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By Jerome Lessard - The Belleville Intelligencer
Ralph LePoidevin had the uncanny ability to make people feel very welcome and everybody around him happy.
This is how both the voice of the Belleville Bulls and Belleville city councillor Jack Miller and the team's director of business and operations David Steenburgh will remember the long-time Bulls ambassador.
LePoidevin died Monday at the age of 87.
The man who ''loved the Bulls' and was known in the Belleville community for attending games at the Yardmen Arena wearing a tuxedo had recovered from a stroke at Belleville General Hospital in November 2007.
LePoidevin was married to Gloria Belanger 58 years. Belanger died in Belleville in July 2006.
Steenburgh recalls meeting LePoidevin before he joined the Belleville OHL team as its director of business and operations.
“I used to be a teacher and I knew Ralph as a foster parent through the school and a kid they welcomed in their home became very connected with the Bulls by helping out down in the dressing room and assisting with our equipment manager,” said Steenburgh.
When he joined the Bulls, Steenburgh was pleased to re-connect with LePoidevin. He described the Belleville resident as a ''wonderful'' ambassador for the Belleville team.
''I was surprised, wow there is Ralph working with the Bulls,'' he said.
''And right away we had that bond from years past. Ralph was really approachable. He worked with a lot of sponsors and brought back a number of sponsors on. He was the kind of guy who did the little things when everyone was so busy.''
Miller has known LePoidevin for as along as he has been involved with the Bulls, close to 20 years.
''He was one of those people that when you saw him he was always smiling, he always made you feel good and he had that joy of life about him that was very infectious,'' said Miller.
LePoidevin was not considered a full-time employee with the Bulls, but as an ambassador selling advertising and doing public relations through his love for hockey and the team.
''He did this in his retirement and almost as a hobby,'' added Miller,
''But at the same time he became an integral part of the marketing team with the Bulls. He was the team's immediate contact with the fans on game night.''