FARMINGTON – Mitch Boulette’s Harley-Davidson sat idle on the front lawn of “Old South” Thursday as those inside remembered him as a simple, quiet man who worked hard and played hard.
The 60-year-old Boulette, Farmington’s Public Works director for nearly 23 years, died July 6 after a battle with lung cancer that was discovered in January.
More than 200 people came to celebrate Boulette’s life and listen to Leanne Womack’s recorded song “I Hope You Dance” that began the service at “Old South,” the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Farmington.
Stan Wheeler, a member of the church’s pastoral team, led the service by repeating the words of the song, “Turn, Turn, Turn (To Everything There is a Season)” that has text from the Bible in Ecclesiastics, 3, put to music.
“It reminds us of all the emotions we feel at times like this,” Wheeler said. “We want to mourn. We want to cry … There is a time to mourn, a time to dance.”
It is Mitch’s request, Wheeler said, that the benefit supper followed by a dance planned for him go on at 5 p.m. Friday, July 20, at the Farmington Elks Lodge.
He wanted people to gather there to share some memories and dance, for there is a time to dance, a time to mourn, Wheeler said.
John Gensel, a family friend, said he sat down with the family and they talked about Boulette and he recorded what they said.
He called it the gospel of Mitch Boulette, which included his family’s words about him. They remembered him as a simple, quiet man, an awesome dad, a red-neck engineer who could fix or build anything, including a three-story elevator for the least amount of money, a man who loved fishing, and someone who worked hard and played hard.
He was a self-taught, knowledgeable man who got his general education development certificate, paid his bills, had his oil changed every 3,000 miles, always kept his oil tank filled, loved his family and cared about the town of Farmington and the community.
Their words described him as an old country cowboy who enjoyed the simple things in life.
Even his young granddaughter Emma White had her words included in Mitch’s gospel: “We sent balloons up to him,” Gensel said, referring to her grandfather.
Family members described him as a man of few words but when he spoke, you listened, Gensel said.
And he loved his girls at the town office, said Gensel, who is married to Mavis Gensel, a town office employee.
Mitch told his family before he died to have one day of mourning and then everybody just have a big party, Gensel said.
Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis said that he met Boulette 15 years ago but only really got to know him in the last six years as the town’s manager. They formed a bond based on trust and respect.
He was an “excellent” public works director who always did good work in a timely manner, Davis said.
He was a dedicated public servant who worked countless hours to keep the town’s roads in good shape and was a master of a good deal.
“He had a way of looking down the road – no pun intended” with a vision that served the town well, Davis added. “He left his mark on this town, and I for one am grateful.”