Marlborough – David P. Gadbois has taken on many personal challenges during his seven plus decades on this earth, such as hiking up and skiing down Tuckerman's Ravine in the White Mountains when he reached his 70th birthday. It took more than four hours to reach the top, carrying his skis and gear on his back, all for a two-minute thrill ride down.
“It was something I had always wanted to do,” the avid skier said recently. “So I set it as a goal when I reached 70. It was an amazing experience and one I'sl never forget.”
But now he's facing the greatest challenge of his life: in October his doctor told him he had terminal liver cancer.
“It's a devastating thing to hear, but I was determined not to let it control the rest of my life. I am going to live every day and not die every day,” he said. “As word got around to my friends, a few of them wanted to have some public recognition for the years of community service I'se given to our city, something I never sought before and was reluctant to seek now.”
Gadbois” former law partner, Arthur Bergeron, one of the foremost advocates of a testimonial, suggested Gadbois agree to one if it could be a fundraiser for a favorite local cause of his.
“That's when I started thinking it might be a good idea,” he said. “And of course, the first thing I thought of was the Boys & Girls Club, which I'se been involved with since I became a member as a kid in the early 1950s.”
The Boys & Girls Club of Metrowest is currently engaged in a capital campaign to renovate its Marlborough Clubhouse, the former Mitchell School on Pleasant Street that is 90 years old. David joined its Board of Directors in 1974 and ultimately became president while serving about 16 years as a member of the board. It was during this time that he, together with the late Ralph Grasso, started the community basketball program that now serves about 750 kids each season.
?“I was so honored when David asked me if this is something the club would help him put together,” said Club President Fran Hurley. “The fact that he would choose our kids to devote his efforts to, at a time like this, is just beyond words.”
So on the evening of Thursday, March 6, friends, relatives and colleagues will gather at the Hudson Portuguese Club to honor a man who has given decades of his time to his community.
During his lifetime, including his long career as a local attorney, Gadbois has given countless hours of his time and expertise to various community challenges going back to the mid-1950s. It was then, as a club member, he first began volunteering his time for various activities at the old Marlborough Boys Club, now the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metrowest.
When Gadbois was not at work, or spending time with his wife Virginia (Collins) and their two now-grown children, Derek and Nikki, or skiing, you might find him serving as a member of the Marlborough Rotary Club, the Greater Marlborough Chamber of Commerce, or the St. Mary's Credit Union Board of Directors, each of which he served?? for more than 25 years.
He has also served as the Marlborough city solicitor, commission member of the Marlborough License Commission for 10 years, as the city's industrial agent in the early “80s for five years, and as chairman of the Marlborough Recreation Commission for 10 years. He coached Little League in the early 1960s and in the 1980s, and coached basketball at the Boys Club.
Gadbois attended St. Michael's College in Vermont from 1959 to 1963, then joined the Army, completing U.S. Army Officer Candidate School in 1964 before serving two years active duty in Germany, followed by three years as an active reserve. During that time, he attended Suffolk Law School, got married, and was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1969. But through it all, the Boys & Girls Club, which he credits with helping him develop his community service ethic, has been his favorite cause.
“I want to be as useful as possible and do something worthwhile with the time I have left,” Gadbois said. “To do anything else would just be a waste of that time and that's not me.”
?The David Gadbois Testimonial and Fundraiser will be held at The Hudson Portuguese Club, 13 Port St., beginning at 6 p.m. Tickets are $150. To purchase tickets to the event or to make a donation, visit the Boys & Girls Club website, www.bgcmetrowest.org.