Franco-American Collection

Maine Franco-American Hall of Fame

Maine State HouseEach year, since 2002, the Maine State Legislature has officially inducted several prominent living and deceased Franco-Americans into the Maine Franco-American Hall of Fame.  The inductees represent political and cultural leaders in the Franco-American community.  The following is a list of members of the Maine Franco-American Hall of Fame by year inducted.  Descriptions for each inductee are taken from the offical legislative record of either the House or Senate.

An asterisk (*) denotes that information on this person is available in the Collection.  A hyperlinked name will take you to the finding aid for that person's materials in the Collection.

2015 (March 18)

Joe Cyr (Brewer)

Mr. Cyr is President and Chief Executive Officer of John T. Cyr & Sons, a bus company based in Old Town. He took the business his grandfather started and expanded it, adding many school districts to the bus service and creating Cyr Northstar Tours, a charter bus service. Mr. Cyr is also committed to the community. He has served as a director of the Maine Community Foundation and has been a board member of the Old Town/Orono YMCA, serving for 5 years as president of the board. (HLS 129)

Roland Alfred Ouellette (Chisholm, part of what is now the Town of Jay, posthumous) 

Mr. Ouellette grew up in Jay and graduated from Jay High School. He enlisted in the United States Army and served in the First Army in the European Theater during World War II. He was wounded in battle and lost the use of his legs. That loss did not stop him from participating in the sports he loved. He began coaching with American Legion baseball. He led programs in the Farmington and the Livermore Falls-Jay areas. Mr. Ouellette was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. In the 1970s, he began the Area Youth Sports program with a group of friends, which continues to offer many sports opportunities to the children of Jay, Livermore Falls and Livermore, and participated in the Summer Recreation Program in Jay for many years. In addition to his sports activities, he was active in local veterans’ organizations and the Knights of Columbus. He and his wife Barbara received the Knights of Columbus State Family of the Year Award and the New England Family of the Year Award. They were married in 1951 and were the proud parents of 7 children. Mr. Ouellette was also a recipient of the prestigious Jefferson Award for public service. (HLS 130)

Maurice Pelletier (Augusta)

Mr. Pelletier is a veteran of the United States Air Force and worked for 28 years at the Veterans Administration Center at Togus, where he became a Lead Health Benefit Advisor and received numerous awards. After his retirement, he continued to serve veterans, working part - time as a volunteer Driver Coordinator for the Disabled American Veterans until December 2005. Currently, he volunteers at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. He is a 48-year member of Le Club Calumet and has served as the club's president. He is also a 3rd and 4th degree Mason. He is a member of St. Michael Catholic Parish and a founder of the Friends for a Heritage Center at Mill Park, a group that contributes to the preservation and advancement of the State's history and culture. (HLS 131)

Joseph Donald Cyr (Lille)

 A historian by education and work experience, Mr. Cyr has been at the forefront of efforts to preserve and promote Acadian culture. He has taught many college-level courses on Acadian history and folklore and French Canadian folklore. He was cataloguer and restoration specialist at the Acadian Village in Van Buren and restoration specialist of the Albert House at the Tante Blanche Museum in Madawaska.  He worked with the National Park Service in implementing the Maine Acadian Culture Preservation Act. Active in several major projects, he has raised more than $3,100,000 in grants for the restoration of the former Notre-Dame-du-Mont-Carmel church and rectory in Lille. A collector of Acadian artifacts, he has amassed more than 300 pieces of handmade Acadian furniture and smaller artifacts, the largest such collection in the country. (HLS 132)

George A. "Pete" Lamontagne, Jr. (Biddeford)

Mr. Lamontagne served in the United States Army and was stationed with the Adjutant General's staff in France. He worked for over 3 decades at the Westpoint textile mill, until the mill's closure in 2009. He was a leader in the UNITE HERE Local 305T, at one time serving as union president. He helped found the Biddeford Mills Museum and personally restored a missing plaque commemorating 200 mill employees who fought in World War II. Mr. Lamontagne served 5 terms on the Biddeford City Council, including one term as Council President. (HLS 133)

Doris Belisle-Bonneau (Auburn)

Ms. Belisle-Bonneau serves on the Board of Directors for the Franco American Collection at the University of Southern Maine's Lewiston/Auburn College, represents Franco American interests on the L/A Advisory Committee and co-chairs the Academic Affairs Committee. Since 2003 she has volunteered at D'Youville Pavilion in Lewiston with a focus on serving the French-speaking residents. She co-created and developed the Maine French Heritage Language Program under the auspices of the Franco Center and the University of Maine at Augusta. The program provides an after-school culture and language program for students from kindergarten to grade 6 and is currently active in Augusta and Lewiston. (HLS 134)



2014 (March 19)

The nominees for induction in 2014 are as follows:

Gene Perreault (St Francis)

Leo Pepin (Augusta)

Mary Rice-Defossé (Lewiston)

Fr. Ron Labarre (Biddeford)

Cecile Dufour Pozzuto (Madawaska, posthumous)

Richard Dutremble (Biddeford, posthumous)

Joe Plamondon (Biddeford, posthumous)


2013 (May 14)

Legislative Record:

House (living inductees)

Senate (posthumous inductees)

