Honourable senators, I rise today to pay tribute to Acadian builder Gilbert Doucet, who passed away on May 14.
Born in Petit-Rocher in northern New Brunswick, Mr. Doucet worked in many different fields and wore many different hats throughout his life, a life that was marked by a strong commitment to his community. After he completed his studies at Université Saint-Joseph in Memramcook, Gilbert Doucet began working at Assumption Life, an insurance company and flagship Acadian institution, in 1954. He worked his way up the ladder until he became the president and CEO, a position he held from 1985 to 1989.
Throughout the course of his distinguished career at Assumption Life, Mr. Doucet was also very involved in his community. He was a member of the Ordre de Jacques-Cartier, also known as La Patente, a secret men-only society that promoted the interests of Catholic French Canadians.
It would take all day to list the organizations, campaigns and causes he cared about. To name just a few, he was involved in the Société Nationale de l’Acadie, the newspapers L’Évangéline and Le Matin, the Catholic scouts movement, the Dieppe library and the Dieppe credit union. More recently, he took an active part in the campaign to save the Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption Cathedral in Moncton.
He received many plaudits for his work and volunteer involvement, including the Université de Moncton medal of honour and the New Brunswick government’s award for excellence. Well known for his good-natured, gregarious personality, Mr. Doucet left a lasting mark wherever he went. His devotion to the well-being of his community was apparent to all who knew him.
Honourable senators, leaders like Gilbert Doucet are vital to the development of any community. A dedication to multiple causes, both big and small, and a willingness to volunteer time and energy are the defining traits of people like Mr. Doucet, who build strong relationships between a community’s members and its institutions. He left his stamp on Acadia, and Acadia is grateful for it.
Colleagues, please join me in celebrating the life of Gilbert Doucet, a proud Acadian who was involved in his community to the very end.