Gordy Dodd: Grandfather & Community Superhero

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Gordy Dodd isn’t your typical grandfather. Who else do you know that’s just as comfortable playing Super Gordy, Bob Barker and the Incredible Hulk as part of his 40-year TV ad campaign as he is playing with his grandchildren?

Awarded the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce, Gordy Dodd is known not only for his TV alter egos and his furniture store, Dodd’s Furniture and Mattress, but also for his ongoing philanthropy and community work. His Peace Walks have raised money for Victoria Hospice and his annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinners have helped feed thousands of people in need. Here are his thoughts on one of his favourite roles of all times—being a grandfather…

What do you love most about being a grandfather?

I take time off from my business to spend as much time as I can with them. They’re going to school now and growing up so fast—so weekends are special. We also try to pick them up from school a few times a week. Sometimes we go to a restaurant, for ice cream or to one of their favourite parks nearby.

What’s the difference between being a parent and being a grandparent?

Parents definitely have the harder job these days with many more responsibilities. Between homework and so many other after-school activities, a child’s life is quite structured. Moms and Dads really have the hard work. Grandparents get to enjoy watching them grow up and play—we play ALOT! That’s the upside and there’s no real downside. We’re all just happy to see each other and be together.

How does it feel, seeing your children as parents?

We remember our kids at that time. My wife will say how they resemble each other—our children and our grandchildren—how my son used to do the same thing or how our grandchildren resemble their parents.

What are your favourite things to do with your grandkids?

I love setting up games for them in the backyard. Whether it’s volleyball, badminton or soccer or blowing up balloons. It’s really nice, for myself and my wife. We forget all the stress and just get to spend time with them.

How have you handled the pandemic and social distancing with your grandchildren?

It’s a concern, especially now that they’re back in school. But we keep reminding them to keep their distance, wear a mask and wash their hands. All of Dr. Bonnie’s advice is good advice of course.

What do you wish for your grandchildren?

I wish for them much happiness. They always say: Grampa everyone knows you! All of our friends say: “You’re the famous Gordy Dodd!” Now they don’t have to be like me, but I want them to be happy and successful.

What do you hope they have learned or will learn from you?

I hope they’ll always be proud to be my granddaughters and strive to do great things in their life as I have. They have their dreams and they’re already learning to give back. I’m proud to take them with me to help serve Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners at Our Place. They need to know that not everyone is as fortunate as we are. We all have to do our part to help those in need.

You’ve dressed up as so many characters What do your grandkids think of your antics? Do they have a favourite persona?

Superman is pretty famous in their eyes. They’ve enjoyed all of my characters over the years. They know my name is recognizable. My grandaughter calls me my name sometimes, “Gordy Dodd” just for fun.

Advice for your grandchildren?

Times are tough and it’s easy to get down. The only way to make things better is by getting a good education. My middle granddaughter wants to be an eye specialist—the first in our family. That goal may change but with the right education, kids can do anything. Do something to keep the tradition of helping others. They’re trying.

Advice for other grandparents?

Love your grandkids and cherish every moment. Once they become teenagers, they’ll have their own friends and be making their own way into the world. You want to be part of that for as long as possible.

Sue Fast
Sue Fast
Sue Fast is the editor of Island Parent, Grand and ’Tweens & Teens magazines. Her writing has also appeared in Canadian Living and Vancouver magazines, the Georgia Straight and Monday Magazine.

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