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Donald Boucher

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Donald J. Boucher | Obituary | Ethical Death Care | Winnipeg

DONALD J. BOUCHER

August 16, 1944 - November 16, 2023

With family and friends by his side, Don Boucher, 79, peacefully passed away on November 16, 2023 at Riverview Health Centre on their palliative care unit.

 

After bravely beating stage 4 prostate cancer with bone metastasis last fall, Don got the devastating news this past March that the weakness in his arms and hands was due to ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Don quickly lost the ability to drive his truck (he loved driving), hug his family, swing a hammer, feed himself (he also loved good food), or scratch an itch on his nose. Even after all the progressive losses, he continued  to socialize, laugh, and make others laugh because that’s just the kind of guy he was!

 

Don is survived by his wife Brenda (nee Turpin) daughters Joelle (Gil) in Winnipeg and Teri Anne in Kelowna,BC , grandchildren Cody (Leah)  in Australia; Justin and Katie in Kelowna B.C; great-granddaughters Mya and Olivia in Australia and step-grandsons Robert (Amanda) in Edmonton and Mark (Rebekka) in Winnipeg. 

 

Don and his twin brother Denis were born on August 16, 1944 to Camelia “Anna” Rochon and Louis Boucher in Sudbury, Ontario. Their family lived there  until the twins were a year old when  they moved to St. Laurent, Manitoba where they farmed the land and had dairy cows.  Don’s brother Bernard and sister Paulette joined the family in St Laurent. The family moved to Winnipeg when Don was ten, where his youngest sister Jacqueline was born.

 

Don graduated from Provencher School in St. Boniface, an all boys Catholic school, where he played on the school hockey teams. He continued his hockey career while playing in an ‘old-timers’ league until back surgery decided he was done at the age of 35.

  

At the age of 18, Don met his sweetheart, Brenda. Weekends  were spent  dancing at community clubs with  local bands such as ‘The Guess Who’. Don and Brenda married on March 5th, 1966, after the storm of the century and this year celebrated more than 57 incredible years of marriage. 

 

Don and Brenda enjoyed camping from the beginning of their marriage, starting with a tent and moving up to a tent trailer then a travel trailer. They traveled all over North America camping, with their daughters in tow. Don always had one eye on the road and one on the rear view mirror to make sure his daughters were not sleeping and instead taking note of every ridge and tree on every mountain. As tired as they were (from not napping), Don was successful in passing on his love for travel. He waited until they were grown to ditch the tent trailer so he and Brenda could begin ‘glamping’ with a travel trailer.

 

Over the years, they enjoyed snowmobiling and with Don being the DYI guy that he was, fabricated a dog style sled for the girls to get pulled behind the snowmobile.  After a week in Banff, where he and Brenda cross county skied while their daughters and good friends downhill skied, Don made the decision that he would take up downhill skiing whether Brenda was going to join him or not. So, in the following years, spring breaks were spent with friends and family cruising down the mountain instead of across it, Brenda included.

 

After working in steel shops as a fitter, Don joined the City of Winnipeg Fire Department in 1970. He worked there for just over thirty years, retiring as Captain in 2000. On his ‘days off’ he could be found installing fireplaces, long haul trucking, or renovating peoples’ homes.

 

Don and Brenda designed and then built their dream home where they lived for over 45 years. Over the years Don spent countless hours teaching his daughters construction, painting and life skills. Later he worked with them at their cabins and homes (over and over) as needed for repairs, upgrading or moving.

 

In retirement, they spent the winter months in Mesa,  Arizona.  Don made many new friends over the years being the ‘Chatty Cathy’ that he was. He made it his unspoken goal to always make new comers feel welcome. He led the hiking group in the mountains and enjoyed long bike rides with  the group several times a week, always with a coffee destination. They enjoyed sightseeing with friends in Arizona and California including to Tombstone, Tucson, Sedona , the Grand Canyon , Palm Springs and San Diego.

 

In May, Don and Brenda moved to a condo overlooking the Seine River. Don enjoyed the view as the season’s changed but, it bothered him that he wasn’t able to make the upgrades in the condo that he knew were needed.

 

Don had the good fortune of his wife being a retired RN which gave her an upper hand in being able to keep him at home right up until  his last week. He maintained going for coffee 5 days a week at the mall with friends, with his personal nurse aka wife getting him dressed and out the door so he could maintain his social connections.

 

On Don’s last days at Riverview Palliative Care, he often had up to 14 family and friends drop in to visit in a day. He joked and smiled up to the end. Thank you to all the family and friends for keeping his spirits up.

 

Don’s legacy extends beyond his professional achievements encompassing his dedication to family and friends and a zest for life evident in the adventures he pursued throughout his remarkable journey.

 

Thank you to Joelle (daughter) who did so much of their sorting, organizing, and moving to the new condo along with all the all her other assistance throughout the difficult times that made life easier.

 

Thank you to Teri Anne (daughter) and her kids Justin and Katie for making several trips from Kelowna to help with the move, attend a party for Don in July and to spend his last week with him.

 

Don was thankful that his grandson Cody, wife Leah and their daughters were able to make the trip from Australia in July to visit. You could see Don’s eyes sparkle when he was joking around with his great granddaughters Mya and Olivia.

 

Thank you to Don’s sister Jackie and Ron for all their help and TLC. From painting Don and Brenda’s new condo, helping with the move, to just every day things, they were always ready to assist!

 

Thank you to  family and friends that shared Don’s journey, without your help, he wouldn’t have been able to stay at home.  A special thanks to Vernon and Marilyn, Horace and Terry, Claude and Mona and many other lifelong friends for their assistance and friendship.

 

Thank you to the staff at Riverview Health Centre; the nursing staff especially Jennifer and Brenda, the health care aides and Dr. J Webb. It takes a special kind of person to work in palliative care and their dedication and passion for their careers is evident in the loving compassionate gentle care they provided Don.

 

Thank you to Diana Rasmussen at the ALS Society of Manitoba for the loan of multiple essential pieces of medical equipment, and of course all the hugs.

 

Thank you to Krista, occupational therapist, for your care and assistance getting us equipment and problem solving.

 

At Don’s request, there will not be a funeral but instead a  ‘Celebration of Life’ will be held in spring allowing all his snowbird friends to return to the coop!

 

Donations in memory of Don may be made to the ALS Society of Manitoba, Cancer Care Manitoba, or a charity of your choice.

ETHICAL DEATH CARE

Cremation & Life Celebrations

530 St. Mary Avenue - Winnipeg

204-421-5501 - www.ethicaldeathcare.com

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