WESTBROOK – Gilman P. Bouchard, a Vietnam veteran and longtime Army recruiter who also served 20 years as a corrections officer in Windham, died Sunday after a six-year fight with cancer. He was 71.
Mr. Bouchard grew up in Madawaska, the second-youngest of 12 children. He attended local schools, but left to join the Army in 1959 when he was 17 years old. He later served a year in Vietnam, and went on to become an Army recruiter in Maine. He retired from the Army in 1984 after 25 years of service.
Mr. Bouchard had a second career as a corrections officer at the Maine Correctional Center in Windham, retiring in 2004. He was a captain and a leader within the department, acting Superintendent Brian Libby said Tuesday.
“He was an outstanding leader and supervisor during his time here,” Libby recalled. “He was a no-nonsense man and a very professional corrections officer. He did his duty protecting the public in terms of his performance in the facility.”
Mr. Bouchard also was a dedicated volunteer for the Westbrook Fire Department for about 10 years.
He was a loving husband to Rosemarie Bouchard, of Westbrook. They met in Germany during his early years in the Army. On Aug. 11, 2012, the Bouchards celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and renewed their vows.
His daughter, Judy Bouchard of Gorham, cried Tuesday when talking about their relationship and life together.
“He was such a family man,” his daughter said. “He loved my mom. She was the love of his life. … She was with him every step of the way.”
Mr. Bouchard and his wife moved from Germany to Maine in 1971 and settled in Westbrook. There, they raised three children. His daughter said he was a stern yet supportive father who was always there for family.
“I could always count on him for help. He was always there for us,” she said.
Tragedy struck the family in 1996 when Mr. Bouchard’s son, David Bouchard, died in a snowmobiling accident.
“He struggled after David died,” his daughter said. “It tore his heart apart, but he kept going. Family was so important to him.”
Mr. Bouchard’s younger brother, Lionel “Curly” Bouchard of Washington state, recalled their recent trips to Madawaska to visit their childhood home. During the last visit, in September 2012, they drove around town and reminisced about old times.
Mr. Bouchard “enjoyed it tremendously,” his brother said.
Mr. Bouchard and his wife had wintered in Florida for the past six years. For much of that time, he suffered with multiple myeloma. His family said the cancer was caused by his exposure to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
He died Sunday afternoon with his wife, daughter and other family members by his side.
“Family is what kept him alive through the good times and bad,” his daughter said. “We watched him suffer for years. I’m happy he’s not suffering and in pain anymore. He’s OK. He’s in heaven with my brother.”
Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at: