Obituary of Josef HODEL

March 8, 1939 – Wilihof, Switzerland
April 12, 2020 – Calgary, Alberta

Josef Hodel, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully at home on April 12, 2020, surrounded by his loving family. Born March 8, 1939, in Wilihof, Switzerland, Josef was the son of the late Otto and Marie Hodel and brother to eight siblings.

His early years in Switzerland had him quickly rising the ranks of the Swiss Military from Rekrut in Luzern, 1958 to Hauptmann in Bern, 1974.  He developed innate passion and leadership in business and excelled across various industries in Switzerland, but particularly in real estate development.

The Hodel family relocated to Canada in 1981 and Josef’s exceptional life as a transatlantic businessman was born. Initially, the family landed in Brooks, Alberta and Josef fostered lasting relationships with many in the agriculture community as he developed the family farmland.  His incredible lifelong drive, ambition and passion to learn, brought him to the energy industry in Calgary shortly thereafter. From offices he founded in both Zürich and Calgary, his relationships were the building blocks of an energy career that would span several decades.  As a founder and CEO of both Alberta Oil and Gas Limited and AltaCanada Energy, he was instrumental in the successful initial public offerings of the two companies.

Josef was a man of indomitable spirit characterized by hard work and formidable determination. Friendships were sacred.  Loyalty and generosity to friends and family were paramount. Humour was uniquely and masterfully crafted, and delivered typically with a wry smile.  But at the core of Josef, was an inspiring human being who relished in the adventures of life. His stories and wonderful memories will stay with us forever.

Josef will be so sorely missed. He was kind, tender and infinitely generous. He always had his wife and children by his side. His love for his grandchildren was pure and immeasurable – from holding their tender hands on his last hikes in the Swiss Alps, to secretly sharing hidden chocolates and cookies, to gentle touches and embraces that will never be forgotten.  Even though life became challenging in the final years, with the steady focus of his bright blue eyes, he put one step in front of the other – every ounce of energy given to celebrate one more Sunday dinner with his family. He never asked for pity, but with smiling grace, accepted any helping hand. True to his character, he faced his last moments with courage and dignity and took his last breath in the loving arms of his family.

Josef is survived by his loving wife of 43 Years, Bernardita Hodel; along with three children in Calgary; Michèle (Troy) Sundquist, Christoph (Deborah) Hodel, and Dominic (Veronica) Hodel; eight grandchildren, Tavian, Amilia, Alessandra, Eliana, Zeyden, Nyima, Gabriella and Juliana; and many loving relatives in Switzerland.

The family would like to express gratitude to his assistant Marlene Sims who has worked with Mr. Hodel for almost three decades and has been by his side through an array of challenges faced over the years.

As well, the family would like to extend appreciation to Garner Blieske, Wayne Richardson of Grizzly Cage Boxing Club, Marilyn Escasura, and the countless caregivers, nurses and doctors who always gave their best in the care of Josef.

A celebration of life will be held in both Calgary and Switzerland when circumstances permit. Memorial contributions may be made to Rein Forth Equine. Josef himself was a horse lover, and would be proud to support Jules Rainforth and her special horses at this progressive equine therapy centre. The funds will be used to rebuild her barn that tragically burned down last January. A GoFundMe campaign has been created to help Rainforth and Rein Forth Equine,

“Hat der Pilatus einen Hut, wird des Wetter gut. Hat er einen Degen, gibt es sicher Regen”.

Dad: Pilatus will always have beautiful weather for you now - put on your hiking boots and forever lead the way. Thank you for allowing us to pursue our dreams without judgement, for giving us opportunities and for teaching us lifelong principles of being a good and passionate human being. We love you so much. Condolences, memories and photos may be shared and viewed on Josef’s obituary at

In living memory of Josef Hodel, a tree will be planted in the Ann & Sandy Cross Conservation Area by McInnis and Holloway Funeral Homes, Park Memorial, 5008 Elbow Drive SW, Calgary, AB T2S 2L5, Telephone: 403-243-8200.

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