For the second time in one school year, the St. Dom’s community is grieving.

After losing Principal Michael Welch to cancer last September, the Auburn school braced itself for heartbreak again when longtime coach and current athletic director Bob Boucher was stricken last weekend while on vacation in Florida.

Boucher, 55, of Lewiston, died Thursday night, leaving a second significant void in the hearts of the St. Dom’s community.

“It’s awful,” said Don Fournier, the St. Dom’s principal who succeeded Welch in October. “They were two very, very huge personalities and two wonderful men, highly respected. They’re two legends.”

The school was aware of Boucher’s grave condition for much of the week, but that didn’t make things any easier when the news was announced Friday morning.

“You’re never ready,” said Diane Robitaille, a teacher at St. Dom’s who worked with Boucher for nearly 30 years. “We’ve known this for almost a week, and we were never ready. We knew it was the best for him, but it’s still a shock.”

Fournier was informed late Thursday evening by the Boucher family. He gathered the St. Dom’s community Friday morning.

“I woke up at 4:30 a.m., and I wrote something down, something to tell them about how important he was to us,” Fournier said. “I brought them together in an assembly in the gym. We did a little prayer and a reading from the Bible and sang one of the songs that was appropriate. We’ll make it through, but it’s really tough, especially the second time around.”

Most of the seniors are not in school this week because of required involvement in the community. Most students knew Boucher mostly as an administrator, but many of the faculty had worked with him for decades.

The school canceled the athletic events scheduled for Friday, but will continue with the prom tonight.

“We thought about (canceling the prom), but you have to think about the person,” Fournier said. “He would have said ‘No, No No. These kids have to have fun.’ He’d want them to.”

Boucher was an iconic figure at the school. When someone thought of St. Dom’s athletics, Bob Boucher often came to mind.

Ryan Gleason, the director of admissions and a former coach of basketball, cross country and soccer, fondly recalls the first time he ever met Boucher. The athletic director was out at Drouin Field in Lewiston, mowing the grass and prepping it for competition.

“He was doing all he could,” Gleason said. “He had an army of soccer players who were helping him mow. He was a worker, and he would do anything he had to do. That was my very first image of him.”

Gleason quickly developed respect and admiration for a man who played a significant role in developing the athletic program that exists today. Before St. Dom’s left Lewiston for the new school and athletic complex in Auburn, Boucher juggled his duties around various sites while also building what has become an impressive athletic program.

“He did all the hard work,” Gleason said. “He started with a small number of sports, and the sports program has grown 90 percent since then.”

What Robitaille appreciated most was the support Boucher provided for all sports and athletes. Robitaille worked with the cheering program, and the athletic director was always enthusiastic. He’d often give her a prediction about cheering competitions with a wink and a smile, and he’d often be right.

“We’ve come where we are because of him,” Robitaille said. “Thirty-three sports or more. It’s unbelievable. He’s such a supporter. Cheerleaders don’t always get respect, but boy, did he give us respect. He supported us completely.”

To the St. Dom’s community, he wasn’t just a coach or an administrator, he was a friend. That’s what will be the biggest loss.

“I’m just going to miss him terribly,” Robitaille said. “We all will. It’s going to be so empty in the lunchroom without him because he would always be ready with a good funny comment. That’s what I’m going to miss the most.”

The grieving process was hard last fall when Welch, a beloved figure, died. The school recently dedicated a walkway in his memory at Gracelawn Memorial Park.

The school is trying to handle the current difficult time in a similar manner. Fournier said the school provided students and faculty an opportunity to talk or find solitude Friday.

“We had counselors available (Friday) morning,” Fournier said. “We opened the chapel and put a picture in the chapel of Mr. Boucher, to allow kids to go in there and pray or meditate. These are the things we did the first time.”

Gleason said the foundation of faith that the school is built upon provides a perspective, purpose and a sense of peace in times like this.

The close-knit St. Dom’s community also provides comfort and support. Many consoled Robitaille and others who faced a difficult day Friday.

“I don’t know if you have that at another school,” said Robitaille. “The faculty. The kids. It’s unbelievable, and that goes a long way. It’s really the St. Dom’s family. It’s nice to know that they’re there for us. It goes beyond just teaching together.”

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