BRUNSWICK — Herman J. Boudreau, 93, died peacefully Sunday after a brief illness, surrounded by his family.
He was born in Waterville Jan. 20, 1920, to Richard and Lucie Boudreau of Waterville, and attended local schools there. As a teenager, he worked as a lumberjack, hauling logs in Rumford, and was part of highway construction crews from Waterville to Augusta. At the age of 17, he joined the Civilian Conservation Corps in Craig, Colo., and helped build roads and bridges across the country.
On Christmas Day 1941, he entered the U.S. Army, attending basic training at Camp Drum, N.Y., and later infantry training at Fort Benning, Ga. During World War II, while attached to the 103rd Infantry, 43rd Division, 2nd Battalion, he was stationed in New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Boudreau spent 27 months in the South Pacific, fighting Japanese resistance from island to island. His first action was at Guadalcanal, where he received the Bronze Star. He was later wounded and received the Purple Heart. After recovering from his injuries, he was sent to New Caledonia and continued on to New Georgia, where he earned a Silver Star for leading a tank while under fire.
He continued in the military after the war, rising through the ranks and ultimately becoming command sergeant major of the Maine Army National Guard. He retired in 1967 after 27 years of service to his country.
He joined the Maine State Police on Dec. 23, 1945. For most of his career, he was assigned to the Highway Safety Program, where he traveled throughout the state, conducting highway-safety presentations in nearly every high school, college and military campus.
He also was an instructor at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy, teaching riot control and self-defense. In 1965 he was awarded the state’s first Trooper of the Year award and was later honored with a Legendary State Trooper award in 1987 for his legacy of achievements. He retired at the rank of sergeant in 1967.
Throughout his youth and military service, Boudreau was an avid amateur boxer. He logged five wins as a middleweight fighter, later spending years as a boxing trainer in several local gyms and at the Brunswick Naval Air Station.
After retiring from the State Police and the National Guard, he assisted his wife for several years before becoming the Chief of Police in Freeport. He later owned and operated Boudreau’s Courier and Security Agency, providing armed bank delivery and commercial security services in the Brunswick and Bath areas.
In 1987, he and his wife, Nancie, moved to Brooklyn, N.Y., and served in a shelter for homeless men for two years. Upon their return to Maine in 1989, he helped his wife as she ran the Three Little Bears Nursery School until 2010. He will be lovingly remembered as Mr. Policeman and Pepere to the more than 5,000 children who attended the nursery school over its 48-year existence.
He was predeceased by his parents; his brothers Richard, Dominic and Dennis; his sister, Katherine Sirois; and his grandson, Aaron Boudreau.
He is survived by the love of his life, the former Nancie B. Daigle, to whom he was married for 54 years. In addition, he is survived by his four children, Marc Nichols and his wife Marilyn, of Grass Valley, Calif., Herman J. “Buddy” Boudreau II and his wife Deidre, of Kingfield, Nancie Smith and the late Thomas Smith, of Brunswick, and Armand and his partner Renee Masillam, of St. Petersburg, Fla.; his granddaughters, Theresa Bayha and her husband Todd, of Wells, and Ann Day, of Bonair, Ga.; great-grandson Kaleb Day, of Bonair, Ga.; his sisters, Marguerite Bouchard and the late John Bouchard, Therese Turlo, and Cecile Butler and the late Walter Butler; as well as many nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law, friends and former colleagues.
A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated Thursday at St. John the Baptist Church, in Brunswick. Burial with military honors will follow at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, on Mount Vernon Road in Augusta.