Camille L. Bolduc (Biddeford, posthumous)

Mr. Bolduc was born in Quebec and educated in schools in both Canada and Biddeford, eventually graduating from Biddeford High School Adult Education. During World War II, Mr. Bolduc served 3 years with the Royal Canadian Air Force. He moved to Biddeford in 1953 and worked as an electrician and later owned and operated Camille's Electric in Biddeford for 25 years. Mr. Bolduc was a member and past Master of the Biddeford Masonic Lodge, Dunlop Lodge No. 47, a member of the Biddeford Historical Society and a member of the Franco-American Genealogical Society in Biddeford. An American citizen since 1958, Mr. Bolduc was also proud of his French heritage and was an early founder of the renowned Franco-American festival, La Kermesse, in Biddeford

(SLS 326)

Michael P. Cantara (Biddeford)

Judge Cantara is a graduate of Biddeford High School, Colby College and the University of Maine School of Law. He also studied in France and received a Fulbright teaching fellowship position to teach in France. Judge Cantara has served with distinction as an attorney in private practice, as a York County Assistant District Attorney, as Deputy District Attorney and for 3 terms as York County District Attorney. He has served on the Biddeford Planning Board, including serving as chair, and served as Mayor of Biddeford from 1987 to 1988. From 2003 to 2007, he was the Commissioner of Public Safety and since 2007 has served the people of Maine as a District Court judge.

(HLS 250)

Louis-Phillipe Gagné (Lewiston, posthumous)

Mr. Gagné was born in Quebec City and raised in an orphanage and entered a seminary as the protégé of Cardinal Begin. He began a career as a journalist at the age of 18, serving 2 years as 
a sports editor in Quebec City. Mr. Gagné and his wife moved to Lewiston in 1922, where he owrked for 38 years for the French-language newspaper, Le Messager, as editor and sports writer.  He founded the first American snowshoe club, Le Montagnard.  During the early days of radio, Mr. Gagné hosted live broadcasts and had an influential French-language editorial program. Mr. Gagné also served on the school board, as an alderman and for 2 terms as the Mayor of Lewiston. He went on to become an Androscoggin County Commissioner.

(SLS 325)

Adolphe Gingras (Augusta, posthumous)

Dr. Gingras was known to every French-Canadian family and to every other family in Augusta as a leader in medicine and in public health. As a general practitioner who began his practice in 1923, and for many years as an obstetrician, he served Augusta's growing population and delivered over 9,000 babies, including 2 of his own. He served on the Augusta Board of Health and the Augusta Water District, and in 1933 he served as the 12th President of Le Club Calumet. Dr. Gingras was a World War I veteran, serving in the Army Medical Corps

(SLS 323)

Napoleon "Paul" Gingras (Augusta)

Dr. Gingras practiced general medicine and established the Anesthesiology Department at Augusta General Hospital. He was a certified flight surgeon and saw active duty during World War II and the Korean War. He continued his service in the Maine Air National Guard and retired as a Brigadier General. Dr. Gingras was a devoted member of St. Augustine's Parish and of the Knights of Columbus. He was made a Knight of St. Gregory the Great by His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, the highest honorary rank bestowed on a lay Catholic

(SLS 324)

Father Jacques LaPointe (Madawaska)

Father LaPointe, born in Van Buren, is a true border person, having lived, studied, worked and taught on both sides of the St. John River. He has taught CCD at St. Bruno Parish in Van Buren and Acadian history at Van Buren High School, as well as serving as an adjunct faculty member of the University of Maine at Fort Kent. For many years, Father LaPointe worked as a liaison officer and project coordinator with several international nongovernmental agencies, mostly in francophone communities. He received his master's degree in Acadian history and has published several books. He attended the Washington Theological Union Seminary and received his master's degree in Divinity. In 1992, he professed his first vows as a Franciscan friar and was ordained a priest in 1997. He has worked in Japan and from 2000 to 2010, Father LaPointe worked with the Haitian community in New York City. He has been a strong supporter of the upcoming 2014 World Acadian Congress to be held in northern Maine and Canada.

(HLS 249)

Cindy Larock (Lewiston)

Ms. Larock has been instrumental in the preservation and continuation of traditional French dances, such as jigs and square-dances, and has helped form a musical group, "Les Troubadours," an eclectic, flexible group that performs traditional Franco songs.

(HLS 256)

 Lisa Marraché (Waterville)

Dr. Marraché is a former longtime member of the Maine Legislature, having served 3 terms in the House of Representatives and 2 terms in the Senate. She also served as a councilor for the City of Waterville. Dr. Marraché is one of the co-founders of the Franco-American Heritage Society of the Kennebec Valley and has always been a strong promoter of her Franco-American heritage in the community. She and her husband, Ronnie Marraché, M.D., both serve the medical needs of our Nation's veterans at the Maine VA Medical Center in Togus.

