Obituary of Chanel Joseph Bouchard
Chanel J. Bouchard passed away at a local nursing care facility in Van Buren, Maine, on Monday, March 16, 2020, just shy of his 90th birthday. He was born in Madawaska, Maine, on April 25, 1930, the son of Patrick and Yvonne (Cote) Bouchard. In the words of people from his youngest daughter to his oldest great-grandchild, “Heaven gained another angel” on that day, but this one was a particularly unusual and special angel. Over the years, Chanel owned and operated an auto and small engine repair business in Van Buren: Chanel’s Esso, then Chanel’s Exxon, then Chanel’s Service. The business continues today under the same label with the new owner recognizing the value of Chanel’s name. He always had a welcoming smile for his customers. His services to the community included snow removal and wrecker service at all hours of all days of the week. He and his father built the tow trucks themselves from the frame up, at times with nothing more than a single picture for plans. Chanel was a volunteer firefighter and then became Fire Chief of the Van Buren Fire Department. He worked tirelessly to upgrade equipment and train the volunteers so that the Department was a model for others to follow. He was one of the first in the State of Maine to introduce new and innovative equipment and techniques that have now become standard, commonplace practices in almost all fire departments. His efforts resulted in numerous awards for the Fire Department and reduced fire insurance rates for the entire community of Van Buren. As Fire Chief, he emceed many a recognition banquet and hosted lobster feeds at his camp to show his appreciation to all the volunteers. His 40 years (37 as Chief) of work and service with the Van Buren Fire Department were honored at a packed house celebration in 1996. In 1994 the Maine Fire Chiefs’ Association paid tribute to him with the Fire Chief of The Year award, only the third person to receive this distinction. Chanel was a communicant at St. Bruno’s where he served as lector and on commissions. His faith was a very important part of his life. Chanel was a man of integrity who was always kind, fair and honest with everyone he met. He was one of the most selfless people you could ever encounter, often putting the needs and wants of others ahead of his own and his family’s. His morals and ethics were a rare find in this day and age. He loved a good joke. And most important to him was his family. He and his wife Cecile raised a family of four children and they are blessed with grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Although Chanel’s public legacy may well be his accomplishments and reputation with the Fire Department, his true legacy is the numerous lives he touched and influenced in both his private and public life. Countless individuals owe at least part of their own accomplishments in life and business to lessons they learned working and interacting with this amazing man. Students who worked part time at his service station learned life lessons they could not have learned at home. Chanel was a very modest man, never seeking praise or accolades for his accomplishments. However, he was quick to praise others for their achievements. This is even reflected in his wishes for a low-key funeral after his death. Chanel is survived by his wife of 67 years, Cecile (Blier); sons, Kevin (Lil Parent), and Philip (Janet Zweiben); daughters Barbara Siwirski (Dennis), and Janelle LeBlond (Paul); grandchildren: Nicole Solomon (Joseph), Philip (JoAnn Reiersen), Matthew (Kacey Ronaldson), Bradley (Katie Winters), and Jared LeBlond (Christie Alley); and great-grandchildren: Phoebe, George and Avery Solomon; Sophie Bouchard and Jenna and Theo Strid; Jackson and Charlotte Bouchard; Audrie, Cooper and Tucker Bouchard; and Tegan and Lucas LeBlond. He is also survived by his sister, Eloise (Bouchard) Cormier; in-laws Roland and Priscille (Violette) Blier, Geralda (Blier) Boutot, and Gerald Blier; and many, many nieces and nephews. Chanel was predeceased by his parents, brothers Lionel and Kenneth, sister-in-law Jeanette (Cyr) Bouchard and brother-in-law Philip (Lou) Cormier. A private funeral mass will be planned in the future for the immediate family only. In lieu of flowers donations should be made in Chanel’s memory to a charity of your choice. To leave memories and condolences to the family, please click the tab above on the left that reads Tribute Wall.