Jack Boudreau (1933-2018)
January 25th, 2018
Born on February 4, 1933 in the small community of Penny in the central B.C., located between the McGregor and Upper Fraser Rivers, Jack Boudreau, of French/Austrian descent, devoted his professional life to British Columbia’s forest industry working as a licensed scaler, industrial first-aid attendant and forest fire fighter mostly with the Ministry of Forests.
Boudreau spent more than fifty years studying grizzly bears in their mountain habitat during his spare time, later resulting in his book Grizzly Bear Mountain. He also spent many years fighting wildfires for the Ministry of Forests and eventually was employed full-time with them until his retirement in 1993. He spent eleven years acting as postmaster and an additional ten years as a licensed scaler. Other part-time jobs included sawmill work, cruising timber and guiding.
Wild and Free (Caitlin $24.95) concerns the life and times of the cranky, legendary mountain man Skook Davidson, as recalled by his protégé Frank Cooke. Arriving in the Kechika Valley in 1939, Skook was known for throwing the cork into the creek whenever he opened a bottle of whiskey, thereby ensuring it would all be consumed at once. Wild and Free has humour, famous people (the Prince of Iran), tragedy and “lots of fighting.”
Sternwheelers and Canyon Cats: Whitewater Freighting on the Upper Fraser (Caitlin 2006) recalls the men who made their living running the rapids of the Grand Canyon of the Fraser River that reputedly swallowed more than 200 rafters between 1862 and 1921. A total of twelve steamers worked the upper Fraser during that period bringing freight and supplies to northern B.C. before the onset of the Grand Trunk Railway. [For additional information, see below.]
Jack Boudreau shared his adventures as a mountain climber, fisherman and naturalist in King of the Mountain, and his previous eight BC bestsellers–Whitewater Devils; Trappers and Trailblazers; Sternwheelers and Canyon Cats, Crazy Man’s Creek, Grizzly Bear Mountain, Wilderness Dreams; Mountains, Campfires and Memories and Wild & Free. In a review of Whitewater Devils for BC Studies, Anthony Dalton wrote, “Jack Boudreau is a fine historian, with an obvious passion for tales from his home province.”
His Crazy Man’s Creek won the Jeanne Clark Award for Local History in 1999, a distinction earned by the public’s nominations and presented by the Prince George Public Library’s Board. Boudreau later lived in Black Diamond, Alberta. “I have a lot of gratitude for Jack’s dedication to publishing with Caitlin Press,” says Publisher Vici Johnstone, “his books were popular, his readers were loyal, and his books made a major contribution to the Caitlin Press rural list.”
Jack Boudreau died at age 84.
Review of the author’s work by BC Studies:
Whitewater Devils: Adventure on Wild Waters
Wilderness Dreams & Frontier Cultural Complex
King of the Mountain (Caitlin 2014) 978-1-927575-42-0
Whitewater Devils: Adventure on Wild Waters (Caitlin Press, 2010) 978-1-894759-46-5 : $22.95.
Trappers and Trailblazers. (Caitlin Press, 2009)
Sternwheelers & Canyon Cats. (Caitlin Press, 2006)
Wild & Free. (Caitlin Press, 2004)
Wilderness Dreams. (Caitlin Press, 2003)
Mountains, Campfires & Memories. (Caitlin Press, 2002)
Grizzly Bear Mountain. (Caitlin Press, 2000)
Crazy Man’s Creek. (Caitlin Press, 1998)
[BCBW 2018] “Outdoors” “Forestry”
Hello: I’m indeed very proud to have been a FS work associate of Jack’s while working in PG from ’89 to ’94. I couldn’t believe it when I was informed (recently by another fellow work associate), of his “author-ship”… WOW! Being the private(?) individual he was, who’d’ve ever guessed! And, his style of writing… so genuinely down-to-earth and forth-right, is my favourite kind.