(HLS 247)


2012 (March 21)

Legislative Record

Richard "Blackie" Bechard (Augusta)

Mr. Bechard is a graduate of Cony High School. He enlisted in the United States Navy at the
age of 17, retiring after 21 years as a chief petty officer. After 17 years with the United States Postal Service, Mr. Bechard retired in 2000. He is a 50-year member of Le Club Calumet in Augusta,
serving as its President and on the Executive Board, as well as chairing the Advisory Committee, the Finance Committee and the Medallion Award Committee. From 1984 to 1998 he worked on
Le Festival de la Bastille, helping to found a tradition of celebrating French culture in Maine. Mr. Bechard is a member of several local fraternal and veterans groups and is a recipient of the Bronze Marquis De La Fayette award from the Republic of France.

(HLS 1063)

*Aliette Deland Couturier (Lewiston)

Ms. Couturier has long been a mainstay of the Lewiston-Auburn Franco-American community, serving for many years as president of the local cultural organization La Survivance Francaise, while also handling hospitality for Chapter 52 of the Association Canado-Americaine. Ms. Couturier performed for several years with the quintet, The Silvertones, and devotes much time volunteering with the elderly, including assisting with the daily French Mass held in the chapel at d'Youville Pavilion.

(HLS 1064)

Robert Couturier (Lewiston, posthumous)

Mr. Couturier was born in Lewiston and graduated from St. Dominic High School, Bates College and the University of Maine School of Law. He taught school for 4 years before becoming a member of the State Bar. In 1965, Mr. Couturier was elected Mayor of Lewiston and became Lewiston's and the Nation's youngest mayor. Mr. Couturier was a practicing attorney for more than 40 years and served 3 terms as Androscoggin County Judge of Probate. In 1967, he was elected to the Maine State
Senate. He served as General Counsel for L'Association Canado-Americaine and was elected its Secretary General in 1988. He was a member of Le Conseil de la Vie Francaise en Amerique in Quebec City and served on its board for 25 years. Mr. Couturier was named Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France in 2000.

(HLS 1067)

Dennis "Duke" Dutremble (Biddeford)

Dutremble was the first Franco-American in the State's history to preside over the Maine Senate. He was born in Biddeford and was a standout athlete in both basketball and football. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Maine at Farmington and his master's degree in public administration from the University of Maine at Orono. Mr. Dutremble taught in South Portland schools and at Thornton Academy. He served one term in the Maine House of Representatives and 7 terms in the Maine Senate. He was President of the Maine Senate during the 116th Legislature and served 6 years as Senate Assistant Majority Leader prior to that time.

(HLS 1065)

Daniel LaPointe (Van Buren)

A native of Cyr Plantation, Mr. LaPointe received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural
Engineering from the University of Maine and was an active member of the United States Army Reserve. As an agribusinessman, Mr. LaPointe grew and shipped potatoes from a 350-acre farm and was the owner of JR LaPointe & Sons, Inc., LaPointe Sales, Inc. and Gateway Packers, Inc. He was president of the Maine Farm Bureau, vice-president of Maine Potato Growers, Inc. and vice-president of the National Potato Council. A champion of economic growth in northern Maine, Mr.
LaPointe is presently Director of Economic and Community Development in Van Buren, chair of the Van Buren Housing Authority and a board member of the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce. He also is chair of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council, an affiliate of the Acadian National Park and National Park Service. Mr. LaPointe's involvement in the community includes membership in l'Association Francaise de la Vallee, the St. Peter Chanel Parish Justice and Peace Commission, the Van Buren Rotary Club and the St. John Valley Soil and Water Conservation District. He is chair of the Canado-Americaine Association.

(HLS 1062)

Eugene Paradis (Old Town, posthumous)

Mr. Paradis was born in Old Town, married his childhood sweetheart, Cora Rand, and served his Nation as a member of the United States Marine Corps for over 30 years, which included service in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. After finishing his military career, Mr. Paradis served on the Town Council for Old Town and served 6 terms in the Maine House of Representatives, including a minority leadership role.

(HLS 1066)


2011 (March 16)

Legislative Record

Claire Lafrance Auger (Sanford)

Mrs. Auger was born in Sanford to French-Canadian immigrants and grew up speaking only
French. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in French from St. Joseph's College and taught French at Windham High School before marrying Gilles Auger and raising 4 children. In the
1970s, Mrs. Auger started a French radio show that ran for 2 years and she became the first French teacher at St. Thomas School in Sanford. She taught French at Sanford Junior High School from 1977 to 2000. Mrs. Auger began French Heritage Night at St. Thomas School, now an annual tradition, and in 2007 created the Rusty French Club, a focal point in Sanford for those who want to brush up on their French or reminisce and celebrate French culture.

(HLS 185)

Giles Edouard Auger (Sanford)

Mr. Auger was born in Sanford and grew up speaking only French. He graduated from the
University of Maine with a Bachelor of Arts degree in French and taught French at Lubec High School from 1956 to 1957, and at Gould Academy from 1957 to 1960. From 1957 to 1963, Mr.
Auger served in the United States Army Reserves. In 1960, Mr. Auger received his Master of Arts degree in Education from the University of Maine and was a Fulbright Scholar at the Sorbonne
in Paris. He taught French at Sanford High School from 1960 to 1963 and was a Professor of French at Nasson College from 1963 to 1979. Mr. Auger worked for the State of Maine at the Department of Human Services from 1979 to 1997. He has been very active in his community during his professional career, including being a founding member of the Sanford-Springvale Historical Society and serving as the Voter Registrar for the Town of Sanford from 1963 to 2007. He also received the 2003 Lorraine Fleury Award for outstanding work in the voting process in Maine.

