De­veaux broke RCL gen­der bar­rier

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID JALA

A Port Hawkes­bury wo­man is be­ing re­mem­bered for her ded­i­ca­tion to fam­ily, friends, faith, and Canada’s vet­er­ans.

Jean Marie De­veaux, who passed away on Sun­day at the age of 66, was a well-known res­i­dent of the Strait area known for the tire­less de­vo­tion she paid to the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion and its mem­bers dur­ing her more than 30 years of ser­vice with the na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tion.

De­veaux served the le­gion in many ca­pac­i­ties and broke the gen­der bar­rier when she be­came the first wo­man to be elected as pres­i­dent of the Nova Sco­tia/ Nu­navut Pro­vin­cial Com­mand.

Ed Pigeau, former pres­i­dent of the le­gion’s On­tario Pro­vin­cial Com­mand, said ev­ery­one that met De­veaux held her in high re­gard.

“There was no one more ded­i­cated to the suc­cess of the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion than Jean Marie, she will be missed,” said Pigeau. “I found her to be a very out­spo­ken per­son who was not afraid to speak her mind and found her to be a fair and ded­i­cated leader.”

In 2012, De­veaux was awarded the le­gion’s high­est award, the Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ser­vice Medal with Palm Leaf.

But while her name was syn­ony­mous with the le­gion, De­veaux also had other pas­sions and was said to have a quick wit and keen sense of hu­mour. Those traits were of­ten on dis­play when she took to the stage as a found­ing mem­ber of the Un­der the Map act­ing troupe.

And, she was also in­volved in pol­i­tics, hav­ing served as cam­paign man­ager for long­time Port Hawkes­bury Mayor Billy Joe Ma­cLean, who stepped down last Oc­to­ber af­ter more than a half cen­tury in pol­i­tics.

“Jean Marie was a lit­tle lady, but she was six-feet-tall when it came to stand­ing up for some­body’s rights or when it came to speak­ing her mind,” re­called Ma­cLean.

“What­ever she took on she made sure she did it well, so she gained a rep­u­ta­tion around town as the one to talk to if you needed some­thing done — she was well­re­spected in the com­mu­nity, she was a good mother, a good res­i­dent and a very smart girl.”

De­veaux was also known for her mov­ing speeches and her ex­cel­lent writ­ing skills that she put on dis­play when writ­ing ar­ti­cles for The Torch, the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion’s quar­terly news­pa­per.

Both a le­gion trib­ute ser­vice to­day and funeral mass on Satur­day will be held in Port Hawkes­bury this week­end.

CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO

Port Hawkes­bury res­i­dent Jean Marie De­veaux, who passed away Sun­day at age 66, is shown in the file photo. For more than 30 years, she held a num­ber of high posts with the Royal Cana­dian Le­gion.

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