ESCANABA - Catherine Joan Augusta Mercier Boudreau, 82, of Escanaba, died Wednesday, July 31, 2013, at the Bishop Noa Home. She had lived independently at home until early July.
She was born Monday, Oct. 13, 1930, in Negaunee to Clifford and Adeline (Dahlberg) Mercier. She lived in Michigamme with her parents until age 4 when her dad transferred to Escanaba with his job at the railroad. She graduated from Escanaba High School in 1948 and married Raymond J. Boudreau on Sept. 11, 1948. They had eight children. Raymond died on Dec. 7, 2012.
For most of her life, her close friends and family called her "Joanie" or "JoAnn." When she began her working career, in her mid-50s, she gave her coworkers the choice of calling her by one of these names or by "Cathy." They chose "Cathy."
Catherine J. Boudreau
Catherine J. Boudreau
She always said she had lived her life backwards - raising a family, going to college, and then going to work. She was a homemaker until her early 50s, when she attended and earned an associate's degree from Bay College. Upon graduation, she began working at the U.S. Forest Service office in Escanaba, retiring at age 74. As a last-minute favor to a coworker, she once dressed as "Smoky Bear" for a Forest Service visit to a local school, but soon found out because of her shape and size that "Woodsy the Owl" would have been a better choice.
Throughout her life she was an avid reader and enjoyed playing cards and Scrabble. She had a knack for crafts and for being able to sew together an outfit on a whim. When television video games became popular, she joined the fun and would even have long phone conversations with her oldest grandson to figure out a plan to defeat "the monster" in one of the first Zelda games.
She was a green thumb with houseplants and could make a "slip" of almost any plant take root and then pass it along for someone to take home to plant. She was also very interested in computers, having worked in the computer shop for a while at the Forest Service. She enjoyed surfing the Internet, keeping in touch by e-mail with friends and family, and even had a Facebook account. She had a passion to learn new things and didn't want her mind to "get old." Some of her granddaughters referred to her as their "hip" grandma as she always made sure she was well-dressed, hair done, and makeup and jewelry on. She loved God's beauty in nature - from flowers, trees, and green grass, to beautiful sunsets and rainbows. She had a strong faith in God. She was not bashful in telling her family how much she loved and appreciated them.
Survivors include her children and their spouses: Dennis (Shirley) Boudreau of Rock, Katherine "Dee" (Tom) LeCuyer of Plano, Ill., Karen (Ken) Tryan of Escanaba, Raymond Boudreau Jr. of Plano IL., Mark T. Boudreau of Escanaba, and Debra (Dave) Rose of Escanaba; grandchildren Julie (David) Klein, Denise (Mark) Boudreau-Seymour, Rebecca (Dan) Hall, Jennifer (Scott) Catey, Tom (Cassie) LeCuyer, Tony (Mary) LeCuyer, Sean (Lisa) Rivard, Jamey Rivard, Ashley Boudreau, Jared Boudreau, Heidi (Nathan) Belanger, Andrew (Shannon Swanson) Boudreau, Andrew Peters, Daniel LeClaire, Simon Rose, Maggie Rose, and Todd Rose; several great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, sisters-in-law Dorothy Kang and Lorraine Mercier, and former daughter-in-law and special friend Mary (Fred) Wagner of Gladstone.
In addition to Raymond, she was preceded in death by their son David, in 2003, newborn daughter Mary Ann in 1964, and granddaughter Lisa VanLaanen Green in 2009. Her brothers Clifford "Kip" Mercier, Robert S. Mercier, and George Ralph Mercier also preceded her in death.
Visitation will be held Sunday, Aug. 4, from 2 to 5 p.m, immediately followed by a vigil service by Deacon Michael LaBeau at the Skradski Family Funeral Home in Escanaba.
Mass of Christian Burial, to honor the life of Catherine J. Boudreau, will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, Aug. 5, at St. Anne's Catholic Church, with Rev. Fr. Fran DeGroot officiating. A time of fellowship will follow in the church gathering area before she is laid to rest in the Gardens of Rest Cemetery in Wells at 1:30 p.m.
The Skradski Family Funeral Homes of Delta County are assisting the Boudreau family with arrangements. Messages of condolence to the Boudreau family may be directed online at www.skradskifuneralhomes.com.