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Ann Morrison Bouchard

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Ann Morrison Bouchard 1927-2008 To our grandmother. For the longest time it seemed that her favorite seat was on the soft, cream-colored carpet, rolled out over the garage floor. To her left and right were stacks of well-loved children's books, and boxes filled with crayons, play dough, and shapes for the felt board. Seated at the little tykes table among the tambourines and bubbles were her grandchildren. While we span 28 years from oldest to youngest, we each vividly remember sitting at that table in a room adorned with nothing less than all of our grandmother's affection, attention, and love. In that playroom, our grandmother, Ann Morrison Bouchard, told us about the "big flood" on Nov. 3rd, 1927, the day she was born in Bellows Falls, Vt. She regaled us with tales of her own childhood in North Bennington, Vt., where she lived with her family on School Street. Her father, Ralph, who was the baker at Bennington College, taught her honesty, kindness, and how to frost a wedding cake. Her mother, Josephine, the school chef at North Bennington High School, taught her sewing, needlepoint, cooking, and faith. Each of us recalls our first piano lessons, sitting on Grandma's lap with our hands resting lightly on top of hers. We would stare, mesmerized, as her fingers graced the keys, sounding out the melodies from her favorite minuets, musicals, and Mickey Mouse cartoons. Her official training to become our "personal entertainer" began at an early age when she took piano lessons from Geneva Montle in Bennington. She went to school at North Bennington High School, from which she graduated in 1945. Her musical training continued at the Boston Conservatory where she studied piano and met our grandfather, Bob Bouchard. They were married in June 1949 in North Bennington, and lived in New Hampshire and New York before moving to California. Music remained an integral part of her life; she played in various trios and quartets, and eventually with her husband, Bob's, band. Although we were her six "unofficial" students, she taught many a child how to play the piano in Hollister, Calif., where she lived for the last 45 years. While Grandma Ann liked to claim that she was an ordinary woman tending to the matters of the home, her life was truly extraordinary. In the midst of raising four children, she finished her Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Arizona in 1964, and taught kindergarten and first grade in Hollister, all the while making her home a special place with cozy touches, like tucking her children into warm sheets fresh from the dryer on a chilly night. During her retirement, she spent countless hours researching our family history, and was an active member of both the Retired Teachers Association and the Gabilan chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Our grandmother passed away peacefully, surrounded by her family, on Oct. 27th, 2008 after a long battle with lung disease. She has left many warm memories with her husband of 59 years, Bob Bouchard; her children, Cathy Combs (Steve) of Los Altos, Calif., David Bouchard (Cathy) of Pleasanton, Calif., Ellen Hill (Curtis) of Hollister, Calif., and Peggy Martell (Pat) of Brookeville, M.D.; as well as her grandchildren, Brian and Diana Combs, Kevin Hill, Isabel Bouchard, and Molly and Jack Martell. She also leaves her brother-in-law Paul Bouchard (Irene) of St. Albans, Vt., sister-in-law Barbara Menna (Pat) of Prairie du Chien, WI, and many cousins, nieces and nephews across the country. Her best friend from childhood and throughout life, Pauline Harrington Knapp Granger, still lives in the Bennington area. FUNERAL NOTICE: A Celebration of Ann's life took place on Monday, Nov. 3rd, 2008 at 11 a.m. at Saint Benedict's Catholic Church, Fairview Road, Hollister. It would have been her 81st birthday. In lieu of flowers, our grandmother requested that donations be made in her honor to the Ann Morrison Bouchard Memorial Scholarship Fund at San Benito High School. Checks may be made to: "SBHS-Ann Bouchard Scholarship" and mailed to GRUNNAGLE-AMENT-NELSON FUNERAL HOME, 870 San Benito Street, Hollister, CA 95023. To our ever-Irish Grandma Ann: "Until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hand."
Published in Bennington Banner on Nov. 3, 2008
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