Tom Boedeker, grand marshal for the 2006 Progress Days Parade, takes a call at his desk in Soldotna City Hall. Boedeker said his job as city manager involves a lot of time away from the desk interacting with co-workers and the public.
Photo by John Hult
Tom Boedeker likes to golf, but doesn’t have quite as much time for it as he’d like.
“My wife beats me regularly,” Boedeker said.
Boedeker takes the occasional photograph, too, but said,
“I’m not the guy who goes out and frames his picture and says, ‘I’m the best.’”
He does some gardening in the summer, enjoys reading and tries to take a vacation with his wife,Tanya, each year.
Though the Soldotna city manager and grand marshal for the 2006 Progress Days parade spends his few moments of free time on such pursuits, his real pastime is community-building.
“There’s no all-consuming hobby,” he said. “My wife says my hobby is being on boards.”
That Boedeker’s free time is spent serving as a member of the board of directors for Hospice, Central Peninsula General Hospital, the United Way and others has as much to do with his selection as grand marshal as his position as Soldotna’s top administrator.
The 2006 Progress Days theme is “Building Legacies,” and such, community service distinguishes Boedeker as a champion of legacy-building.
“He deals with that every day in his job, but he’s also always willing to meet with people and pitch in around the community on his own,” said Michelle Glaves, executive director of the Soldotna Chamber of Com-merce.
Glaves indicated that Boe-deker’s selection for the post has a lot to do with his lifelong community commitment, but with the Arctic Winter Games, the Kenai River bridge’s hopeful completion and the hospital expansion’s opening all set for 2006, the choice for grand marshal was as easy as the choice of the legacies theme. There was another factor, though.
“Knowing that Tom is thinking of retiring in the next few years and thinking of all he’s done over the years really drove that,” Glaves said.
Those years number 23 on the peninsula for Boedeker, all of which he’s worked as a public servant.
According to Boedeker, Soldotna 2006 is a much different place than Soldotna 1983.
“After we moved here in 1983, the first stop light went in on the Kenai Peninsula at Binkley and the Sterling Highway,” he said. “That took some adjusting for people.”
Adjustments have marked each year for Boedeker as he and Tanya raised their family in the fast-growing area. Originally from Bryan, Texas, he earned his law degree at the University of Texas in Austin, where a professor floated the idea of a move north.
“He asked me in June and it was 100 degrees in Austin, so it sounded like a good idea,” he said.
Boedeker, Tanya and his then 2 1/2-year-old son, Tom, arrived in Anchorage on Dec. 31, 1975, but the city didn’t feel quite right.
“This is home. Anchorage was a place to live, but we didn’t have a strong connection until we came to the peninsula. We raised our kids here.”
After moving to the peninsula, he got right to work on the community, serving for 13 years as the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s attorney before signing on as Soldotna’s city manager in 1999.
Boedeker said he’s proud of his work over the years.
“It all sounds kind of hokey, but the reality is you try to leave your community better than you found it.”
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