Longtime Catholic education supporter leaves legacy in archdiocese

  • Written by Louis McGill
  • Published in Local
Dick and Mary Ann Boulanger enjoyed supporting Catholic schools and going on pilgrimages together. Dick Boulanger died Dec. 24. Photo: Courtesy Patti Fersch Dick and Mary Ann Boulanger enjoyed supporting Catholic schools and going on pilgrimages together. Dick Boulanger died Dec. 24. Photo: Courtesy Patti Fersch

TACOMA – Richard “Dick” Boulanger, a longtime supporter of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Seattle, died Dec. 24. He was 85.

Born March 25, 1929, in Seattle, he attended Blessed Sacrament School and Seattle Preparatory School. He went on to serve in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Later, he worked for Sentry Automatic Sprinkler Co., eventually becoming president, and helped his children found Patriot Fire Protection.

Despite his role in the business world, Boulanger was a reserved man who preferred to lead by example in his personal life, said his wife of 62 years, Mary Ann Boulanger.

“We’d say he was a man of few words,” said one of their daughters, Martha McRoskey, who lives in San Diego. Her father looked for the best in people, a legacy he passed to his children, she added.

A founding member of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Tacoma, Boulanger supported Catholic schools and other Catholic causes through membership in the archdiocese’s Fulcrum Foundation and Crozier Society, as well as the Pierce County Association of Catholic Education, and Legatus, an organization for Catholic business leaders.

The Boulangers also believed in Catholic education for their family: Their four children and 20 grandchildren went to Catholic schools through high school, McRoskey said, and many went on to attend Catholic universities as well.

The couple saw the price of Catholic school tuition rise sharply over the years, so when they found themselves with money to donate, they decided to use it to support Catholic education, Mary Ann Boulanger said.

In 2014, the Boulangers received the Fulcrum Foundation’s Archbishop’s Award, which recognizes outstanding benefactors of Catholic schools.

“Their true gift to the church and to Catholic education has been their characteristically humble and gracious witness to faith in action,” Archbishop J. Peter Sartain said in introducing the Boulangers at the award event. “This witness … is a true legacy gift that will continue to benefit the church and her schools for generations to come.”

Outside of his business and charitable causes, Boulanger loved to travel. When the archdiocese began organizing overseas trips, the Boulangers were excited to combine travel with their Catholic faith. “When the pilgrimages came along, we loved that,” Mary Ann Boulanger said.

Besides his wife, Boulanger is survived by his children, Theresa Twining, James Boulanger, Martha McRoskey and Margaret O’Brien; 20 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

A funeral mass was celebrated Dec. 31 at St. Charles Borromeo Church.

Read Dick Boulanger’s full obituary.