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Calgary’s longest serving council member, Dale Hodges, dead at 82

Dale Hodges, Calgary’s longest serving alderman who led a colourful and committed 30-year career for the city, has passed away at the age of 82. 

Hodges served 10 terms on Calgary city council, from 1983 to 2013, representing Ward 1 in the city’s northwest.

He sat on numerous boards and committees during his tenure, including transit, planning and the Calgary Parking Authority. 

“It is with deep sadness that we announce Dale Hodges passed away peacefully on Dec. 31 at Agape Hospice following a lengthy illness,” reads a statement from Hodges family sent to CBC News.

“Dale will be greatly missed by Yvonne, his wife of 52 years, family and friends.”

WATCH | Dale Hodges on his decision to retire in 2013

Ald. Dale Hodges in studio

10 years ago

Duration 5:41

Former Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who was able to visit Hodges one last time on Dec. 30, said he personified what it meant to be a public servant. 

“I only got to serve with him … three out of those 30 years, he taught me so much about what it meant to be a real public servant,” Nenshi said in an interview.

“He never forgot that public services, libraries, parks, and the things that improve people’s lives every day are really what matter and that is what he always championed. And it was a lesson I’ve never forgotten.” 

Nenshi said that while he knows the last couple months were difficult ones for Hodges, his mind stayed as sharp as ever. He added that Hodges’ contributions to the city’s parks were some of his proudest accomplishments. 

“Those kinds of spaces where people gather, where people live in community was what was important to him.”

In 2017, a portion of Bowmont park in the northwest neighbourhood of Bowness — Hodges’ former Ward — was named in his honour. 

“[Hodges] played a key role in the preservation of Bowmont Park, Nose Hill Park, and Baker Park, among others,” read the family statement.

Other council members who knew and worked with Hodges said he was a man of duty who felt a deep responsibility to his constituents. 

“Coun. Hodges was an alderman that I admired and inspired to become,” said Coun. Terry Wong in a statement to CBC. 

“He was a man of diligence to do the right things in a fiscally responsible manner.”

Hodges was born in Saskatchewan in 1941 and moved to Calgary in 1952. He worked as a librarian for 16 years for the Calgary Public Library before beginning his career with the city. 

Among Hodges’ career highlights are working for the city during the 1988 Winter Olympics, the opening of the northwest C-Train line, and the expansion of numerous city parks including Nose Hill Park and Baker Park.

Hodges was instrumental in demolishing a Hells Angels clubhouse in Bowness in 1999, and as a result was the target of a bomb plot planned by Ken Szczerba, the former president of the Calgary chapter of the group. 

Szczerba was sentenced to one year in jail and two years’ probation for the crime. 

Over his 30 years of service, Hodges worked with five different Calgary mayors. 

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