodges’ dedication to the city and his neighborhood led to the eastern portion of Bowmont Park being named after him in 2019.

“When people enjoy that park forever, they will mention his name, which is a fitting tribute to a man who built this city,” said former Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Nenshi Hiodges
Former Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi offers a tribute during the funeral of former councilor Dale Hodges on Saturday. Photo by DARREN MAKOWICHUK /postmedia

As for capers, a favorite word of Hodges’ that denotes what happens at City Hall, few were as connected and insightful as former Ward 1 and Bowness stalwart, he said.

“Not only did he know capers, he created them most of the time,” Nenshi said.

“He knew when a thing was right and when it was going to go wrong.”

His tireless hard work and commitment to serve, Nenshi said, made Hodges the epitome of selflessness.

The longtime councilman’s work contributed to the creation of the Enmax Legacy Parks program and the preservation of Baker Park, The Dougas Fir Tree Sanctuary and Varsity Ravine Park.

While Hodges’ tendencies even raised fears that his office had become a fire hazard, it was a small price to pay for the good work he did, said former Mayor Dave Bronconnier.

“He was always willing to fight for the little one,” he said.

Advertisement 4

Article content

A little-known act of generosity was Hodges’ decision to buy a bus and hire a driver out of pocket to transport Bowness school children during a year when a safe road could not be built for them, parishioners heard .

“He loved his job and he loved his city,” said community activist and Hodges confidant JoAnne Atkins.

hodges filing cabinet
Then-Councilman Dale Hodges reflects on a discussion in the council chamber in this Nov. 29, 2011 photo. Photo by STUART DRYDEN /postmedia archive

Although she never served with him on the council, current Mayor Jyoti Gondek said at the meeting that Hodges’ reputation for rigor and preservation has endured.

“Dale was a strong advocate for community involvement…he is a special member of our family,” said Gondek, who noted that his role as a librarian before entering politics means Hodges served the community for 46 years.

Hodges’ tenure on city council was not without drama.

In the early 2000s, then-president of the local Hells Angels chapter, Ken Szczerba, had planned to blow up Hodges’ house after the councilman blocked plans for a new clubhouse for the motorcycle gang.

Szczerba was jailed for a year after a trial in which Hodges testified against the gang boss.

Hodges is survived by his wife of 52 years, Yvonne.

[email protected]

Article content

Leave a Comment