On Jan. 21st, Red Deer lost one of its greatest international humanitarians to cancer. That man was Dr. Monty Audenart, who devoted many decades to serving others on a local and international level, particularly through Rotary.
Audenart had a challenging childhood. He was born on Nov. 14th, 1949, the product of a mixed race, out-of-wedlock relationship. He was placed in an orphanage. Tragically, twice Audenart left for adoption and twice he was returned.
Finally, Ochiel and Gladys Audenart, farm couple from Raymond, showed up. They had already adopted a baby girl named Connie. They then decided to adopt a second daughter, Beverly.
Because the orphanage was overcrowded, the Audenarts were asked if they would also adopt a son. Osh saw a shy little boy in the corner. When Osh called out Monty’s name, the tyke ran over and jumped into his arms. Consequently, Osh and Gladys returned to the farm with a new daughter and a new son.
The Audenarts were very good parents. They lived a very simple life on a farm on the Milk River Ridge. The children were taught the virtues of the hard work. Monty’s mother was also a stalwart community volunteer. As a boy, Monty would go canvassing with her for the Cancer Society.
While there was lots of hard work, Monty and his sisters had a lot of fun. Monty got a reputation as a prankster. Nevertheless, Monty was an excellent student and loved sports, fishing and hunting.
Because he was an active member of the Church of the Latter Days Saints (Mormon), Monty served as a missionary in Tahiti. After returning to Canada, Monty became a dentist, graduating from the University of Alberta in 1977.
While at university, Monty met Elizabeth (Liz) Gibb. They fell in love and got married on Jan. 19th, 1974. They became true-life eternal partners. Monty was blessed with six children and several grandchildren.
He started his first dental practice in Vermilion. He was soon very active in the community, particularly with the Chamber of Commerce and Airport Commission, as well as his local church.
In 1986, Monty and Liz moved to acreage east of Red Deer ‘Tooth Acres’. They became active with the church as well as the Cancer Society and the Red Deer Symphony Society. Monty volunteered with such groups as the Boy Scouts and the local dental society
In February 1987, he joined the Red Deer East Rotary Club. He loved the Club and the Rotarian commitment of ‘Service Above Self’. Monty became Club president, District Governor, Vice-President of Rotary International and a trustee of the international Rotary Foundation.
Monty did many stints as a volunteer dentist in such places as Jamaica, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, Russia, Korea, Nunavut and the Amazon Basin.
Among his awards and honours were a Red Deer Mayor’s Volunteer Recognition Award in 2001 and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003.
Monty was always a life-partner with Liz and a dedicated father and grandfather. His family and church always came first, but he still managed a phenomenal amount of time for helping others.
When he passed away, past Rotary International President Ron Burton made a special trip to Red Deer for the funeral, along with many other dignitaries.
A special Monty Audenart Memorial Endowment Fund has been established through the Rotary Foundation to honour him and to help continue his wonderful work.