(HLS 186)

Sr. Solange Bernier (Lewiston, posthumous)

Sr. Solange was a longtime teacher, head of the French Department at St. Dominic Regional High School, principal, prioress, religious instructor and goodwill ambassador for the Franco-American community. Sr. Solange was born in Lewiston and entered the novitiate of the Ursuline order of nuns in Waterville. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in French from St. Michael's College in Vermont, followed by her Master of Arts degree in French and Theology from Notre Dame University
in Indiana. Sr. Solange taught in Sanford, Springvale, Waterville, Winslow and for over 35 years in Lewiston-Auburn. She was chosen as Outstanding Secondary Teacher in America in 1975.
In 1982, she was honored by Mayor Paul Dionne of Lewiston for her outstanding contributions to Franco-Americans. Among her many other awards, the French government named her an
Officier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques, and St. Dominic Regional High School honored her with a scholarship in her name.

(HLS 183)

Edward Martin (Rumford, posthumous)

Dr. Martin, who passed away in 2001, graduated from Colby College and the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He practiced medicine as a family physician for nearly 40 years, serving the community he loved, but it was in his study of Acadian history that Dr. Martin found his greatest passion. He founded the Acadian Society of the Mexico-Rumford Area and, with weekly Acadian Society meetings, Dr. Martin introduced a generation of people to the truth about the forgotten history of the Acadian people. He traveled extensively to visit the Acadian Homelands and for more than 20 years was a leader in Acadian history studies in Maine. He wrote a novel, Thunder from the Mountains, describing the similarities in the history of the Maine Wabanaki people and of the Acadians.

(HLS 181)

Theresa Marin Ouellette (St. Agatha)

Ms. Ouellette received her teaching degree from the University of Maine at Fort Kent and a
Master of Education degree from the University of Maine. Known as T.O., she was a beloved kindergarten teacher for 37 years in St. Agatha and Frenchville. A passionate student of local history from her youth, Ms. Ouellette has preserved artifacts, documents, writings and photographs of residents of the St. John Valley and has written and documented all the major families of St. Agatha.  She is the president of the Ste-Agathe Historical Society, a member of l'Association Francaise de la Vallee St-Jean and a board member of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council.

(HLS 184)

Patrick Paradis (Augusta)

Mr. Paradis, currently a city councilor and the Mayor of Augusta, served with distinction
for 16 years in the Maine State Legislature and is an active champion of Franco-Americans. He grew up in the Franco-American enclave of Augusta known as "Sand Hill" and continues to live there to this day. For 8 years, Mr. Paradis served Kennebec County as its elected treasurer and is now serving his second 3-year term on the Augusta City Council. He has been an active member of Le Club Calumet since 1978.

(HLS 182)


2010 (March 17)

Legislative Record

Normand Angers (Lewiston)

Mr. Angers volunteers countless hours to the Maine Franco-American Genealogical Society in Lewiston, and has helped many people at the center learn about their genealogy.  

(HLS 96)

*Severin Beliveau (Hallowell)

Mr. Beliveau is known throughout the State for his significant contributions to not only Franco-American culture but to public issues, environmental projects and international trade.  Born in Rumford to a distinguished family of Maine lawyers and judges, Mr. Beliveau has a long and dedicated history of civic involvement and is the recipient of numerous professional awards.  Since 1991, he has been the French Consular Agent from the State of Maine and is the recipient of the French Legion of Honor Award, the highest distinction France awards civilians, for his leadership on key projects to improve the relationship between Maine and France.

(HLS 997)

Annette Lebel Daigle (Fort Kent)

Mrs. Daigle has been very active in her community and committed to her French heritage.  She and her husband Bert raised their 3 children with strong Franco-American values and to speak French.  She has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions.  She is the recent past president of the Fort Kent Historical Society and the recipient of the Acadian Achievement Award from the Maine Acadian Heritage Council.  Mrs. Daigle has received the Member of the Year Award from Fort Kent Business and Professional Women and has served for 10 years on the Aroostook Area Agency on Aging board.  She is strongly involved in her church and was named Mother of the Year by the Ladies of Sainte Anne in 2001.  She is a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary and past president of the Northern Maine Medical Center Guild.  

(HLS 999)

Jean Francois Dionne (Grand Isle)

Mr. Dionne joined the Association des Dionnes d'Amerique in 1987 and took part in organizing the first Dionne reunion on Ile d'Orleans in Quebec, commemorating the 350th anniversary of the arrival of Antoine Dionne, his wife Catherine Ivory and their son Andre.  He also contributed to the promotion, growth and organization of the association's membership in the United States, his contributions making the 1990 Riviere-du-Loup/Kamouraska reunion a great success.  Mr. Dionne is a talented singer and has taken part in many French concerts in the United States and Canada.  He is the first Franco-American recipient of the prestigious Prix Meritas.

