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Jul. 25—A video taken in December 2021 shows David Boucher stretched out on the couch, wearing a princess tiara as his 4 year-old daughter, Irissa, pretends to be a doctor.
Irissa plays with her toy stethoscope and walkie talkie and says to her dad, "You need to go to sleep." He smiles and fake snores as she covers him with a blanket and facecloth and places an Elsa ponytail on his bald head.
"Go dress Mama up so I can video it," Boucher says as he laughs.
Boucher died July 5 of a heart attack at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital in Dover, N.H. He was 38.
The week before he died, Boucher had a cardiac stress test. He followed up with a cardiologist, who scheduled a procedure to place a stent in his heart. Boucher was prepped for the procedure, but his left artery was completely blocked. His doctor had told him he would need to be transported to Boston for emergency open heart surgery. A few minutes after he got that news, his heart stopped beating. His wife, Ashley, was holding his hand.
Boucher loved being a father to Irissa and David Jr., who is 1. He was a hands-on dad, who changed diapers and got on the floor to play. He danced with his kids. He made silly faces to make them laugh. Irissa liked to put makeup on him, climb on him and sleep on his chest. They did puzzles and read their favorite book, "Made for Me," together.
"She was daddy's little girl from day one," said his wife. "We have a picture of Dave and Irissa together. She kisses it every night and cries. She has the shirt he wore to the hospital that morning. She won't let it go."
The Bouchers live in Lebanon. Ashley and David met while playing softball in 2013. She said he flirted with her, using lines like 'I like your bat,' but she wasn't interested.
"I couldn't stand him. He was that obnoxious guy with the loudest laugh. He was so annoying and always cheering so loud. He just didn't do it for me," she says now, laughing.
But then Boucher started texting her funny quotes and memes that made her laugh. They went on their first date to Yee Dynasty for scorpion bowls and karaoke and were inseparable ever after. Boucher told his friends, 'I'm going to marry that girl someday.' They were married in August 2019.
"He told me every single day how beautiful I was and how much he loved me," Ashley Boucher said. "Just like my friend said, 'He will treat you like a queen.' He totally did. Every day I felt like I was in a fairy tale. I'm so thankful I experienced that kind of love from somebody. He changed my life."
Boucher had a big personality and a loyal group of close-knit friends. When he turned 30, friends came together to play softball. His wife said that after the game, he grabbed a handful of cake and smeared it on his friends' faces and gave each one a hug and kiss on the lips.
"I'm like, 'Dave you're ridiculous.' He would literally give you a hug and say, 'I love you buddy.' It's just the kind of guy he was," she said. "Every wedding we went to, he pulled me out on the dance floor. He was always out there dancing. He was so much fun. He was always laughing with people and doing crazy things at weddings like eating a goldfish or jumping in the pool with a full suit on. He was the life of the party everywhere he went."
Boucher grew up in Lebanon and was active in Little League, wrestling and archery. He was a 2002 graduate of Noble High School, where he played baseball and wrestled.
He worked at Boucher's Wood Floors in Lebanon. His father, also David Boucher, who owns the business, said his son started helping on jobs when he was about 5, sitting on the buffer while he buffed floors.
He grew into a smart businessman, who brought hard work, high standards, and integrity to every job he did, said his father. He was on track to take over the business.
"He was top-notch," his father said. "He did what it took to get the job done. His skill level was incredible. He grew the business beyond what I've ever done."
Wrestling remained important to Boucher long after his school days were over. He had been obsessed with it from an early age. After graduating from Noble High, he returned to coach its wrestling team. He also coached and helped his father run the Lebanon Die Hard peewee program.
"Dave was a staple in the Noble wrestling community for many years," said a statement on Noble Wrestling's Facebook page. "Thanks to his incredibly likable personality and excellent coaching skills he touched the hearts of hundreds of young men and women who grew up to become highly successful for our program at the high school level and beyond. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."
On Facebook, Ashley Boucher shared a video from their wedding day, when they entered their reception to Hulk Hogan's theme song, "Real American," by Rick Derringer.
"His whole life, he was obsessed with Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair," she said. "He was a great coach. He was the loudest cheering for them. He always put 110 percent into everything he did, and that's what he asked of the kids he coached. He really made such a huge impact in their lives."
Boucher also was skilled in archery and worked at Brian's Archery Shop in West Barrington, New Hampshire. He was an avid outdoorsman with a passion for hunting. He went on hunting trips with friends to Ohio, Kansas, Montana, Texas, North Dakota, and Kentucky. He hunted for deer, moose, elk, turkeys and wild boar.
"We had a mount of a wild boar in our living room for the longest time. It drove me nuts, but I know he was so proud of that thing," his wife said. "He loved nature. Even during the season when he was unsuccessful, he would go out the next day. He loved the alone time in the woods."
Boucher had owned Allagash Sporting Camp in Maine since last year. He dreamed of becoming a Maine guide to lead hunting, fishing, and canoeing trips.
Jeff Chris, a close friend who hunted with Boucher across seven states, wrote on Facebook that he was one of the best hunters in the area.
"Between the two of us we have tracked hundreds of deer together and one bear, sketchy," Chris wrote. "Every place we went Dave's personality opened so many doors for us. Many of the places we went were guided hunts. Those people soon became friends. Dave was truly larger than life."
In addition to his wife and children, he leaves a younger brother, Danny Boucher.
A GoFundMe campaign has raised $52,000 to help support Ashley, Irissa and David Jr. A visitation service on July 11, drew hundreds of people, extending the service by three hours.
"People were wrapped around the building and down the street," Ashley Boucher said. "It was amazing. He would never have imagined that he had this impact on people, but he did."