Interviewers: Joshua and Alex
Date: November 1, 2007

Place: At his home
Transcriber: Peg Simmons

Jeff Evangelos was born on November 3, 1952, and moved to Friendship from Warren. He has two children, Rachel and Ethan, and is engaged to Harolyn York.

Q: How long have you lived in Friendship? Where did you come from? What other places have you lived in? When did you come to Friendship? What brought you to Friendship?

A: I’ve lived in Friendship for 12 years, but I was born in Concord, Massachusetts. I left there and ended up going to college in upstate New York. After I got my degree there, I came to the University of Maine to go to graduate school. That was in 1973. After I graduated at Orono, I worked in public sector work in Washington County. I worked there two years, and then the town of Warren hired me in 1976. I was 23. That brought me to this area. They hired me as their town manager.

Q: How is it different from where you came from?

A: I lived in Warren for 22 years, and I’ve been here 12 years. It’s pretty much similar to Warren: rural life. I like rural life--quiet, nice surroundings. It’s much different from the place where I was born in Massachusetts. It started out rural but turned into suburban. I love living in rural areas; I have for 35 years now.

Q: Do you work here or are you retired?

A: I’m semi-retired. I work at home now. I do a lot of volunteer work. I study economics and the markets for a living. I grow all my own food as much as I can, I raise beef, and I cut my own wood, so I make a living off my farm a little bit.

Q: Please tell us about your past and present involvement in civic affairs.

A: When I got out of school in Orono, I went immediately to work for towns. I worked for  towns in Washington County and then Warren. After that, the school system SAD 40 hired me to be their business manager, and I did that for 15 years. I had a lot of involvement in civic affairs. And then I do a lot of political work. I’m very politically active. I guess you could call me a progressive.

Q: What community activities do you participate in now?

A: I do mostly volunteer work in town. I help the museum, and the president of the museum asked me to write a grant two years ago to help them get some money for a book. We were successful in getting that, so I helped them put the book together a little bit. Recently I wrote a grant for the Friendship Fire Department.

Q: Could you elaborate a little on the book project Friendship Homes?

A: Once the project got rolling, it turned into a pretty big project. It deals with the history of families in town and some of the homes and tells nice stories about the history, going back 200 years. It came out in the same year as the town’s bicentennial. That wasn’t by plan or design. It just happened that way. I ended up meeting a lot of nice people and it was a big project with over 100 people involved. It took two years to complete. It was very good for the museum and for all the volunteers and for the library. Linda DeRosa helped me a lot on the project.

Q: Can you tell us some things that you like about Friendship?

A: Yes. I like the quality of rural life here. Good people, hardworking, nice neighbors. Who could ask for more? 

Q: Are there any changes that you would like to see in Friendship?

A: I’ve heard a rumor that they want to build a ball field across from the school. I’d support that. The town needs something. It would be good for both kids and adults.

Q: How has living in Friendship affected your life?

A: I’ve learned a lot from the people. I helped my neighbor Jason as a sternman a couple of years ago, and that was a good experience. It’s been a continuation of meeting nice people in a rural setting. It has a good effect on your life, period.

Q: If you have lived here over a number of years, either full-time or part-time, tell us what it was like in the past.

A: The only change I see is that we’re getting a little more development coming in. Obviously, people want to come in and live on the Atlantic coast, but I like it quiet and rural, so I hope Friendship doesn’t get spoiled.

Q: Please share with us some stories about your life in Friendship.

A: I think the most important thing that has happened to me in Friendship was three years ago when I walked into the town office, and the town office people told me that the school system had made a mistake on their assessments, and it was going to cost the town $350,000 a year. I had been involved in the original agreement that got that assessment corrected in a more equitable manner in 1992. I helped draft it. I worked for the school then, so I knew there had been a serious mistake. Wesley Lash, Arthur Thompson, and I went to Augusta and presented a case to the legislature. We had a real hard fight, but we were successful in getting the legislation passed so the town saves over a million dollars every three years now. It was a real good way for me to get to know the people in town. It was something that we worked on as a good team. We had a lot of fun doing it.

Q: Do you have anything else to add?

A: I did have a business through which I was able to travel overseas for 20 years. I lived in Friendship when I had the business. I went to Pakistan 18 times. I had a company based in Waldoboro. I had a lot of fun doing that. That’s about it. I’m happy here, and I hope it doesn’t change too much.

Q: Do you have any pictures that we can borrow or memorable items?

A: We’ll come up with something. You’re close by.

Q: So you have anything else to add?

A: This will go in somewhere under civic affairs. I am politically active, and I ran for the Maine Legislature. I’ve run twice. I ran once when I was a kid. I was 24. Both times I ran I got 49% of the vote. Recently I did resign from the Democratic party. I am disappointed that they haven’t taken Bush and impeached him for lying us into that war in Iraq.

Another thing I admire about the people in Friendship is the young kids such as Josh and Alex, who are conducting this interview. They are both less than 12 years old, and they are already independent businessmen. They lobster. There’s a lot to it. These kids don’t compare with kids anywhere else. As far as I’m concerned, they are way ahead of kids that have grown up elsewhere. We don’t realize it, but they are. I admire them for it.  

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