Deveaux broke RCL gender barrier
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.
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.