Who knew printing could be such an adventure?
A week after her husband, G. Brian Brodeur, died of complications from cancer at 83 on Dec. 22, Peggy Brodeur reflected on the colorful characters the couple came in contact with over the 30 years they ran Coral Gables Printing.
There was the time, for instance, in the 1980s when Jamaica placed a special order to print some of its money with the local company. Brodeur quietly flew a suitcase of bills to the island nation on a Saturday.
“His customers could depend on him. If he said he’d do it, he’d do it,” Peggy Brodeur said.
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Coral Gables Printing, an offshoot of Keystone Printing Shop in Miami that Brodeur’s late father, Claude, had started in the early 1950s, printed the business cards and letterhead stationery and signage for the Knight brothers who once ran the Miami Herald. When young scholars collected their Silver Knight awards at the Herald-sponsored event, the printing, embossing and gold foil touches on the certificates were done by Coral Gables Printing.
The hot stamping work that produced that gold foil lettering was painstaking. Details mattered. Making 1,000 letterheads could take more than two hours.
His customers could depend on him. If he said he’d do it, he’d do it.
Peggy Brodeur on husband Brian of Coral Gables Printing
The company also did the logo and printing for the Archdiocese of Miami, print work for Southern Bell, Ocean Bank, the school of architecture at the University of Miami and the cigar bands for Camacho Cigars. In 1983, they did all the printing connected with the Grand Prix of Miami.
Former Florida Govs. Claude Kirk and Reubin Askew ordered their stationery from Coral Gables Printing, too.
Brodeur, born in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on Nov. 21, 1933, served in the Marines and opened Coral Gables Printing in 1978. Along with his wife, he ran the company for 30 years. Banks “were charging 14 percent interest when we went into business in the ’70s; they were tough times,” Peggy Broudeur said. The couple were also raising five children.
Brodeur, who also owned the book bindery company Dobbs and Brodeur in Hialeah, did work for many of the organizations he served, such as the Boy Scouts (he led Troop 64 at Temple Judea), Lions Club, Serra Club and Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. He was president of the Catholic charity St. Vincent de Paul Society SE Conference.
One of the pressman once joked that of the 10 printing presses, “nine were for charity and one was for work,” his wife of 60 years said. Retirement was bittersweet.
“You miss the contact with your customers,” Peggy Brodeur said. “They were just wonderful. You like to talk to your customers. We had very nice people.”
Brodeur is also survived by his children Brian, Elise and Arthur (a third-generation printer); brothers Kenneth and Phill; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. He was predeceased by children Edwin and Suzanne. A viewing will be held at 6 p.m. Jan. 3 at Stanfill Funeral Home, 10545 S. Dixie Hwy., Pinecrest. Funeral Mass is at 11 a.m. Jan. 4 at Epiphany Catholic Church, 8235 SW 57th Ave. in Kendall.