The parlours at the Kelly Funeral Home on Carling Avenue were filled to near capacity with well-wishers meeting family members and renewing acquaintances with old friends at a visitation Tuesday for D’Arcy Boucher. Stories about Boucher were abundant bringing forth both smiles and laughter. “Family has always been a priority for D’Arcy and if you are D’Arcy’s friend, you are a friend for life,” were Tony Dunn’s words in the June, 2011 Flagstick profile story on D’Arcy Boucher. It is clear that D’Arcy Boucher had made many friends in his lifetime.
D’Arcy Boucher passed away on Friday, August 14, 2015 in his 88th year. He leaves behind Pauline, his wife of 64 years and his son Michael and daughters Susan and Joanne as well as his sister Sheila and brother Brian. D’Arcy is remembered as the cherished Popa of Kristina, Michael, James, Christopher and David as well as Great-Popa to Ethan and Isobel. D’Arcy is predeceased by his brothers Howard and Carroll.
D’Arcy was a successful businessman with Keyes Supply for 25 years and also Amesbury Distributors while owning and operating the 19th Tee Driving Range on Carling Avenue for 37 years. In 2013 with his health failing, D’Arcy sold the 19th Tee to John Fagan who worked in the shop many years ago and always had the desire to operate the business.
In an interview with Flagstick in 2011 D’Arcy Boucher and I talked about the 19th Tee. “If only the driving mats and grass areas could talk. What a story they could tell about the thousands of golfers who have dropped in to talk, hit balls and take lessons from the on-site CPGA (now PGA of Canada) professionals.”
Born and raised in Aylmer, Quebec in 1928, he began his life in golf as a caddy along with his brothers Brian, Carroll and Howard at the tender age of 11 at the Rivermead Golf Club working for Sam Dempster. D’Arcy remembers receiving the sum of 30 cents for 18 holes. Never shying away from work, D’Arcy and his brothers developed their entrepreneurial spirit as youngsters selling vegetables from their family garden door to door in Aylmer.
Moving down the road to the Chaudiere Golf Club, D’Arcy, at the now seasoned age of 14, was the caddy-master in charge of 100 caddies. He also cleaned clubs and looked after the back room. His talents gained him the position of Assistant professional under Head Professional Gordie Bain the next year.
During their early years, D’Arcy and his brothers were noticeable throughout the Ottawa Valley playing hockey for St. Pats, the Aylmer Saints and the Hull Volants, but never to the level of their first cousin – Frank Boucher. As D’Arcy said in an interview, “I wish I could have followed my cousin in hockey.”
Opportunity came knocking the following year and D’Arcy left for Fort William and the head professional position at the local golf club. He also participated in a lot of Open golf competitions. According to D’Arcy, “My efforts in those left a lot to be desired, but I gained a wealth of experience.”
D’Arcy applied to the RCGA to regain his amateur status, which he received in 1953 after sitting out two years of competitive golf. Playing out of the Chaudiere and later the Rivermead Golf Clubs, D’Arcy became one of the top ranked amateur golfers in the area and went on to compete successfully in the Ottawa Valley over the next 20 years.
Highlights of those years were his Ottawa District Golf Association (ODGA) Championships in 1954 and 1962; his ODGA Match Play Championships in 1955 and 1962; his status as a Willingdon Cup Team Member for Quebec in 1954 and his being named twice as the Associated Canadian Travelers Golfer of the Year for Ottawa in 1954 and 1962. D’Arcy was also club champion at Chaudiere in 1956 and Rivermead in 1962.
During this golden era of amateur golf in the Ottawa area, D’Arcy Boucher held his own with names like Ben Chabot, Don Cordukes, Don Davidson, Frank desRivieres, Denny Exeter, Ted Fenwick, Joe Galon, Paul Going, Alex Henderson, Fred Hunt, Joe Lamb, Alex Larocque, Des Liston, Andy Nezan, Bob Pollock, Hugh Riopelle, Glen Seely, Bob Stimpson, Norm Ventura, Don Westfall and Pete Zebchuck to name a few who were dominating the golf scene at the time.
D’Arcy wasn’t hard to miss in a crowd as he stood out with his full head of white hair. You might have thought that he was a lot older than he looked, but he had that attribute since his early teens when he was nicknamed either “Bush” or “Silver”.
Renowned Ottawa Journal Golf columnist Eddie MacCabe once described his friend D’Arcy in a column as “… considerate, obliging, and honest as anyone alive, overpoweringly shy and a blusher.”
Strong praise indeed for a gentleman who has dedicated his life to his family, his friends and the game of golf, but accurate and well deserved.
Rest in Peace D’Arcy as you join your brothers Carroll and Howard.
The Ottawa sports community has indeed lost a friend.