TRIBUTE: 'Rest mate, the work is done'
WELCOME to the celebration of the life of Michael Neil Boucher, a proud lifetime resident of the Granite Belt district and a dedicated, hard-working member of the community.
Michael Neil Boucher - or "Bouch" or "Mike" as he was commonly known by his friends - was born in Stanthorpe Hospital on November 28, 1945 along with his twin brother, the late John Roy Boucher, to parents Jack and Agnes.
He was a brother to Nicky, David and the late Suzanne.
In 1969 he married Fran Marstella and welcomed his first son, Jason. This didn't last and in 1977 he married Anne McKechnie and brought two more children, Paula and Anthony.
He is grandfather to Aeisha, Zachery and Lachlan.
Over the last seven years Dad maintained a close relationship with his partner Claudia Sibley, who was there until the end.
Growing up he had a close relationship with his nan, Olive Neil, who always baked his favourite jam drop biscuits for him. Grandma and his niece Peta did their best to replicate the recipe. However in his words "they were never as good as Nana's".
Michael also forged a close bond with the Kidner family, headed by the late George and Bess. Here he made lifelong friends with their sons George, Ian and Johnny, with repeated trips to their homes on the Atherton Tablelands.
If I was going to characterise Dad with one sentence it would be: he was an incredibly reliable, physically hard-working man who always got the job done, rain, hail or shine.
His working career consisted of working on the family farm "Dilga" at Mt Tully and working the winters with the Kidners on the Atherton Tablelands.
He spent some years working for Skillshare, teaching work-for-the-dole participants life skills. With this team he built some of the walking tracks around Red Bridge and Mt Marlay in Stanthorpe.
One of his true passions was his long-time partnership forged with Chris and Sue Sweet growing beef cattle on their property at Amiens.
The majority of his working life was his Boucher Contracting business.
Dad worked very hard over the decades with minimal machinery, building many a long-lasting fence or yards. He had a particular passion for his property entrances, signs and granite stonework.
One of his most treasured achievements was the submission of a wood sculpture he carved that is on display with a Kent saddle in the Stockman's Hall of Fame in Longreach.
Outside of work Dad was an active participant in many local organisations.
In the early years it was basketball and the Stanthorpe Car Club, where he helped instigate Carnell Raceway. Here he enjoyed challenging local drivers to drag race against his old mare Wendy.
He was also a member of the SES, Ballandean Soccer Club, the Eukey Hall committee and was heavily involved with the Rural Fire Service and was never shy to let the big wigs from Brisbane know his opinion on how he felt a bushfire should be managed.
One year he gained fame among the military men of Wallangarra when on a fire trail back-burning a fire jumped the containment line high up in a tree. Clearly out of reach of their hoses, Dad pulled out his Winchester 30-30 and concentrated his fire on this burning limb. He told us he saved the day but we all know Michael never let the truth get in the way of a good yarn.
Another big part of his life was the Stanthorpe Agricultural Society. He was involved with the prime cattle committee, where he was proud to win champion one year, he was a part of the No.3 ring as show jumping steward, ring and rodeo committee, and volunteered for the fruit and vegetable pavilion. He founded dog jumping at the show and I'm sure if I didn't share with you that his favourite dog, Patch, still holds the record of 8 foot 6 inches he would be most upset. Most importantly he was extremely proud and honoured in becoming a life member of the Stanthorpe Agricultural Society.
Michael had many hobbies over the years - water- skiing, fishing, camping, horse riding and shooting. If you ever wanted to see Dad get animated then find him a mob of pigs with a rifle within reach and you could bet even the most important of jobs would be put on hold while he took off into the bush after them.
Being the forever iconical Australian stockman mounted on his favorite mare, Joe, he had an awe-like fascination with the Australian Light Horse Brigade. This interest took him to Beersheba in Israel and the site of the Australian Light Horse charge against the Turkish empire. Another trip he forever talked about was his trip to the USA and in particular his visit to Wichita Falls in Texas. If anyone was ever going to understand him it would be a Texan.
Dad you were forever the hard worker, always willing to help your neighbours and to the Granite Belt community you were someone who was always dependable, reliable and always there to volunteer your labour, tools and your opinion when the hard yakka needed to be done.
I know to your family you weren't the easiest person to live with or be around at times, however we all know that in your own way you loved us all, as we did you.
Keep an eye out for any smoke from up above Dad and send us some rain.
Rest now, old mate, the work is done.