The children of the couple who died in the plane crash on Gabriola Island on Dec. 10 have come forward and identified the couple as Allan and Katheryn Boudreau (both aged 53) of Saltair, on Vancouver Island.
Jeffrey (28), Rae (23), and Bridget (25), contacted the Gabriola Sounder newspaper on Saturday, Dec. 14 to provide a statement regarding the tragedy in which their parents died — and who their parents were as they lived out their lives in the Cowichan Valley. Jeffrey currently lives in Lake Louise, Alberta; Rae in Victoria, and Bridget in Kelowna.
Allan and Katheryn grew up, met, and were married in North Bay, Ont.
Twenty-eight years ago they moved out to Vancouver Island, settling into the Cowichan Valley. In 2004, they became owners of Island Hothouse, a two-acre hothouse in Saltair which supplied most of Vancouver Island with sweet bell peppers, as well as farmer’s markets. They retired in 2018 and were able to spend their time enjoying all the hobbies and activities they loved.
They had just enjoyed a great trip to Mexico, and were on their return trip home after a stop in San Diego when their plane crashed on Gabriola Island.
Jeffrey, Bridget, and Rae were in touch with their parents throughout Allan and Katheryn’s trip to Mexico, talking with them, while their parents sent them photos.
Bridget said when they heard the news, she and her siblings were, “heartbroken, shocked, absolutely devastated, broken, and lost.”
As the news of the crash started to break on the night of Dec. 10, Jeffrey said he and his siblings knew it was their parents. Bridget describes it as being, “just a really really horrible nightmare that we cannot wake up from.”
While the various authorities have not released the Boudreaus’ names as victims of the crash, Jeffrey said, “it’s safe to say those in the Cowichan Valley are aware of it. They can put two and two together. We’ve had a lot of support.”
Gabriolans have stepped forward, asking how they can support the families of those who died in the crash. Questions of whether a memorial at the crash site, or donations to a particular cause in the Boudreau’s memory would be appropriate have been broached.
Rae said that will be a discussion they would love to have at a later date, “when it’s not so fresh. “
Bridget said, “We really appreciate the people on Gabriola being so supportive — showing love towards people that they don’t even know.
“That must have been really horrifying to see and experience — we appreciate all the support.”
Jeffrey said, “it really speaks to the community islanders share wherever we are. We’re all on the same island.”
Jeffrey described his mother Katheryn as a lovely person, very caring, who would do anything for anyone.
Both Jeffrey and Rae spoke of Katheryn being a huge part of the St. Joseph’s community, a lover of art, and her family.
Bridget said, “she was a devoted mother and daughter, selfless to anyone she met, compassionate.”
They said Allan would wake up and say “it’s a brand new day.”
Jeffrey said, “he was very optimistic, and loved anything that was difficult.”
Rae said, “he was very smart. He loved challenges, so he took on woodworking and created various pieces for his children, he loved flying, sailing, and dirt biking.”
Jeffrey said Allan was friends with Alex Bahlsen, the owner and pilot of the plane that crashed. Allan had his non-commercial pilot licence, and had owned two planes of his own. Jeffrey said Bahlsen had been working to prepare Allan for his commercial pilot licence — a goal Allan was very close to achieving when he died.
Jeffrey said his dad had his hand in everything.
“He had a lot of hobbies, and he loved talking to people.”
Bridget said her father, “once told me his passion was learning.”
Rae said, “my dad was really funny. He had really good jokes. Our mom had a secret humour, it was very hilarious.”
Bridget said her parents, “supported their children and all of their academic and non-academic adventures.”
“When we went away they would always check up on us. My mom and dad would always call to make sure we were doing OK, living away, they were really proud of their children.”
Jeffrey said, “they taught us to be selfless, compassionate giving people, and to treat everyone with love and respect.”
The family appreciates the support and love from the community and also requests that they are given privacy during this difficult time.