Feb. 8, 2017
Altona – A Mass of Christian Burial for Father Gilbert O. Boisvert, 71, pastor of Church of the Holy Angels in Altona and St. Louis of France Church in Sciota, was held Feb. 6 at Holy Angels.
Bishop Terry R. LaValley presided at the funeral Mass with priests of the diocese con-celebrating.
Father Boisvert died Feb. 2 at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh after suffering from a number of health issues in recent years. Burial will be in the spring at the family plot at Calvary Cemetery in Massena.
He began his studies for the priesthood in 1963 at Wadhams Hall Seminary in Ogdensburg. He completed his theological studies at St. John Vianney Seminary in East Aurora, New York before his ordination May 22, 1971, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg by Bishop Stanislaus J. Brzana.
Father Boisvert’s first assignment was as assistant pastor at Our Lady of Victory Church in Plattsburgh before being assigned assistant pastor at St. Alexander’s Church in Morrisonville in 1976.
For many years, beginning in 1977, Father Boisvert served as teacher and spiritual director at Mount Assumption Institute in Plattsburgh prior to its closing and merging with St. John’s Academy.
While teaching, he also assisted at St. Joseph’s Church in West Chazy on weekends.
He was named pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Treadwell Mills in 1984 until his appointment to Altona and Sciota in 1991.
Father Boisvert was known for his creativity, his devotion to family, students and parishioners, and for his parish dinners which none in Clinton County could rival.
He is survived by his sisters, Marie Irene Boisvert of Virginia; Racheal (Mark) Travis, Massena; brothers, Lawrence ( Viola) Boisvert, Massena; and Rene (Anna) Boisvert, North Carolina; and also by several nieces and nephews.
He is pre-deceased by his parents, and his brother, Amie Boisvert.
Memorial donations may be made to Holy Angels Roof Fund or the Priests’ Retirement Fund of the Diocese of Ogdensburg.
(A reflection on the life and ministry of Father Boisvert appears below.)
Rest in peace, Father Gilbert
By Mary Lou Kilian
This week, our diocese faces the sad burden of bidding farewell to another beloved priest.
Father Gilbert O. Boisvert, though challenged by years of sickness, leaves behind parishioners, students, family and friends who cherish the joy he brought to their lives.
His many friends in Chancery Office remember his good-natured support for their work and, from among other accomplishments, the excellent Bishop’s Fund dinner he organized for so many years.
We’ve also heard that his parish dinners were not to be missed, drawing the biggest crowds of any in the Clinton County area.
RoseAnn Hickey of Lake Placid has fond memories of Father Boisvert from her years as diocesan director of youth ministry.
“I truly loved Father Boisvert, she wrote in a Facebook message after the news of his death was shared. “Every time I did a retreat with his Confirmation students, he would give me a bouquet of flowers. He was such a good man.”
She later told me, “I first met him when I was Director of Youth Ministry and had to make the rounds of Bishop Fund Dinners. He was in Treadwell Mills and his dinner was the best. The place was decorated beautifully and the food was delicious.
“I've heard him referred to as The Martha Stewart of the clergy,” RoseAnn said. “He decorated for every holiday. He was in charge of Father Roland Gonyo's funeral. They had been good friends.
“In the last few years, he impressed me with his never give up spirit,” she said. “The parking lot was icy one time when I went to Altona to do a retreat. As I was getting out of the car, I saw him trying to walk to assist me. Such a gentleman.”
Father Boisvert’s parishioners loved their pastor enough to put some money behind their words.
An October, 1991 issue of the North Country Catholic featured a full-page advertisement titled “A Tribute to Father Gilbert Boisvert, pastor, St. Joseph’s, Treadwells Mills, Plattsburgh, NY.”
Along with a collection of photos of Father Boisvert with people of the parish, the page included these words: ”heartfelt thanks from the parishioners to our beloved Father Gilbert for his many years of dedicated service.
You will be sorely missed. Our prayers and best wishes for good health, much happiness and continued success go with you.”
Our prayers for Father Boisvert continue this week as the bishop, priests of the diocese and many others who loved him gather one more time at Holy Angels Church in Altona, the parish he has served since leaving Treadwells Mills 26 years ago.
Rest in Peace, Father Gilbert. Rest in peace.