SACO — In nearly every photo that flashed across the screen, Wendy Boudreau was at the center, her smiling face framed by a halo of soft curls. In all of them she was with her family, her arms wrapped around her husband, children or grandchildren.

That, said those who loved her, was how Boudreau lived her life and what makes it seem nearly impossible to reconcile the shock of losing her so unexpectedly.

“It’s been like a lightning strike on a sunny day,” said the Rev. Burt Howe of United Baptist Church of Saco, who led the funeral service for Boudreau at Thornton Academy on Tuesday. “It came out of the blue and left us reeling.”

Boudreau, 59, died Aug. 19 after Connor S. MacCalister stabbed her in the neck in the ice cream aisle of Shaw’s in Saco, police said. MacCalister, 31, had planned the attack for about a month, but Boudreau was chosen at random, according to a police affidavit.

MacCalister is being held without bail in the York County Jail.

More than 600 people filled Thornton Academy to honor Boudreau, celebrating her as a vivacious and caring mother and grandmother who lived life joyfully.

Boudreau’s daughter Jessica spoke on behalf of the family, telling stories of a boisterous clan held together by their mother, who relished time with her four adult children and nine grandchildren.

“She raised four rowdy kids with grace,” her daughter said.

Boudreau had lived in Saco for most of her life, and was married for 40 years to Jeffrey Boudreau, her high school sweetheart.

“Jeff said, ‘She was the love of my life, my best friend and one of the best people I’ve known,’ ” Howe said during the service. Jeff Boudreau embraced each person who spoke about his wife as the speaker left the stage.

Jessica Boudreau said her mother planned everything to a T, loved to work and enjoyed feeding everyone around her. She embraced her role as “Grammy” with playfulness and compassion, and led her family in Easter and Thanksgiving pea fights.

“She was the glue that holds us together,” Jessica Boudreau said.

Last Sunday, Wendy Boudreau’s husband and children took her in a hearse for a final visit to Trickey Pond in Naples, where they had vacationed for 35 years and made some of the family’s fondest memories.

“Words will never truly give justice to the life she led and the person she was,” her daughter said.

Linda Valentino, a state senator from Saco and a friend of Wendy Boudreau since elementary school, said her friend was “fun and daring and full of life.” As a Thornton Academy student, Boudreau was a varsity cheerleader who was always up for adventure.

Laughter filled Garland Auditorium as Valentino described the walks she and Boudreau would take to Dairy Queen for ice cream just so Boudreau could walk past the house of her future husband, then a cute classmate with hair longer than Wendy’s, Valentino said.

For many years, Boudreau worked as the office manager for the family business, Jeff Boudreau General Contractor. She also had been a nurse and worked in the Thornton Academy Alumni Office.

Cathy Coffman, who worked with Boudreau at Thornton Academy, said Boudreau was a wonderful friend to all who knew her and was admired by many for always putting her family first.

“It was inspiring to see the close relationship (her children) had with their mom,” she said. “Wendy’s conversations were peppered with ‘Jeff’ and ‘Jeff and I’ and ‘we.’ ”

Sister Patti Parisien said Boudreau loved having a house full of “tons of kids, friends, teammates and enough food to feed them all.”

“If everybody could be just a bit like her, what a kinder and more gentle world we’d live in,” she said.


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