Richard Preston Bouchard
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Richard Preston Bouchard
  • May 17, 1926 - December 12, 2016
  • Saint Louis, Missouri

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Richard Preston Bouchard passed away in St. Louis, Missouri on December 12, 2016 at the age of 90.

Richard was born May 17, 1926 to parents George and Anna (Files) Bouchard in Millinocket, Maine, and was raised in East Millinocket, Maine with younger siblings Robert Bouchard and Georgia (Bouchard) Gray. He was active in St. Peter's Catholic Church as an altar boy and later as the choir director.

Richard enlisted 1943 in the Army Air Corps at the age of 17, and studied aircraft maintenance until he was old enough to report for duty in May of 1944. He earned bronze stars as a belly-gunner in the B-17 "Miaz's Dragon" in the 603rd Bomber Squadron of the 398th Bombardment Group of the 8th Air Force campaigns in Central Europe and Rhineland. He served until 1946.

After the war, Richard graduated with a degree in Business Administration/Economics from the University of Maine. He was the best hitter when he played baseball for the university, then for the Ruffians farm team. He returned home to East Millinocket, and after a brief stint selling life insurance, he started his life's work as an educator, first as a junior high school teacher, then as a teaching principal from 1950-1962. He coached basketball and baseball, taught band, and played in the town band. He earned his Master's Degree in Curriculum Development from the University of Maine. During summers and winter breaks, he worked for the Great Northern Paper Company.

He married Lois Avery in 1949 and together they raised three sons: Philip Dale Bouchard, Stephen Richard Bouchard, and Peter Lynn Bouchard. They were married for 27 years.

In 1962, Richard moved his family to St. Louis, where he served as the principal of Spoede School in Ladue School District from 1962-1970. There he also served as Assistant Coordinator of Instruction and Director of Special Services (1968-1970.) He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and Curriculum Development from St. Louis University in 1969. In 1970, Richard joined Webster College of Webster Groves, Missouri as a Professor and Director of Teacher Education, then rapidly expanded their education program as Dean of the Master of Arts in Teaching program from 1973-1980. There he championed Affective Education, Inquiry-Based Learning, and Learning Potential, a positive approach to meeting different learning styles. He was a frequent presenter at conferences and served as an advisor to a number of programs for children with learning differences, including the Judevine Center. He was a partner in the summer camp, Champion Springs in the Ozarks.

In 1977, Richard married Lorraine "Lorrie" (Laken) Nickolai. They had a daughter, Emily Astrid-Augustine Bouchard. After leaving St. Louis, Richard served as an Assistant Dean at Regis College of Denver; Headmaster of Torah Day School in Houston; and Assistant Director for Teacher Training at Briarwood School of Houston. As a supervisor, he helped to open Brookwood Community for functionally disabled adults in Brookshire, Texas.

Richard's hobbies included acting in community theater; he served on the Board of Directors of the Little Theater of Webster Groves. He loved the out-of-doors, tromping through the snow, hiking up mountains, and camping with children. He loved to sail on Lake Carlisle in Illinois, where he served as Commodore of the Yacht Club. He could pick up any instrument and play it, and instilled a love of music in many students.

In 1986, Richard assisted Lorraine with opening Rainard School for Gifted Learners in Houston, Texas. There he served on the Board of Directors and conducted the admissions assessments, then joined as a classroom teacher, saying that his career in education had come full-circle: he was back in a junior high classroom. Outside the classroom, he taught PE through lively games, and he taught many students to build in the summers as they constructed "Fort Rain" and a 4-story treehouse in a giant live oak tree. His Odyssey of the Mind teams twice advanced to the Texas state competition. He retired very gradually, and retired completely from working with students when he and Lorraine moved to northern Virginia. He was beloved by the thousands of students, educators and parents whose lives he touched.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents and siblings. He is survived by his sons Philip and Peter of St. Louis, Missouri; son Stephen of Pensacola, Florida; daughter Emily (Bouchard, Handley) Machado of Lake Jackson, Texas; and wife of 39 years, Lorraine (Laken, Nickolai) Bouchard of Alexandria, Virginia; 11 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.

A Celebration of Life memorial will be held on Sunday, February 26th from 11:30 - 1:30 at Rainard School, 11059 Timberline Road, Houston, Texas. Guests are invited to share memories, eat pancakes, and listen to New Orleans jazz.

Those who would like to commemorate his life may wish to contribute to Rainard School, Inc., c/o Richard Bouchard Memorial Fund, 11059 Timberline Road, Houston, Texas 77043.