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WESTBROOK, Me. – Ted Desveaux likes to tell people that even though he retired in 1992, he only retired from collecting a paycheck and not from working. That’s not to say the 74-year old former president/CEO of the Maine Credit Union League who became what was known then as managing director in 1970 (the title was changed to president/CEO in the mid-1980s) hasn’t slowed down a bit – he has more time now to work in his vegetable and flower garden and travel with his wife of 49 years, Adrienne, to places like Europe, Alaska and Canada. “Every so often, John Murphy (president/CEO, Maine Credit Union League) asks me if I want my old job back, and I emphatically tell him no,” says Desveaux. Still credit unions are in Desveaux’s blood, and he hasn’t entirely shaken them. Consider the following: He serves on the board of the America’s Credit Union Museum; he serves – with the permission of the state Department of Banking – on two CUs’ boards, Coast Line CU in South Portland, and Casco FCU in Gorham; and he joined other Maine credit union officials in September in Washington, D.C. for CUNA’s National Hike the Hill event. Oh yes, he also co-authored with John Zerillo, the chairman of Casco FCU, a book entitled “People Helping People: A History of the Maine Credit Union Movement.” To say Desveaux has a deep connection with Maine and credit unions is an understatement. A native of Rumford, Me. located in the northwest part of the state close to the New Hampshire line, Desveaux said he never thought of living outside the state. “I bought a cemetery plot here so I have to stay,” he jokes. He describes himself as being a happy and amicable person – “people tell me I smile a lot, and I haven’t been thrown out of any place yet.” As a young man working for an auto dealership, Desveaux was recruited to help organize a credit union for members of his church – the credit union was chartered as St. Francis DeSales FCU, Waterville, Me. The name was changed to Greater Waterville Area FCU when its field-membership expanded. Ten months after the CU was chartered, the manager who also worked as the bookkeeper for the auto dealership, left to work as an examiner for what is now NCUA. In 1956, Desveaux became manager of the CU, working part-time on Friday evening and Sunday after church. “When we got a loan application we had to knock on members’ doors to collect enough money to make the loan,” he recalls, noting that loans at the time were limited to $200. Desveaux remained in the manager’s spot until 1964, at which time he was hired by the Maine Credit Union League as its first field representative – he’d been elected to the League board in 1960. Al Fergeson was managing director of the Maine League at the time, and when he retired in 1970, Desveaux became managing director. As managing director (subsequently called president), Desveaux was a member of what was then called the Association of Credit Union League Executives (ACULE) – now called American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) – and served on various ACULE committees. He was eventually elected to the ACULE Board which gave him an ex officio seat on the CUNA Executive Committee and served several terms as chairman. He also served as chairman of US Central Corporate CU, as well as was a two-term chairman of CULAC. He also spent three weeks in Kenya on behalf of World Council of Credit Unions, working with credit unions there. While Desveaux has many fond memories of working with credit unions and serving on various committees and boards, his only regret he says, is that because of all his League and CUNA responsibilities, “I was always gone and didn’t get to see my children grow up.” The Desveauxs have three children, all of whom are married, and eight grandchildren. While he misses not having spent more time with his children when they were younger, they all live close by with their families, and Desveaux says they’re a “close family.” “At this stage in my life I wouldn’t want to work at a credit union. I feel I owe something to the credit union movement, I grew as a person working in it. But this is my life now,” he adds. -

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