Ultralink's Don Bouchard Dead at 58

Don Bouchard, Ultralink/XLO Products' executive vice-president, succumbed February 7, 2008 from injuries he sustained in a motorcycle accident on December 15, 2007. Bouchard, riding with friends, had his front wheel drop into a hole in the pavement while traversing a railroad crossing and was thrown over his handlebars. The resulting injuries included a severe skull fracture, right-brain trauma, a broken clavicle, a broken rib, which punctured a lung, as well as internal trauma, multiple contusions, and bruising.

While the injuries were massive, Bouchard clung to life with tenacity, surprising medical staff and family with "significant advances," including being taken off the respirator by early January, but he never recovered consciousness and by month's end, his condition regressed.

In a message to the BMW Luxury Touring Forums, Don Mosley posted some thoughts Bouchard had jotted down on the occasion of his birthday in 2000: "The one commodity that I know we possess in only a finite quantity is Time. We have an infinite capacity for experience, for knowledge, for adventure, for stimulation, for pleasure, for joy, for passion, for love—limited only by time and temperament.

"Sooner or later, the clock will run out for all of us. I know that when that moment arrives for me, I will not welcome it. There will yet be, for me, books unread, wine undrunk, meals uneaten, mountain roads unridden, reefs unexplored, desert vistas unappreciated, cigars unsmoked, friends unknown, sunsets unseen, love unfulfilled...

"Awareness of the ticking-clock nature of life causes me no distress. Rather, it enhances the experience and heightens my appreciation of every savored moment. But, though I will not leave here willingly, it will be with the certain knowledge that never did I pass up on the opportunity for these things. I shall never say: 'I only wish that I had done this or that when I could have.' For I did everything possible when I could do so. My only regret will be that I had not had additional time in which to do more."

Anyone who knew Don Bouchard will recognize him immediately in that sentiment. He was a man of tremendous passions and he surrendered completely to them. He communicated them wonderfully well, too. High-end hi-fi was just one of them—although his 35-year track record in our industry was unassailable: Ohm Acoustics, Dahlquist, Acoustic Research, Red Rose Music, Denon, Cello, and, finally, Ultralink/XLO Products. He joined the Consumer Electronic Association's Audio Board in 2007. With characteristic humor, his business card read, "Audio Evangelist."

Bouchard was a respected motivational speaker, avid reef diver, and a successful photojournalist as well as an enthusiastic motorcyclist. His Robb Report articles about great rides were popular. (Link to "Ghost Ride.") He was uncommonly good company, too—I have fond memories of many a late-night CES or HE Show meal with him (and rather blurred memories of a few, as well). I'm saddened there won't be any more.

High-end audio has thousands of executive vice-presidents and even a few legitimate prophets, but Don Bouchard, its evangelist, was one of a kind. We're poorer—and blander—for his passing.