(HLS 998)

2009 (March 25)

Legislative Record

Georgette B. Berubé (Lewiston, posthumous)

Serving in both the Maine House and Senate from 1971 to 2000, Mme. Berube had more state legislative service than any other woman in Maine's history.  In 1982, she was a candidate for Governor of Maine.  For many years she hosted a French radio show in central Maine and served on the Finance Council of the Catholic Diocese of Maine.  Mme. Berube was proud of her French heritage and her many contributions to her community and to her State made a difference in the lives of all of her constituents.  We join her family and the citizens of this State in celebrating the life and accomplishments of this exceptional woman and we acknowledge the innumerable contributions that she made to the Franco-American community.

(HLS 151)

Raymond Fecteau (Augusta)

M. Fecteau was born in Madawaska and grew up speaking French.  He settled in Augusta in 1968 with his wife, Constance Vachon Fecteau, and they raised 2 daughters who are bilingual.  He has been a Master Barber for 45 years, cutting hair at Duke's Rotary Barber Shop for 39 years.  M. Fecteau has been involved with Le Club Calumet since 1972, working tirelessly in various capacities and roles and in 1998 they honored him with La Medaille d'Honneur.  He is one of the founders of the Maine USA/Maine France Exchange Program and is an Honorary Member of the Executive Committee of L'Amicale des Sarthois de Paris.  M. Fecteau also serves on a committee that is searching for a sister city for Augusta, Maine in France. 

(HLS 154)

Rosaire & Judy Ayotte Paradis (Frenchville)

Mme. Paradis served in the Maine House of Representatives from 1986 to 1992 and in the Maine Senate from 1992 to 2000.  Before her legislative career, she taught high school French.  Always an advocate of the French language and culture, she engaged in conversations in French with willing legislators and staff at the Capitol, encouraging other people of Franco-American descent to acknowledge their heritage with pride.  M. Paradis taught French as well as English and Latin to high school students for 36 years before becoming a legislator.  He served a 6-year tenure as the State Representative for District 2 and was often recognized for his staunch support of minority rights and cultural diversity in Maine.  M. Paradis has written many articles and columns in newspapers to promote French language and culture and is presently writing a play in French.  Both M. and Mme. Paradis have been bilingual since they were children.

(HLS 153)

Viola Quirion (Waterville, posthumous)

Mlle. Quirion was a Francophone who worked for more than 40 years at the C. F. Hathaway Company shirt factory in Waterville where she was an outspoken leader in the local union.  After her retirement and despite having cancer and other illnesses, she became active in a movement to make prescription drugs affordable for older people.  Mlle. Quirion helped organize discount-drug bus trips to Canada, made an appearance on "60 Minutes" and appeared before congressional committees in Washington D.C.  She was not an elected official or a political lobbyist but a hardworking, relentless woman who believed in pursuing a cause that she believed was right.  United States Representative Thomas Allen said of Viola Quirion: "Maine is a better place because of the legacy left by this courageous woman."

(HLS 152)

*Barry Rodrigue (Bath)

M. Rodrigue is an associate professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Southern Maine.  He is trained in cultural research as an archeologist, geographer, historian, biologist and ethnographer with a strong focus on French North American Studies.  He served as a Research Geographer at Laval University in Quebec City where he received a Ph.D.  M. Rodrigue serves as Scholar for the University of Southern Maine's Franco-American Collection, director of French North American Studies and co-director of Global Studies.  A strong advocate for interdisciplinary studies and student-centered learning, he involves his students in real-life projects, such as organizing conferences of the world's leading authorities on French North America.  He is also very involved with publishing, writing and editing Franco-American literature.

(HLS 155)

2008 (March 19)

Legislative Record

Julie D. Albert (Madawaska)

Mrs. Albert was born Juliet Daigle in St. David and attended Madawaska schools.  She married Elmo Albert and they had 4 children.  Having a lifelong interest in Acadian history, she wrote Madawaska's Centennial Book in 1969, single-handedly researching, interviewing and making sketches to produce a book that was about the people of the region.  It is considered one of the most complete researches of the modern history of the St. John's Valley.  She is an avid reader and has written a volume of poetry, and she is also a talented painter.  Mrs. Albert is a life member of the Madawaska Historical Society.

(HLS 1109)

Rachel Desgrosseilliers (Auburn)

Ms. Desgrosseilliers's family immigrated to Lewiston from St. Ludger, Canada.  She grew up speaking French in the vibrant Francophone world of Lewiston, going to L'Eglise St. Famille and reading Le Messager.  Preserving the history, telling the stories and honoring the memory of Franco-Americans have been a great part of Ms. Desgrosseilliers's professional life for the past decade.  Ms. Desgrosseilliers has been the director of the Museum L-A for the past 3 years. 

