Danvers — Augustus B. Bouchie, 90, passed peacefully on Tuesday, February 5, 2013, at the Beverly Hospital with his loving family by his side.
Gus was born on January 22, 1923 to the late Thomas A. and Emily Jane (Boudreau) Boucher in the little fishing village of Arichat, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. Born one of 12 children, Gus was the last in the clan to be called to rest by God. The son of a fisherman, he came to Gloucester by train when he was just five years old, speaking only French. As a boy, he spent much time on the Gloucester waterfront, learning to fish, mend nets and navigate the harbor in a dinghy, but he wasn’t ready to make fishing his vocation.
Instead, after attending St. Ann’s High School, Gus enlisted in in the U.S. Army in 1943 and became a combat engineer for the 27th Division, 102nd Engineer Battalion. After 4 months of Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Gus and his battalion traveled to Hawaii to learn combat maneuvers and prepare for war. From there Gus would go on to fight in two of the greatest battles of the Pacific Theatre: Saipan and Okinawa, where he fought alongside U.S. Marines on the front lines to capture the islands. In September of 1945, after the Japanese surrendered, Gus and his division moved to occupy Japan’s mainland. He was honorably discharged in December of 1945, arriving back in Gloucester just 2 days before Christmas.
Even though Gus didn’t take to the sea, he did go on to make his living by working in several of Gloucester’s fish processing companies, most recently for O’Donnell-Usen Seafood Kitchens, where he was forced to retire from in 1986 because of an accident that badly injured his right hand. He will also be remembered as a long-time custodian for the Rockport Art Association, and in later years, as a dependable newspaper carrier for the Gloucester Times. And by yet others, he will be remembered for doing odd jobs and lending a hand to anyone in need.
On July 30, 1961, Gus married the love of his life, Shirley (Daggett) Bouchie with whom he shared 47 wonderful years of marriage before her passing on April 14, 2009. Becoming an instant father to her three boys after marriage, they went on to have a daughter and a son of their own. After raising their large family, Gus and Shirley enjoyed their time together walking the boulevard, gardening, reading books, listening to the old songs and especially spending time with their growing family. Gus himself enjoyed a good joke, playing (and winning) at cards, watching Westerns on TV, growing his tulips, singing old songs, a round of golf with his son Mike and most recently playing pool with his children and grandchildren. Gus was revered by all his grandchildren as someone wise, humble, patient and kind, but also for his ability to make them laugh—sometimes without intending to. In the past several years, he was blessed with several great-grandchildren of which he was especially proud.
Anyone who ever met Gus couldn’t help but fall in love with him. He had a kind and gentle soul, a deep love and appreciation for life and its simplest pleasures and an overall positive, congenial presence. He showed us all by example how to live in the moment, how to be grateful for God’s gifts and how to live each day with grace, good humor and a generous heart. He was truly one of the “good ones” and he will forever live in all our hearts as such.
We are blessed and grateful to have celebrated Gus’s 90th birthday just two weeks ago with family and friends in a wonderful celebration of his life that included cake and champagne that he immensely enjoyed—a memory we will forever cherish.
For the past three and a half years, after the death of his beloved Shirley, Gus has resided at Putnam Farm Assisted Living in Danvers, where he enjoyed a rich, full and dignified life in the company of a loving, compassionate community. The family wishes to express the deepest appreciation to the staff at Putnam Farm for the most excellent and professional care they provided to Gus, and especially for their love and support.
Augustus is survived by his children; one daughter, Annette Mineo and her boyfriend David Desmond of Rockport, and sons, Michael Boucher and his wife Janine of Rockport, Christopher Spittle of Gloucester, Donald Spittle of Rochester, NH, and a daughter-in-law, Marien Arko of Gloucester; 16 grandchildren, Nathan Mineo, Bethany Gallinelli, Jennifer Estrada, Katharine and Thomas Boucher, Bruce and Shane Beck, Jeremy and Amanda Spittle, Z. Lily Perry, Jacob Spittle and Kristiina Robinson, Bill “Woody” Anderson, Lori, Timothy and Devin Spittle; several great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Besides his wife Shirley, Augustus was predeceased by a son, Jay A. Spittle, and his large Nova Scotian family; sisters, Antoinette Strople, Anita Cudmore, Laura Kearsey, Emily “Minnie” Hurlburt, Alma Goodhue, Shirley Goodhue and Anna Sharaky; brothers, Wallace Boucher, Joseph “Cletus” Boucher, Clarence Boucher and Etienne “Chin” Boucher.
ARRANGEMENTS: His funeral service will be privately held in Beech Grove Cemetery, Rockport, at the convenience of the family. There will be no visiting hours. In lieu of flowers, donations in Gus’s memory may be made to the Floating Hospital for Children, 800 Washington Street, Box 231, Boston, Ma 02111 or online at www.floatinghospital.org/giving/expressions or to the Wounded Warrior Project, PO Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas, 66675 or online at www.wwphighcap.org/donate.aspx. Arrangements are under the direction of the Pike-Grondin Funeral Home, 61 Middle Street, Gloucester. For further information and online condolences, please visit www.grondinfuneralservices.com.