Memorable Manitobans: Noel Jean “Neil” Vadeboncoeur (1892-1963)
Businessman, athlete, veteran.
Born at Bathgate, North Dakota on 25 December 1892, son of William and Cora Vadeboncoeur, he came to Canada in 1904 when his father opened a business at St. Pierre. Educated at St. Boniface College, he served in the First World War with the Canadian Engineers as a sergeant-major instructor and then was a commissioned officer in England. In 1919, he was employed by Carter-Halls Aldinger Company. He later became general manager and vice president of the subsidiary Western Drainage Company. By 1940, he had started his own company, which was incorporated in 1944. He was involved in such major construction projects as the Lake Vadenais Aqueduct for the City of St. Paul (1925-1927), the initial development of Seven Sisters Falls (1930-1931), and the Queen Elizabeth and Alaska Highways.
Characterized by a strong civic spirit, he contributed to the Red Cross and was president of the Young Men’s Section of the Board of Trade (1935). Additionally, he was one of the directors of the Back to the Land Assistance Movement during the thirties and was a past president of the Prairie Road Builders section of the Canadian Construction Association (1948).
From 1909 to 1913, he played baseball in the Manitoba Rural League where he was a pitcher. He served on the advisory board of the Winnipeg Maroons Baseball Club and in 1935 was president of the Monarch hockey team. In his later years, he was a backer of the Anciens, the St. Boniface College team. A bird fancier, his collection included such varieties as African love birds, Java rice birds, and miniature quails.
His first wife Cecile died in 1957 and he later married Jeanne of Elm Creek. He had five children: George Vadeboncoeur, Noel Vadeboncoeur, Raymond Vadeboncoeur, Jean Vadeboncoeur, and Cora-Rose Munro Vadeboncoeur. On 3 December 1963, he died at Deer Lodge Hospital and was buried at Chapel Lawn Memorial Gardens.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 4 December 1963, page 31.
This page was prepared by Sarah Ramsden.
Page revised: 7 February 2014
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