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UMFK's oldest living Valley alumna turns 100

January 7, 2005


Irene Pinette Daigle, the oldest living St. John Valley alumna of the University of Maine at Fort Kent is enjoying a celebration a century in the making as she turns 100 years old this month.

Daigle, who was born on January 5, 1905, was treated to a 100th birthday party at the St. Joseph's Nursing Home in Frenchville, where she resides and was joined by family, friends and UMFK campus officials.

The celebration, which took place on Saturday, January 8, included a special cake made by UMFK's dining services in the shape of the numbers 1-0-0 and featuring the University's logo.

UMFK President Richard Cost and Alumni Association President Burnette Bowker attended the event and presented Daigle with an official sentiment on behalf of the campus alumni, faculty, staff and students.

Daigle, who received her teaching certificate in 1922 from the Madawaska Training School (MTS), a forerunner of UMFK, was officially presented with the gold cane at the university's annual alumni banquet in 2001.

The former educator is one of five children of Victorie and Mary Pinette. She lived on Meadow Lane in Fort Kent for 40 years.

Daigle attended Aroostook State Normal School in Presque Isle and Castine Normal School prior to completing her college education at MTS.

She taught in local schools for nearly a decade prior to her marriage to David Daigle in 1930. The Daigles had four children Peggy, born in 1933; Jim, born in 1935; John, born in 1945; and Janet, born in 1943.

The couple's oldest daughter, Peggy, is a graduate of the University of Maine's social work program. Their son Jim graduated from U-Maine with a degree in agriculture. John completed his degree at the American Academy, McCallister Institute of Mortuary Science, and Janet graduated from Husson College

In addition to her four children, Daigle has ten grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, many of whom refer to her as "Memere Cookie," as she is known for being a wonderful cook, especially when it comes to baking sweets.

Daigle was also an avid bridge player, and played the game frequently until a few years ago.

In addition to the official sentiment, Cost and Bowker presented Daigle with a few souvenirs from her alma mater.