PHILLIPS – “Are you hearing this, Dennis?”

Janet White was in the kitchen at the couple’s home near the corner of Bray Hill Road and East Madrid Road in Phillips. She had just received the news from President of the Phillips Chamber of Commerce that she and her husband had been selected as the Honored Couple for Phillips Old Home Days 2016.

Dennis E. and Janet (Bredeau) White have been long-time supporters of the Phillips Old Home Days Celebration. Janet herself was a member of the Chamber for 6 or 7 years back in the days when George Edmunds, one of the founders of the annual event, was still active in the organization. She returned to service in 2000. Having held all of the offices at one time or another over the next 14 years, she became “an integral part (of the committee) and instrumental in the planning of Old Home Days,” stated current Chamber President Tami Bredeau, who delivered the news to the pair last Wednesday evening.

“And Dennis was always my behind the scenes person,” Janet declared as she told how he did everything from making signs and numbers for the parade line-up at North Franklin Park on Pleasant Street to helping to rebuilding the Chuck Wagon, an especially important part in the weekend’s activities.

Dennis and Janet continue to be active in various community organizations. Both are members of the New Portland Lions Club, which hosts the New Portland Lions Agricultural Fair.

“Eighteen years ago, our boys started pulling trucks at New Portland Fair,” Janet said.

Dennis helped with that event and Janet was an announcer and they have continued to participate ever since. In fact, Janet has had her own street truck for 15 years. The two are members of the Maine State Pullers Truck and Tractor Association, as well.

“The whole family pulls except my daughter, Dené,” Janet continued, “but I’m working on that. Once you get behind that wheel…”

Dennis is also involved with the horse pulling events at North Franklin Park, helping to maintain the pull ring and otherwise assisting Steve Smith.

Going back to her work as a Lion, in 2010 Janet became a “Guiding Lion” for the newly-forming Phillips-Strong Lions Club. She served in that capacity for two years before joining herself. She is also the advisor of the Western Mountain Leos, based at Mt. Abram Regional High School. Leos is the youth counterpart of the Lions Club.

Janet is a former member of the Farmington Emblem Club #460 and American Legion Post 0061 Norton Wuori Post 0061 of Kingfield. She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Janet and Dennis met in 1974 when both were students at Mt. Abram. As Dennis tells it, one day he and a bunch of his friends were sitting in the little restaurant in what was then Young’s grocery store, later Fenno’s, on Main Street in Phillips. His buddies dared him to ask Janet out.

Janet was working at Edmunds’ Market over on Dodge Road and Route 4. On that fateful day, she was busy in the frozen food section, filling the open food chests. Dennis swept in quietly behind her and flipped her right into the cooler on top of all the TV dinners!

“Boy, was George mad!” Janet exclaimed.

It seems that payback for these shenanigans was a long time coming. However, it is interesting to note that during all those years when Janet was right out straight with her duties as president of the Chamber during the week of Old Home Days, Dennis says, “I must’ve eaten a trailer-full of TV dinners!”

Another time during their courtship, Dennis was showing off in his 1960 Dodge Charger. A Franklin County Sheriff gave chase, pursuing them over hill and dale. Dennis, who had a pretty good lead upon reaching Janet’s house, turned quickly into Janet’s dad’s garage. Her brother, Wayne brought down the door.

“And the Sheriff kept driving right on to Madrid!” laughed Janet. “And (we’ve) been going on ever since.”

The two were married on August 8, 1977, in the Methodist Church, now Little White Church Antiques, on Main Street in Phillips.

Janet admits that there were some tense minutes on her wedding day when she realized there was no groom and no best man waiting at the altar.

“I thought he’d ditched me,” she said, “but he was only 10 minutes late.”

Mr. and Mrs. White began their married life in a trailer on the site where they still reside today. By the time they decided to sell their trailer in the spring of 1978, they had the shell of their new house built with logs that Dennis had cut himself in his father-in-law’s pit. However, their trailer sold in just two days and the shell wasn’t yet livable, so they moved into Janet’s dad’s dinner shack, which was “just 8X10, if that.”

Come fall, Janet was pregnant with their first child. She remembers that her Gram worried awful about that baby being born into such surroundings.

“Well, we didn’t freeze,” Janet stated matter-of-factly, “but the –pot did freeze over!”

Despite the hardships of that winter, their first son, Derek, was born safe and sound. The couple finished their new home and have added on to it over the years. They also added two more children to their little family – another son, Daren, and a daughter, Dené. All three children are now married with children of their own. Derek and Laura R. White have a son and a daughter, Nathan and Lindsey. Daren and Heidi White also have a son and a daughter, Michael and Madison, as do Dené (White) and Matt Stevens, Mason and Lillian.

Come Old Home Days, this Honored Couple will have been married almost 40 years. During 22 of those years, Janet worked in various grocery and convenience stores, including Edmunds’ Market, the original 5K, and Bear Hill on Route 4 towards Madrid. She had her own very successful cooking business, JB’s Kitchen, for 3 years. She has been employed by MSAD 58 for the past 8 years, working as a substitute teacher and sometimes study hall monitor.

Dennis has been a logger and truck driver for 25 years, working first for Janet’s father, Richard Bredeau, and then running his own business. He is currently driving truck for RLH Enterprise.

For fun?

“We have a new travel trailer this year,” Janet replied, “We want to travel.”

States Chamber President Tami Bredeau, said “With the highest regards, it is my pleasure to announce this year’s Honored Couple. The Chamber of Commerce put out suggestion buckets, and we listened to our community! Janet (Bredeau) White and Dennis E. White are Phillips’ 2016 Old Home Days Honored Couple! Thank you both for ALL of the service and work that you have done for our community! Congratulations!!”

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