(HLS 1108)

Madeleine Giguère (Lewiston)

Professor Giguère, an internationally recognized sociologist, was known locally and regionally as "la marraine," the godmother, of Maine's Franco-Americans.  Professor Giguère had a long and distinguished academic career, specializing in ethnic and women's issues.  She taught at St. Joseph's College and BostonCollege before accepting a position at the University of Southern Maine where she established Franco-American Studies as a legitimate and important part of her curriculum.  The author and editor of numerous publications about Franco-Americans, she was an authority on the analysis of ethnic components of the United States Census since 1970.  She served on statewide committees defending women's rights and promoting Franco-American contributions to Maine's development.  In 1992, the Library of Congress recognized her for her contributions to Acadian culture.  Professor Giguère was instrumental in establishing the Franco-American Heritage Collection at Lewiston-AuburnCollege.  The Reading Room at the Franco-American Collection and a scholarship fund have been named in her honor

(HLS 1107)

Pearley & Alice LaChance (Waterville)

Mr. and Mrs. LaChance grew up speaking French at home and attending bilingual elementary parochial schools in the Winslow and Waterville areas.  Mr. LaChance attended evening classes on Franco-American Culture at Waterville High School Adult Ed and attended Franco-American courses, seminars and conferences.  He was an active member of the group that founded the "Le F.A.R.O.G. Forum" at the University of Maine.  In 1975 Mr. and Mrs. LaChance ventured to French-speaking Algeria, Mr. LaChance as a machine tool instructor and Mrs. LaChance as a coordinator welcoming newly arriving families from the United States, Canada and Europe.  Retirement has allowed Mr. and Mrs. LaChance to be active participants in Franco-American groups such as the Bavards, the Franco-American Heritage Society of the Kennebec Valley and the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston as well as volunteering in many other organizations.  Mr. LaChance has conducted tours for school and adult groups of the "Museum in the Street," which highlights the contributions of Franco-Americans to the Waterville Area.  In 2004 they served as the Honorary Memere and Pepere for the Franco-American Festival in Waterville

(HLS 1106)


2007 (March 21)

Legislative Record

*Norman Beaupre (Biddeford)

Dr. Beaupre was born in Maine and grew up speaking French in Biddeford. He received his 
Ph.D. in French literature in 1974 and is the author of several books. He became Professor Emeritus after 30 years of teaching at the University of New England, where he taught both 
francophone literature and world literature.

(HLS 156)

*Constance D. Cote (Auburn)

Ms. Cote served 6 terms in the Maine House of Representatives and is into her 5th decade of hosting a top-rated French review show aired weekly on CNN Radio 1240. Among her many commitments, she was instrumental in the Franco-American Festival Committee that promoted all aspects of French language and culture, and she promoted the renaissance of Franco-American culture in the Lewiston and Auburn area.

(HLS 155)

Cleo Paradis Ouellette (Frenchville)

Mrs. Ouellette taught high school French for 33 years, and also taught French at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Among her many contributions to the community, she has served as a board
member of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council and has given a series of lectures for the Maine Humanities Council on the Franco-American experience.

(HLS 157)

2006 (March 22)

Legislative Record

Yvon Labbé (Orono)

Mr. Labbé is the founder of the Centre Franco-Américain at the University of Maine and has been its executive director since 1972.  His work encompasses the preservation of the many linguistic, cultural and historical treasures of the large francophone population of Maine and includes, among many other efforts, making the general public aware of the many monolingual French Mainers in the State's mental health hospitals who are unable to communicate due to the language barrier.  He has initiated annual conferences on multiculturalism in Maine, educating teachers and the community.  Mr. Labbé has coordinated exchanges with France, Canada, Africa and Haiti for several decades, and he is cofounder and vice-president of Le Forum Francophone des Affaires, offering the United States opportunities in trade and business with the rest of the francophone world.  He founded the successful bilingual newspaper at the University of Maine, Le Forum, as well as the multicultural magazine Maine Mosaic.  He was one of the organizers of the Maine Kennebec/Chaudière Heritage Tourism Project, which has been successful in both Maine and Québec.  Mr. Labbé has been involved in many television projects on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network and other networks, as well as teaching college courses with bilingual and bicultural objectives.  He has participated in several world summits with francophone heads of state.  His vision, expertise and commitment to the French heritage and francophone presence in the State of Maine have been the inspiration to many students and colleagues in working for full recognition of the many contributions of Franco-Americans, and working to use the potential of the French language and culture on the international stage.  Mr. Labbé has undergraduate and graduate degrees in French from the University of Maine and is a son of the Beauce Region of Québec.  

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Anne L. Roy (Van Buren)

Mrs. Roy has been a remarkable force for the preservation of the French-Acadian heritage of the St. JohnValley and the rest of Maine.  For several years, she has been the director of the AcadianVillage in Van Buren.  She oversees the repairs and growth of the Village, which is a replica of Acadian life in northern AroostookCounty in the early 1900s.  Mrs. Roy was instrumental in planning and developing onsite the Levasseur-DubeMuseum, the Martine Pelletier Book Nook and the VioletteIndustrialBuilding.  Since 1982, she has also been the president of L'Héritage Vivant-Living Heritage Historical Society.  She is the director of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council and vice-president of Le Club Français.  A native of the St. JohnValley, she has taught for 38 years, with 34 of those years at the former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone and in the town.  Retired from full-time teaching in 2003, she now works part-time with special needs children in M.S.A.D. #24.  She actively volunteers in the community as secretary of the Daughters of Isabella, is a member in good standing with the Friends of the Morneault Library in Van Buren, is chair of Mercy Meals for her church and is a member of the local American Legion Auxiliary.  Mrs. Roy has a special place in her heart for her many elderly friends and is a familiar face at Borderview Nursing Home in Van Buren.  In 2001, Mrs. Roy was the recipient of the Alumna of the Year Award from the University of Maine at Fort Kent.  She is presently the coordinator for the Town of Van Buren's 125th Anniversary Celebration, as well as the Acadian Village's 30th Anniversary. 

