WEST LINN, Oregon — John Sandford Bouchard passed away suddenly at his home in West Linn, Oregon, on Feb. 11, 2019. “Sandy,” as he was known to friends and family, was born in Missoula to Joseph and Cynthia Bouchard. He was the youngest of four sons. He grew up in Bonner and spent an idyllic childhood roaming the hills around Bonner and hunting, fishing and camping in the Blackfoot Valley with his brothers and friends. He told many stories of their escapades throughout the years, including jumping off the cliffs into the Blackfoot River and playing hooky-bob on the backs of the logging trains. Sandy often marveled that he survived his boyhood adventures!
Sandy attended Missoula County High School where he held numerous leadership positions and graduated in 1959. He received an appointment from former U.S. Senator James E. Murray to attend the newly-established U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and sang nationally with the Air Force Academy Chorale.
Sandy graduated from the Academy in 1963 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He attended flight school at Reese Air Force Base, Texas, and finished his training as the Vietnam War begin to escalate. He was subsequently assigned to fly heavy lift transport aircraft, initially out of McChord Air Force Base Washington and then Tokyo, Japan. His flights supported worldwide missions, especially those in Vietnam. Upon completing his tour in Japan, he returned to the U.S. and retrained to fly rescue helicopters. He returned for a second tour of duty overseas, flying out of Thailand and various U.S. bases.
Interspersing his aviation assignments, Sandy was assigned to the University of Washington to study and prepare as an Air Intelligent Specialist in Eastern European Affairs. A three-year tour in Germany at a NATO Air Defense Unit followed.
In 1979, he was able to return to flying and flew helicopters facilitating regional rescue and support missions at FE Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He retired in 1984 after 22 years in the military. His career enabled his family to experience living in various countries and various states and instilled a sense of adventure and travel which remains with his daughters to this day.
Sandy was a generous, giving man who fought tirelessly for answers for his MIA brother (LCDR Michael L. Bouchard), who disappeared over Laos in 1968. Sandy was committed to finding and bringing his brother’s remains home, but unfortunately this closure did not occur before Sandy’s death.
His family will remember this man best for his quick sense of humor, his firmly independent ways, the twinkle in his eye, his love of family, and his fondness for dogs, crossword puzzles, storytelling and a spirited game of cribbage.
He was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers Samuel, Pat and Michael Bouchard.
He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Joan of West Linn, Oregon; his daughters Shannon Bouchard (Evan Schechter) of Portland, Oregon, and Mikell (John) Bodner of Raynesford; his grandchildren Paige Bodner, Noah Schechter, Jess Bodner, Chase Schechter and Eli Bodner. He is also survived by Emily Kosokar and her son, Essie and numerous nieces and nephews whom he loved.
Those wishing to make a contribution in John’s memory could donate to a charity of their choice or to the following organization that he was involved in for decades:
The National League of Families of Prisoner or War and Missing in Action
5673 Columbia Pike, Ste 100
Falls Church, VA 22041
These funds would be utilized to support the volunteer efforts to account for, and bring home, the remains of military men and women missing from the Vietnam War.
Graveside services will be held on June 22, 2019, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary's Cemetery in Missoula with a reception to follow.