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Isa LeSueur Boucher


Isa   LeSueur  Boucher

Isa was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Dr. Merrill and Doris (Johnson) Bush on February 17, 1944.  She was educated in Quaker schools in Philadelphia, and then attended Methodist University at Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio, graduating in 1966 with a B.A. with Honors in Zoology; she also began studying the violincello at age 5, and was a member of the Philadelphia Youth Orchestra.

Isa moved to Canada in 1966, gaining a Masters of Science degree from the Institute of Parasitology McGill University in Montreal.  From there she was hired as lab demonstrator and lecturer by the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, In Saskatoon.  She also played as Principal Cellist with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and taught private cello students.  During her time in Saskatoon Isa gained her Canadian citizenship.

Also during this time Isa found what she would say was her lifelong passion.  She had a chance encounter with some sled dogs that were completely different in structure and mentality than the show dogs she was accustomed to seeing, these dogs turned out to be the Seppala Strain of Siberian husky.  The Seppalas had been bred apart from show bloodlines for about 40 years, but their uniqueness was underappreciated in the late 60s and the bloodline was about to be lost.  She was introduced to Jeff Bragg, who was the only breeder at the time trying to preserve the pure strain Seppalas, and in 1973 they moved together to a farm on a quarter section of Saskatchewan prairie.  In the next two years their Markovo Kennels would produce 5 Seppala strain litters.

In 1975 Isa lost her job, and Isa and Jeff were keen for an adventure.  They divided their kennel of Seppalas into 3 breeding colonies and found enthusiasts to buy them all (thus, hopefully, ensuring the survival of the strain), sold their Saskatchewan property, and left Canada planning to spend the winter in Mississippi, and the following spring and summer backpacking in Europe - but the European adventure lasted nearly 20 years.  After a year of backpacking Isa and Jeff crewed on yachts in the Mediterranean, and when they got to Gibraltar they bought a wooden tuna fishing boat of 20T displacement and lived aboard there for 7 years, Isa developed breast cancer, and after several months in London, England receiving treatment, she and Jeff left Gibraltar and moved to Andorra before settling on a small farm they bought in Catalunya, Spain where they raised olives, almonds, walnuts, grapes, and livestock.

Isa then got back into sled dogs, and was one of two women racing dogsleds with the Catalan Winter Sports Federation.  On a trip to the United Stated to acquire two sled dogs for her team from Harris Dunplap's Zero Kennels, she learned that the Seppala Strain was once again endangered; and with that news Isa and Jeff began a second "rescue" of the Seppala Strain dogs.  In 1992 Isa and Jeff decided to return to Canada, and bought a parcel of unserviced bush in Grizzly Valley, Yukon Territory, from which to mount their second Seppala rescue project.  This time they gained acceptance of their dogs as an evolving breed, separate and distant from the Siberian husky, by Agriculture Canada, and called the new breed Seppala Siberian Sled Dog, Isa's breed stewardship continued until 2008, a run of over 35 years.

In 2007 Isa took a new life partner, Jack R. Murray, formerly of Cape Elizabeth and New Sharon, Maine (USA); they lived in Grizzly Valley, Yukon Territory, until October 2011 and in that time she worked for the Yukon News and the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter.  At the end of 2011 Isa and Jack moved to a mini-farm in Cloverdale, New Brunswick, where she raised goats, rabbits and chickens, and made many friends.  Isa is survived by her husband, Jack.

In Keeping with the request of the deceased there will be no visitation or funeral service at this time.

“Serving All Faiths & within the Means of All”
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Private Burial

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