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Alcee & Cecile Vigue (Waterville)

Mr. and Mrs. Vigue have worked to support the French Reacquisition Project in Waterville and have been featured in the documentary film, "Waking Up French," by Maine filmmaker Ben Levine.  They have been involved members of the Franco-American Heritage Society of the Kennebec Valley, helping out on guided tours of the "Museum in the Streets," with schools and visitors.  Mr. Vigue is involved with the "Bavards," who meet every Saturday morning to help those who are reclaiming their native French or learning it for the first time.  The Vigues have hosted several French language gatherings in their home and enjoy all things French.  Both husband and wife emigrated from Canada to the United States in the 1930s and Mr. Vigue served in the United States Navy from 1943 to 1945 and saw action at the battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa on a destroyer built in Bath.  One of his fondest memories was witnessing the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima.  After the war, Mr. Vigue worked at Keyes Fiber for 44 years.  Since his retirement in 1985, he has been cooking at the Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen and has been a scout master and commander of his American Legion post.  Mrs. Vigue attended Notre Dame Parochial School and later received her high school diploma through the Waterville Adult Education program.  She is an accomplished cook and seamstress and does beautiful handiwork for her family and for donations to children's charities.  She is active in the community, including the Ladies of St. Anne Sodality, where she served as president, and Maine General Hospital, where she served as a volunteer.

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2005 (April 6)

Legislative Record

Agnes (Daigle) Beaulieu (Madawaska)

A retired chiropractor, Dr. Chasse continues his active advocacy for the Acadian and Franco-American populations of the St. John Valley and the State. He is active in the Save Our French movement, a founding member and first president of Le Club Français. He served as the first president of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council. He has videotaped French-speaking residents of northern Aroostook County to ensure that their stories will be preserved for posterity. He films current events involving Franco-Americans and has built an impressive library of videos about the St. John Valley people and their important milestones. He has labored tirelessly in revitalizing the Fort Kent Historical Society. He led the restoration of the old B&A Railroad Station for the Society while serving as its president from 1986 to 1990. He is presently compiling and will publish Les Belles Histoires in honor of a century of service of Daughters of Wisdom, a French order of sisters that settled in St. Agathe in 1904. Dr. Chasse is married to the former Priscilla Hanna of Biddeford and has 4 children: Daniel, Carl, Kevin and Christine.

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Cyril Beaulieu (Madawaska)

Mr. Beaulieu is a family man, entrepreneur par excellence, community builder, businessman, developer, organizer, inventor, policy maker, responsible river user and active supporter of an international seaport at Rivière-du-Loup, Maine-Quebec ententes and a north-south highway system. He founded many civic and fraternal organizations and chaired many projects. He served on municipal committees, including the budget committee and the industrial park committee. As a friend of governors and senators, he could lobby with the best of them. He was a founder of the Quebec, New Brunswick and Maine Alliance, understanding the importance of interrelationships between the 2 countries, the states and the provinces. He has been a Catholic Church leader, builder, choir director, genealogist and historian, having completed many volumes of work and is a 50-year Knight of Columbus. We extend our appreciation to Mr. Beaulieu for his many contributions to the French language and culture and extend our congratulations to him on his achievements.

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2004 (March 18)

Legislative Record

Dr Marc Chasse (Fort Kent)

A retired chiropractor, Dr. Chasse continues his active advocacy for the Acadian and Franco-American populations of the St. John Valley and the State. He is active in the Save Our French movement, a founding member and first president of Le Club Français. He served as the first president of the Maine Acadian Heritage Council. He has videotaped French-speaking residents of northern Aroostook County to ensure that their stories will be preserved for posterity. He films current events involving Franco-Americans and has built an impressive library of videos about the St. John Valley people and their important milestones. He has labored tirelessly in revitalizing the Fort Kent Historical Society. He led the restoration of the old B&A Railroad Station for the Society while serving as its president from 1986 to 1990. He is presently compiling and will publish Les Belles Histoires in honor of a century of service of Daughters of Wisdom, a French order of sisters that settled in St. Agathe in 1904. Dr. Chasse is married to the former Priscilla Hanna of Biddeford and has 4 children: Daniel, Carl, Kevin and Christine.

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Rita Saucier Dubé (Lewiston)

She and her husband Paul owned and operated Dubé Travel Agency, where their bilingualism was a real asset, as it was when they traveled the globe. As a member of the board of St. Mary's Church, Rita has raised funds for the Franco-American Heritage Center. The Heritage Center, a former church in the heart of "Petit Canada," was built by the French-speaking immigrants in the early 1900s. It will now be a museum, performing arts center and education center to pay tribute to those immigrants who were a vital part of the industrialization of Maine. These individuals brought their language, culture, Catholic faith, work ethic, strong family values, patriotism and good citizenship to the building of a better society. Rita, a mother and grandmother of 3, is a very important part of the effort to preserve the French heritage, language and culture. Rita and the Franco-American Heritage Center pay tribute to her ancestors' efforts to build Maine.

