Melvin “Mickey” Boutilier, 83

Melvin "Mickey" D. Boutilier

Melvin “Mickey” D. Boutilier, 83, passed away at Maine Medical Center in Portland on Monday, Dec. 24, 2012 after a brief illness, with family at his side.

Mickey was born in Bridgton on Oct. 21, 1929 and graduated from Bridgton High School and Farmington State Teachers College. He played a variety of sports including basketball, baseball and football and held the position of Student Council president. He went on to serve as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army in Korea. Upon returning to the States, he became a teacher at high schools in Bridgton, Groveton, N.H. and Gorham.

As a baseball coach, Mickey became known when his Little League team in Bridgton went on to win 54 straight games in a three-year span and his Pony League team won the state championship.

While teaching and coaching, Mickey spent his summers working at Camp Waban, a day camp for children with intellectual disabilities. This is where he gained his love for the children he worked for and went on to become a special education teacher.

While teaching in Gorham, Mickey took a group of special education students from Maine to compete in the first-ever Special Olympics at Soldiers Field in Chicago, founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver and funded by the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation. Upon his return, he started the first Special Olympics in Maine. Mickey was a legend in the world of Special Olympics and his program was used as a model for other states and countries to develop their own programs. He also started the first Winter Special Olympics.

Over the years, Mickey has traveled the world including a trip to Egypt to help develop Special Olympics in their country. He was good friends with Eunice Kennedy Shriver and served as an honorary pallbearer at her funeral. He dined at the White House, attended Rose Kennedy’s 100th birthday party and received numerous awards over the years for his service to people with intellectual disabilities including the Angel Award, which is the highest award given by Special Olympics International.

Other awards included: Maine Teacher of the Year, 1974; Maine Health & Physical Education Recognition, 1977; Jefferson Award Winner, 1980; Commissioner Award, Maine Department of Mental Health, 1980; Maine American Legion Humanitarian of the Year, 1982; Maine Chiefs of Police Humanitarian of the Year, 1984; induction into the Maine Sports Legends Hall of Honors, 2001; awarded the prestigious Eunice Kennedy Shriver “Angel Award,” 2001; and received the Special Olympics New England Chapter Directors’ Award, 2001.

In 1978, Mickey became the chairman of the Consumer Advisory Board for the Pineland Consent Decree, a position he held for 23 years. He also served and chaired a committee in the 70s to assist Native Americans in Maine to acquire land. He was an active member of the American Legion.

Mickey is survived by his sister, Jackie Huntress of Bridgton; several nieces and nephews; and five great-grandchildren.

At Mickey’s request, there will be a private ceremony with family and in the spring there will be a celebration of his life at his beloved Camp Tall Pines in Poland, which will include Special Olympic athletes, fun stories and lots of ice cream.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Mickey’s Wish List, c/o Lisa Bird, P.O. Box 164, Gorham, ME 04038.

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