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Father Vernon Roger Boutilier

Father Vernon Roger Boutilier (Brother)

It is with heartfelt sorrow we announce the death of our brother Rev. Vernon Roger Boutilier (Brother), on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018, at the Northside General Hospital, at the age of 81.

Father Vern was born on February 10th, 1937 to the late Bernard Clarence and Margaret Cameron (Jobe) Boutilier of Little Pond.   He was a priest of the Diocese of Antigonish, ordained on June 16th, 1962.   Fr. Vern was educated at St. Francis Xavier University, University of Ottawa, Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., University of Toronto, and the University of Detroit.

Over the years, he served in parishes across the Diocese of Antigonish, and as well in Scotland and California.   He was an assistant at Our Lady of Lourdes, New Glasgow, and St. Theresa’s, Sydney, and served as pastor of St. Augustine’s, Grand Lake Rd., Mount Carmel, New Waterford, St. Mary’s, Mabou, and St. Andrew’s, Lower South River. For three years, Fr. Vern was pastor of St. Columba and St. Mary’s Kingussie, in the Diocese of Argyle and the Isles, Scotland, where he established many strong friendships and links with the community.   He also served as assistant at St. Cyril of Jerusalem in Encino, California, for seven winter periods in retirement.

His social work career began in Detroit, Michigan, where he obtained his ASW designation.   He was the Director of Antigonish Diocesan Charities and founding Director of Family Services of Eastern Nova Scotia.   He wrote “Memoirs of a Priest Social Worker” in support of Family Services.   He was involved in many social service organizations locally, provincially and nationally, including founding Director and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Point Pleasant Lodge in Halifax.   Fr. Vern was founder of the Travel Bursary Fund in aid of youth exploring their Celtic Heritage, and was supportive in the establishment of the Ben Alder Chair in Celtic Studies at St. F.X., and CJFX Radio.   For many years, he guided tours of Scotland, Ireland and Italy.

Fr. Vern was a very generous person to all.   He had a special love for his chosen Scottish Heritage.   He gave all his skills, energy and passion whenever he made a commitment.   That commitment could be a specific task; or an ongoing commitment to minister to a brother priest who was in need for whatever reason.   He loved to read and play cards, listen to good music with a little dram of Scotch.

He is survived by his sisters, Harriet (Doug Crawford), Antigonish, Bernice (Stan Romeo), Bras d’Or, Sheila Mitchell (friend Bill Carey), and Gail (David Walker), Little Pond; his sister-in-law, Anne (Pero) Boutilier; and many nieces, nephews and their families.   In addition to his parents, Fr. Vern was predeceased by his brother, George, and brother-in-law, Billy Mitchell.   Special thanks to Dr. Michel McKeough and Louise McKeough for their constant care, encouragement and compassion. True Friends!

Visitation for Fr. Vern Boutilier will be held on Sunday, February 18th, 2018, from 2-4 & 7-9 p.m.   Bishop Brian Dunn will preside over the Mass of Christian Burial, along with the priests of the Diocese, on Monday, February 19th, 2018, at 2 pm, in Holy Family Church, Main St., Sydney Mines.   A reception will take place in the parish hall, following the service.   The interment will e in St. Stephen’s Cemetery, Florence, at a later date