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Marie-Anne Gauvin (Madawaska)

After retiring as a French teacher in Connecticut, she returned to her native Madawaska and has been a relentless advocate for the preservation and active use of French in the St. John Valley. She became involved in the Save Our French movement in the 1990s and was one of the founding members of Le Club Français, a nonprofit advocacy group for the French language. She created the club's inspirational and meaningful newsletter, "Le Fanal," which she continues to write under her pen name, "la pie bavarde." She also chairs the organization's finance committee, which she steers with aplomb and common sense. She was instrumental in securing a trust fund from Marvin and Marie-Reine Mikesell from Chicago, Illinois, and is making sure that those and other funds will be dispensed wisely to help younger generations learn French.

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2003 (March 19)

Legislative Record

Geraldine Chasse (St David)

Charter member of the Acadian Cultural Committee and the Maine Acadian Heritage Council. In addition, she founded the Madawaska Historical Society and was instrumental in starting 6 other historical societies in the St. John Valley. She also created the Genealogy Research Center at the Madawaska Public Library and the Acadian Cultural Exchange of northern Maine. In 1970 Geraldine began publication of the Madawaska Historical Society Newsletter and has also published extensively on local Acadian history and folklore. She was a primary organizer of the Annual Acadian Festival, serves on the advisory board of the Acadian Archives and was a member of the St. John Valley Tourist Bureau. Geraldine was the first recipient of the Acadian Achievement Award and was selected as Madawaska's Citizen of the Month by the Greater Madawaska Chamber of Commerce

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Guy Dubay (Madawaska)

A well-known genealogist, respected historian, writer, international lecturer, educator and administrator. He has been active in many organizations, including historical societies, the Maine Humanities Council, the Maine League of Historical Societies, the Canadian-American Institute, the Acadian Festival Committee, the Stockholm Tri-cultural Committee and the Acadian Archives at the University of Maine at Fort Kent. Mr. Dubay's published works include the historical document "Chez Nous: the St. John Valley" and the play "Justice for All." He was also the presenter for MPBN's "Reflets et Lumieres."

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Ben Levine (Rockland)

The filmmaker was recognized for his efforts over the past 30 years to document the repression and renaissance of the French culture in New England. He is presently on tour with his latest film "Reveil: Waking up French," an epic story of New England's largest minority. This documentary revisits the people and issues in his 1980 film "Si Je Comprends Bien," which explored language and power in the context of the first Quebec referendum for independence. The film also documents the recent dynamic push among young Franco-Americans to reclaim their ancestral language. Ben is a winner of the prestigious ITVA Gold and Silver Award for corporate communications, the Broderson Gold Award for broadcast public service and the NAGC Gold Screen Award for public information. He has also been recognized by the Maine Commission on the Arts, the Maine Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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2002 (March 6)

Lesislative Record

Note - the language "Franco-American Hall of Fame" was not used for the 2002 honorees.

Beurmond Banville (Frenchville)

The northern and central Aroostook reporter for the Bangor Daily News and chief of its Madawaska bureau. Mr. Banville has worked for the newspaper for the past 30 years. He has spent most of his working life reporting on events of interest in Aroostook County. In addition to being a first-rate reporter, he is an accomplished photographer. He is one of the founders of the International Press Association of the Madawaska Republic. He was named Frenchville's Citizen of the Year in 1994 and generously donates his time to many civic and community organizations in the area. In 1995, he was one of 4 adult Scouters of Katahdin Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, to receive the Silver Beaver Award, the council's highest recognition for distinguished service to youth and the community. He has been awarded the Heroism Award for Life Saving. Mr. Banville is an excellent journalist and valuable community member.

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Donald Levesque (Edmundston, NB)

general manager and managing editor of the St. John Valley Times, the award-winning newspaper of northern Aroostook County. Mr. Levesque has been a member of the International Press Association of the Madawaska Republic since 1988 and served as its president in 1992. He served in Vietnam and is active in veterans activities. He is a strong advocate of the French language and culture as well as a tireless proponent of bilingualism in the St. John Valley. Although well known as an accomplished journalist, he is probably better known as the writer of the bilingual column, Mon Cinq Cents (My Five Cents Worth). He has published a popular book on local French words and expressions. He is an irrepressible spokesman for francophones.

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Jean Pedneault (Edmundston, NB)

Reporter and editor for Le Madawaska, the French-language newspaper based in Edmundston, New Brunswick, and serving the St. John Valley in northern New Brunswick and Northern Maine. Mr. Pedneault has worked for the newspaper for the past 31 years and is one of the founders of the International Press Association of the Madawaska Republic. An eloquent writer, he has always been an inquisitive and thorough investigative reporter of events of interest to the francophone population on both sides of the international border as well as a champion of worthwhile causes in his weekly editorials. In 1985, he received the Quebecair Award of the Association of Canadian Weekly Newspapers for the best journalistic reporting of the year. He received an award from Pope John Paul II for service to the Church. In 1989, he was named Knight of the Order of the Pleiade of the International Association of French-speaking Parliamentarians. Mr. Pedneault holds the rare distinction of Doctor of Journalism, granted to him by the University of Moncton in May 2001. He generously donates his time to many civic and community organizations in the area. Mr. Pedneault is a truly remarkable man and an exceptional journalist.

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