Albert Joel Drouillard
March 7, 1940 — May 22, 2019
Known as Bert by his friends and family, Bert was first born of three boys and one stepbrother to Arthur and Dorothy Drouillard, of Detroit.
He met his sweetheart at 15 and married Joan Buchan at the age of 22. They remained married more than 50 years, when Joan preceded him in death in 2012. They have three biological children and a daughter-in-law: Linda Mugaas, of Alaska; Brian Drouillard, of Arizona; and Scott and his wife, Trina, of Arizona.
Bert has two granddaughters born to Brian, Nicole and Ashley; and Ashley and her husband, John, gave him his first great-granddaughter, Brielle.
Scott and Trina have given him four grandsons. They are: Wayne, Shawn, Alex and Connor.
My Dad was funny and yet a humble man, sharing nuggets of wisdom from time to time. He was a good provider. He was a great treasure hunter. Sometimes the value was obvious; sometimes only he knew its value. He enjoyed the search as much as the discovery.
He loved his wife and barely knew what to do after she was gone. He survived through returning to church and joining Granny Boot Camp, an exercise class held three times a week with a wonderful group of folks.
Before he retired to the desert, he lived on the water for many years. He was a marine engineer for 20 years with the Alaska Marine Highway out of Ketchikan, Alaska, where he retired from the Coast Guard as chief engineer.
He also had lighthouse duty, icebreaker duty, search and rescue, and drug enforcement through his service of 22 years in the Coast Guard. Before that, he was in the Army.
He left high school early and joined the Army. He was sent to Germany, where he grew to love the people, the land and the beer. He tells many a story of his days there and, if you knew him, you probably have heard some of them. He came back to marry our Mom.
Although he left school early, he was a smart guy, always studying for a new rank. Years later, a skipper on the boat had found out he and a few others didn’t have their diplomas. He tutored them, and Dad’s diploma says 1974, just a few years before mine. He went to a parochial school, and his school class never let him go. He went to many reunions; even last year, we went for his 60th-year class reunion. He had a great time; it was like I could see that funny 15-year-old laughing with his classmates. Although he was shy and quiet at times, I could see it in his eyes.
He loved my Mom and, when she was passing, it was most difficult for us, but more so for him, I don’t think he could believe it. They were like Yin and Yang. She took good care of him, he took good care of her and, together, they took good care of us. We went on adventures of camping, traveling across the countryside to our next assignment. Dad was born an engineer, so are his kids; we all think like him. He taught us how to work on cars and take care of things.
When they retired after 40 years on the water, we were a little surprised by their adventure to the desert here in Cochise. They loved it here. They could spread out on their land, and the scenery here is incredible. They would have the family out for Easter, and the kids would look for treasured Easter eggs, and then they would enjoy each other’s company over dinner.
After Mom passed, we hoped he would move closer to the family; but as much as he loved his family, he loved his freedom and all the memories he shared with Mom out on the ranch. He has a new great-granddaughter and enjoyed looking at her photos. He loved his grandkids and was so very proud of them. He enjoyed hearing what they were up to. He loved his kids and enjoyed visits and phone calls.
He has left us many memories and treasures of our adventures and theirs. He is now at rest with his wife and our Mom. We will miss him; we will miss them.
You may express condolences at www.west lawnchapelmortuary.com.
Arrangements were entrusted to Westlawn Chapel, Mortuary and Crematory of Willcox.