On March 31, Tennis Canada lost one of its great builders, Jacqueline Lemieux Boutet. The former Chair of Tennis Canada’s Board of Directors passed away peacefully following a long illness, unrelated to the pandemic.
Mrs. Lemieux Boutet was the Chair of Tennis Canada’s Board of Directors from 1995 to 1998, becoming the first woman to hold this position in the history of the organization. As a member of the Board of Directors, she had previously led strong lobbying efforts with the three levels of government in order to raise the necessary funds for the construction of the Tennis Centre in Jarry Park, now IGA Stadium. This support became crucial for the future and the development of Tennis Canada following the ultimatum issued by the ATP Tour which considered that the former baseball stadium at Jarry Park was no longer suitable to host a major tournament on the men’s professional tour. It was under her leadership in 1996 that the new stadium came to be, on time and without going over budget.
“Jacqueline was a fighter in her life as a businesswoman as well as in her volunteer activities. She was a natural at getting the people around her to support her projects. It is thanks to this strength that she was able to save the Canadian Open in Montreal with Richard Legendre,” recalled Eugène Lapierre, Senior Vice-President, Quebec at Tennis Canada. “Jacqueline was a great leader for our organization, and we owe her a lot, starting with our magnificent stadium. Those who knew her will think that her last victory, her final moment of pride, was to not have been taken by this horrible virus.”
Mrs. Lemieux Boutet always involved herself in the community and continuously increased her volunteer efforts. In 1995, she was awarded the Order of Canada medal, while in 2002, she was named Volunteer of the Year (Dollars-Morin Award) by Sports-Québec. One year later, in 2003, she was inducted into the Canadian Tennis Hall of Fame as a builder.
It was quite late in her life that Mrs. Boutet started playing tennis, but the sport quickly became her passion. True to herself, she constantly worked on improving, well into her 70th year!
(Feature photo: Le Necrologue)