Gary F. Ducharme – North Smithfield

Gary F. Ducharme – North Smithfield

Gary F. Ducharme, 60, lifelong resident of North Smithfield, passed away suddenly on Saturday, March 13, 2021, from heart complications.

He was the beloved husband and best friend of Helen (Szymczuk) Ducharme, with whom he shared more than 40 years of marriage. Born in Woonsocket, he was the son of the late Alfred and Constance (Galipeau) Ducharme.

He was a 1978 graduate of North Smithfield High School. Gary was a very proud veteran and served his country in the U.S. Coast Guard, first stationed in Boston and then on the USS Gallatin (WHEC 721) at Governor’s Island, N.Y.

The couple lived in Revere, Mass., for a time and upon his honorable discharge, he and Helen settled in Carver, Mass., where they began their family. With the help of friends and family, Gary built their dream home in North Smithfield, a log cabin on “Cat Hill,” often with his young boys in tow. On one such occasion, Gary had been working hard and upon returning home from the site of the house realized that 6-year-old Jared had been left on the hill by himself and had to race back to get him. He was the type of guy who wasn’t afraid to laugh at himself, and he had ample opportunity to do just that. One Christmas, his sons and nieces and nephew heard sleigh bells outside, a sure sound of Santa’s arrival, followed by several thumps and expletives and the sound of Gary tripping and falling to the ground outside. As grown adults, they all talk about it to this very day. He was an integral part of so many of their childhood memories.

Gary was employed at Technic Inc. in Woonsocket as a maintenance technician. He was very active for many years as a volunteer firefighter at Primrose Fire Dept. and was very proud to have served on the board during the merging of North Smithfield and Primrose Fire Stations.

He was a true jack-of-all-trades and was frequently tinkering around his workbench, doing projects around the house and creating custom lights out of Kraken bottles for family members. He was an avid collector of Narragansett Beer memorabilia. He was very active in his sons’ extracurricular activities, leading trips for Boy Scouts and coaching football.

He helped plan innumerable family vacations throughout the years and particularly enjoyed visiting Cape Cod and camping in the White Mountains and always had his trusty binoculars at the ready. This enabled him to continue his fruitless moose-sighting quest, but according to him, they had a few close calls with Big Foot. He and Helen travelled quite a bit, particularly the last few years, whether in the White Mountains in New Hampshire or going on their annual cruise. Whenever they reached a destination, he insisted on taking a picture of their feet in the sand and Helen’s phone is full of selfies of the two of them sharing some wonderful trips together.

Gary looked forward to Saturday nights with family spent around the sacred fire pit, always arriving wearing his Coast Guard hat, a flannel, his whitest “Dad shoes” and “The Entertainer” cooler in hand, filled with his own ice that he’d brought from home. He always had two radios playing at the house, occasionally set to the same station, but not always. He loved music, especially a good Bruce Springsteen song, singing at the top of his lungs no matter who was listening, where he was at the time, or how many people asked him to stop.

He had a formidable way about him, particularly when his sons tested his patience as young boys and he had a self-proclaimed “Suck it Up” style of parenting. He loved being with family and friends and was so funny and genuinely loved having a good time. His laughter was truly contagious and his sense of humor often bordered on inappropriate. He was a notoriously vocal and passionate Patriots fan, often fueled by his famous “rum cokes,” and it would be reasonable to assume that Tom Brady himself could hear him in Foxboro from his special chair in the living room. He enjoyed routine, liked having dinner at 5 p.m. sharp and disliked change of any kind. During any family cookout or camping trip, he manned the grill and took great pride in his outdoor cooking skills, because “there’s nothing like a baked potato.”

He was truly kindhearted and caring, which was especially evident in the devotion he showed to his “Helen Mary.” Their love is enviable and they truly set an example of a beautiful partnership full of laughs, love and dedication.

Gary was many things to many people, but his proudest title was Dad to his two sons. He was the devoted father of Jared F. Ducharme and his wife, Leann, of Warwick and Joshua E. Ducharme and his wife, Jen, of Warwick.

He was the loving brother of Dennis Ducharme of Cape Cod, Tammy Ducharme of Cumberland, and Julie Kamienski of Connecticut. He was a cherished brother-in-law and is also survived by many nieces and nephews with whom he shared special relationships. He was a friend to so many people who will truly miss his unique personality.

A memorial service will take place in one of his favorite spots, Beavertail Lighthouse in Jamestown, in June 2021, with US Coast Guard funeral honors. Date and time will be updated on the funeral home’s website as details are finalized and relatives and friends will be welcome to attend.