Jason Aubuchon was a tall and lanky former accountant from Florida with a wry smile who moved to Maine about eight years ago and went into fishing, friends said.
Most recently, he managed the dock at Quoddy Bay Lobster in Eastport.
Aubuchon, 50, died of a gunshot wound at about 9 p.m. on Dec. 26 in Perry. His ex-girlfriend, Danielle Wheeler, has been charged in his killing, and is being held without bail. According to an affidavit from state police, Wheeler told officers that the two had been arguing over drugs.
Aubuchon was known locally by the nickname “Cowboy,” which sprung from his ever present cowboy hat and boots.
“He looked like something out of a Marlboro ad from the ‘70s,” said Coleman Brice, an Eastport musician who said he became friends with Aubuchon through gigs at local bars and restaurants.
The death of Aubuchon the day after Christmas has hit many in the tight-knit city of Eastport.
“We’re a community in mourning,” said Treena Brunelle, who met him about seven years ago.
“If you were to go out on a weekend, you were apt to see Cowboy — always with a smile on his face,” she said. “You run into very few people who don’t have a story about him.”
After his death, several people posted virtual cheers on Facebook, toasting the man with his favorite Busch beer, or changed their profile pictures to silhouettes of cowboy hats.
Friends fondly recalled how Aubuchon had a knack for putting others first, no matter his own personal troubles.
Kimberlie McCammon said she had grown close to Aubuchon after she recently moved to Eastport full-time. He was known for bringing flowers to the local nursing home and brought scallops there to supply the seniors with a fresh seafood Christmas dinner, she said.
“It didn’t matter what was going on in his life,” said McCammon. “You would never know he had a care in the world. It was about you.”
Wheeler had allegedly been violent toward Aubuchon in the past. In a state police affidavit submitted for Wheeler’s court appearance, several people who knew Aubuchon recounted instances where she had allegedly stabbed him and threatened to hurt him and others. McCammon said she personally heard of several times he had been stabbed and even been shot before by Wheeler.
Wheeler was arrested by police in Portland in 2020 for allegedly assaulting Aubuchon, but things didn’t proceed after he told the district attorney’s office that he had injured himself by slipping on ice, according to the affidavit.
“He never wanted to get her in trouble so he never said anything,” McCammon said. “He would not do it.”
The community has planned a celebration of life for Aubuchon at the Lobster Crate in Perry on Saturday at 2 p.m., to remember the man from away who became something of a local celebrity.
“It’s a big loss,” Brunelle said. “It’s leaving an empty piece in the heart of Eastport right now.”