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"I'd climb up one storey to a roof that had a door leading to the clothesline," Despatie recalled from her temporary office opposite the CCH surgical floor. "That's how I got in" and got past sleeping parents Clifton and Theresa Fargo.
"I had good teachers," the CEO added, still chuckling, referring to Steve and older brother Bernie. "The three of us had a lot of fun together."
Fast forward a few decades and today Despatie, a graduate of Regiopolis Notre Dame and Queen's, heads a 137 bed acute care hospital. She is responsible for a $115 million operating budget and 1,100 employees, including 140 medical staff.
Fun was often found across the channel at a high school party or in a city oasis. Afterwards, 'Nettie' Fargo would catch the last ferry and be at her doorstep a few hours before sun up.
"I went to high school with his sons, Christopher and Peter, so I got to know their dad a bit, too," she noted. "While I was at Queen's, Michael started talking about this health care job he had lined up for me."
"She's always been a driven person, driven but fair," noted Barb, eldest of Clifton's quintet. "She was good to customers on her Whig Standard newspaper route, but tough when she had to be. If a bill was due, she'd let it go once, maybe twice, but the next time they'd be cut off until they paid up."
"The escape route!" the CEO exclaimed when reminded of those moonlit ascents many moons ago on her native Wolfe Island. "No, wait the entry route!"
Then came the tricky part of getting in undetected. The tardy teen didn't take any chances.
"Instead of walking up our creaky old stairs and maybe waking up the folks, Jeanette would climb up the antenna," said Steve, milking the memory.
It was Carty who paved the path to employment for the young graduate.
"No credit on my route," chuckled the hospital administrator. "Dad used to shake his head and laugh, because he gave credit to everyone. He'd be on the ferry and someone would come up and tell him that his daughter had cut off their newspaper.
"Compulsory savings was what it was," recalled longtime Whig circulation manager Stuart Crawford, "but it taught kids how to save."
As one can surmise, such clandestine entries occurred in the dead of night, usually minutes after the last evening ferry arrived from Kingston.
Her reward: A lofty spot on the province's annual 'sunshine list' $236,400. Not bad for someone who agreed to work in Cornwall for only one year before enrolling in Queen's law Converse All Star Ox Black Cheap
"He had the biggest influence on me doing what I'm doing today," she said affectionately.
helpful souls such as Sister Rosemarie Kugel and Sister Rosalia Cobey. None, however, provided more insight and encouragement than the late Kingston barrister Michael Carty, who acted as HDH legal counsel and later helped form the RHSJ Health System.
"She always had great marks in school," brother Steve, youngest of five Fargo children, recalled one day earlier over the phone from Fargo General Store. "One year, though, I think it was Grade 13, she partied a bit. Fun became a priority for Jeanette."
TV antenna tower to sneak into a house.
An enterprising youth with a resourceful bent, 'Nettie' Fargo invested a portion of her paper route pay in a special trust fund set up and run by the newspaper.
It's been years since Jeanette Despatie, the only chief executive officer in the history of the Cornwall Community Hospital, clambered up a Converse All Star Sneakers - High Top Leather
In 1986, Despatie exchanged one HDH for another, moving to Cornwall to accept a senior position with the RHSJ Health Centre, which included HDH. Four years later she was put in charge and in 2005 was named CEO of the new Cornwall Community Hospital.
In 1984, Despatie, armed with a stellar work ethic and a commerce honours degree, accepted an executive assistant position with the Religious Hospitallers of Saint Joseph Health System. It marked the beginning of a warm 21 year association with the sisters.
Reflecting on her formative years on the job, she mentioned Converse Red Leather
From Wolfe Island to hospital CEO
That was in 1986, and she's still here, those lawyer aspirations long discarded and replaced by an admirable career in health management. What's more, she doesn't plan on leaving any time soon."
Her success in the high profile field of health care management comes as no surprise to those who know her best.
Clifton Fargo farmed and drove snowplow in winter. Like most islanders, he found steady employment on the mainland, working at St. Remy Motors and managing city councillor George Webb's gas station at the corner of Queen and Ontario streets. He sold the farm in '69 and two years later bought the general store in Marysville from a relative and rechristened it Fargo's General Store. Steve, the latest in a lengthy line of proprietors, uncovered an old insurance policy on the store dated 1887.
"Maybe that's why I went into commerce," she quipped.
"We love it here," she said, speaking for husband Michael, a partner in a Cornwall accounting firm. The couple, now empty nesters, live in a tony east end neighbourhood, their four children two from his first marriage, Ladies Converse Boots Sale two of their own (sons Matthew, at Queen's, and Rick, at McGill) having flown the coop.
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