Friends gather to memorialize Boucher GBC ex-director recalled for tireless efforts, humor

November 19, 1995|By C. Fraser Smith | C. Fraser Smith,SUN STAFF

William Boucher III was hailed yesterday as a passionate striver for civil rights whose good humor and intelligence helped build alliances between businessmen and politicians seeking to solve Baltimore's most vexing problems.

"He wanted to spread around the good in our society," said state Sen. Clarence W. Blount of Baltimore after a memorial service for Mr. Boucher, who died Monday at 76.

Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, former Gov. Harry R. Hughes and former U.S. Sen. Charles McC. Mathias Jr. were among 500 friends and associates who gathered at Old St. Paul's Church on Charles Street at Saratoga Street for the memorial service.

As director of the Greater Baltimore Committee for //TC quarter-century, Mr. Boucher's job was to find common ground for a disparate cast of characters: corporate executives, public officials, educators, urban planners, architects and others.

One of several people who offered words of tribute, former Mayor Thomas J. D'Alesandro Jr. called Mr. Boucher "the cement" of that assembly. His lifelong calling card was "gung-ho determination," Mr. D'Alesandro said.

"I feel confident that in the four days he's been in heaven he's already asked for an audience with God and St. Peter to give them the benefit of his recommendations on improvement of their operational procedures," Mr. D'Alesandro said, drawing laughter from the congregation.

"He had the guts and character to build a better future," said Frances R. Smith, a friend who said Mr. Boucher had been a mentor. The more the political mood shifted against him, she said, the stronger he became. "Bill stayed the course."

Grace Petty, another close friend, said Mr. Boucher never neglected his role as godfather to her son, Curtis, who called him "Captain Action." Whatever he promised to do he did, offering the same level of commitment to children as he did to the captains of Baltimore industry, she said.

"The text of Bill Boucher's life," Mr. Mathias said, may be found in the epistle of James: "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only."

Yesterday's service was at Old St. Paul's, in part, because it is near the downtown areas he helped to rebuild.

"All around us," said Bernard Manekin, whose real estate offices are adjacent to those of the Greater Baltimore Committee, "is the work of your hand, your mind and your heart."

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