Ouellette brothers remembered for their laughter, friendship and love

  • The Bow boys soccer team wore “Fly Forever” t-shirts in honor of the Ouellette brothers on Friday afternoon before its soccer game with Merrimack Valley. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The “Falcons Fly Together” signs were everywhere at the Bow football stadium on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The Bow boys soccer team wore Fly Forever t-shirts in honor of the Ouellette brothers on Friday afternoon before its soccer game with Merrimack Valley. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The Bow High student section stands during a 55-second moment of silence before the national anthem on Friday. Rich Miyara photograph

  • Rich Miyara photograph Rich Miyara photograph

Monitor staff
Published: 9/18/2021 5:02:18 PM

Nick and Gavin Ouellette were practically inseparable.

Gavin was his older brother’s little shadow, emulating his every move. Whether it was in sports by being a leader during tough practices or the 6-year-old proudly telling everyone how he would wrestle his older brother in the living room, he was side-by-side with Nick.

Despite their age difference, they were each other’s biggest fans. Nick, a junior in high school, would sit on the sidelines of Gavin’s youth sports events and would celebrate his brother’s success. Gavin, a first-grader, had no issues running onto the football field at Bow High School to give Nick a hug before and after the game.

Sports aside, the two brothers had a love of doughnuts. Gavin’s favorite was any that had pink frosting and sprinkles. In a poem that he wrote in 2014, Nick said if he ruled the world, doughnuts and pizza would be considered vegetables.

They have the kind of brotherly bond that lasts forever.

It’s been just over a week days since both Gavin and Nick were killed in a car accident on Interstate 89 that also injured their father, Tom, who was driving. In the days since, teams from across the state have worn jerseys with the name Ouellette on the back and have held 55-second periods of silence in honor of Nick’s No. 55 on the football field.

The night before the memorial service, their brother Dylan Ouellette was named an honorary captain of the football team and ran onto the field waving a flag before the game.

Saturday’s public memorial service and celebration of life offered a sense of comfort and togetherness for family, friends and those who knew the boys.

Julie Ouellette Barrios, aunt of Gavin, Dylan, Nick and his twin sister Hannah, opened the ceremony asking for the Bow Falcons and Bow Bulldogs youth football team to make some noise, as well as all first responders to make their presence known.

Dozens of police officers attended the ceremony. Tom Ouellette previously worked for the Weare Police Department, but left earlier this year to be the School Resource Officer in Bow and spend more time with his family.

Speaking on behalf of parents Jenn and Tom Ouellette, Julie told the crowd that the boys were the family’s stars in a darkened sky, a reference to a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She said the support from the community, football programs, the school district and by anyone who contributed something to help the family was felt in every moment throughout these long days.

Her words about the boys started off with a phrase she found online – “Little boys bring you just to the brink of insanity before gently easing you off the ledge with a sweet kiss and laughter from a perfectly timed fart.”

Laughter followed, some in the crowd nodded to each other in agreement, and then a lineup of 11 speakers shared their fondest memories of the two boys.

Each speaker remarked at how outgoing Gavin was. Gavin treated Nick’s girlfriend, Maddie, like his girlfriend too – he even wrote her love notes. And he always seemed to be smiling, from the start of the school day to the final bell.

His popularity stock in pre-school was so high that teachers had to make sure he had time for all the kids. Everyone wanted to be his friend, and he wanted to be a friend to everyone.

Lori Kreuger, the principal at Bow Elementary School, said the children’s book Laura’s Star by Klaus Baumgart was read to Gavin’s classmates to help them understand his absence. In the book, Laura makes friends with a star that has fallen from the sky. When Laura realizes that the star has to return where it came from, the star reminds her that it’ll always be there to listen.

“Gavin will always be a caring, thoughtful, funny, kind and friendly star who will always be listening to us,” Kreuger said.

Nick and Gavin came from an athletic family, with all four children involved in sports. Gavin was no exception and he excelled in tee ball, soccer and basketball. Sarah Mann, the basketball and tee ball coach for Bow Parks and Recreation, recalled telling Gavin dirty baseball pants were a sign that you played hard.

Unfortunately, in his first game, the batting order never allowed Gavin to get his brand new white pants dirty. But the second game was different.

He played like he was in the World Series.

“Now my pants are dirty, Coach Sarah,” Mann remembers Gavin saying with a smile proudly on his face.

Smiles were always on Gavin and Nick’s faces, and the stories told by their loved ones always included that detail. Not only a smiles, but their sense of humor was also the same, knowing the right time to make a joke to lighten the room.

Chris Robbins, the junior varsity football coach at Bow High School, recalled Nick brightening up his day once where he told Robbins to look at his flexed biceps and said, “I’m freaking huge.”

Nick always had a joke or a funny comment anywhere he went. In the classroom, Nick would often be the culprit of throwing markers at friends, but it always slid because of who he was. It was clear that Nick had only two categories of friendships: Good friends and best friends.

His athletic feats were that of legend. At the annual preseason pool party, Shaun Lover couldn’t believe it at first when he saw Nick land a standing back flip like it was nothing.

Lover, the president of Bow Youth Football, was proud to say that the Ouellettes have had their thumbprint on the organization and that Nick was no exception. Lover said Gavin was a Bulldog in waiting and was certain he would mirror his brother’s success.

Gavin and Nick’s memories will live on through their loved ones.

Any time a pink doughnut is in sight, Gavin’s smile will be seen. Any time a rope swing is in the area, Nick’s persistence of trying to do a double back flip and face planting will draw laughs. Any time the Falcons or Bulldogs take the field or students walk into the classrooms, the smiles of two boys will be felt.

A two-minute-long slideshow filled with family photos and memories played on a screen in front of the stage. With the sounds of Post Malone’s Sunflower echoing throughout, the lives of Nick and Gavin were on display. Those smiles beamed on the big screen once more, allowing others in the audience to smile too.

And even when the New Hampshire Police Association Pipes and Drums began its rendition of Amazing Grace, the smiles still remained.

Just as if Nick and Gavin were still there.

Matt Parker bio photo

Matt Parker is a sports reporter at the Monitor and started in August 2021. He is an Ohio native and relishes being from the Buckeye state. A proud graduate of Ohio University located in Athens, Ohio, he served as the sports editor for the student-run newspaper, The Post, from 2019-20. When not at a game or chasing around a coach, you can catch him playing his guitars or looking for the next Peanuts memorabilia piece to add in his growing collection.

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