May 8, 2023
Obituary - Mr. Gilles Blondeau
It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Mr. Gilles Blondeau on May 7, 2023 at 82 years old. A visionary driven by the desire to participate in Québec's economic growth, Gilles Blondeau was the Founder and Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Optimum Group Inc. until 2014, then Chair of the Board from 2014 to 2017 and Honorary Chair of the Board until today.
Originally from Québec City, he landed his first job as an actuary in 1963 with the Swiss Reinsurance Company in Zurich, Switzerland, and then held positions of increasing responsibilities at the Canadian Reinsurance Company in 1965 in Toronto and Montreal. From then on, he had a pioneering experience in life reinsurance in Québec.
Young actuary with an entrepreneurial spirit, full of ambition and goodwill for accomplishment, Gilles Blondeau founded his actuarial firm, Gilles Blondeau et Compagnie in April 1969. With a dynamic team of actuarial advisors including his first partner late Henri Joli-Coeur, he has accompanied several professional associations, particularly in terms of compensation systems for health professionals. On a daily basis, he acted with the Group's core values, which are to always serve with integrity, competency, rigor, technical expertise and creativity.
In the following decades, he acquired general insurance companies in Canada and then established Optimum General Inc., developed life insurance and life reinsurance in Canada, the United States and France then established Optimum Re Inc., acquired real estate in Canada, the United States and France then established Optimum Foncier Inc., and created and developed actuarial consulting, risk management, asset management and information technology firms in Canada and then established Optimum Holdings Inc.
Actively involved in the business community, Mr. Blondeau has been a Board member (1980- 2002) as well as Chair of the Board (1994-1996) of Domtar Inc. in Québec, one of Canada's leading pulp and paper, building materials and packaging products companies. He was also a Board member (1984-2004) of Compagnie Financière Martin Maurel, a bank in Marseille, France, and a Board Member (1978-1994) of Financière des professionnels inc., a group retirement savings plan for medical specialists, dentists, pharmacists, architects and notaries in Québec.
An equestrian sports enthusiast, Mr. Blondeau was Chair of the Board and President (1996-2002) then Board member (2002-2006) of the Société Nationale du Cheval de Course in the horse racing industry ranging from breeding to competition. He was also fond of philosophical readings dealing with societal issues; these books were sources of contemplation and inspiration for him.
Holder of a Bachelor of Commerce with special mention in actuarial sciences from Université Laval in 1963, Mr. Blondeau was admitted Fellow of the Canadian Society of Actuaries in 1967 and Fellow of the American Academy of Actuaries in 1979. Following his first Bachelor of Arts with special mention in science from Université Laval in 1960 and before starting the second, he was a Lieutenant of the Canadian Armed Forces in the Naval logistics department.
A family-oriented man, he is survived by his spouse Lina Maria G. Barletta and their daughter Rosalina, his two daughters Nathalie Blondeau (Louis Riverin) and Anabelle Blondeau (Brad Andrews), his grandchildren (Laurielle, Yannick, Pénéloppe and Maxime Renaud-Blondeau as well as Charles and Georges Blondeau-Andrews), his great-granddaughter (Rose-Aimée, Laurielle's daughter), his former wife Claudette Houde and mother of their two daughters, and his twin brothers Jocelyn (Marcelle Labbé) and Ronald Blondeau (Yvette Verret) as well as his nieces and nephews.
Your sympathy testimonials may translate into a donation to the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation.
The family will receive condolences at the Mount Royal Funeral Complex located at 1297, chemin de la Forêt, Outremont, on Wednesday, May 17 from 5 pm to 9 pm and then on Thursday, May 18 from 2 pm to 4 pm. A last tribute in his memory will be made at the Complex’s chapel on Thursday, May 18 from 4 pm to 5 pm followed by a reception which will end at 9 pm.
We are deeply saddened by the passing of this great builder and Founder of our Group. His memory will be an integral part of our Optimum history forever. We understand the grief of the entire Blondeau family and we participate in it, offering our sincere condolences to them and their loved ones during this difficult period.
Chair of the Board
Optimum Group Inc.