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Joseph C. Peltier, 1951, Businessman, Community Servant

The SAE's have had many great leaders throughout the years and among them is Joseph c. Peltier.  He set a high standard for others to follow-through his integrity and commitment to service.  Joe C. Peltier was born February 13, 1929 to Joseph C. Peltier and Marjorie Lee (Burgum) Peltier.  he graduated from Arthur High School in 1947 and North Dakota State University in 1951 with majors in education and math.  In college he joined ND Beta Chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity  where he was treasurer .  He was also active in the NDSU Board of Athletics, Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity, Blue Key National Honorary Society, and many other extra-curricular activities.  He married Norma Skunes on May 31st, 1952.  

 

After college, Joe served as a background investigator with US Army Counter Intelligence for three years.  In 1953 Joe returned to ND to be principal, superintendent, teacher and coach at the Martin ND High School.  He was with Arthur Farmers Elevator/Arthur Companies where he was general manager and Vice President from 1955 through 1992 as well as board member from 1957 through 2007.  he was also Vice President of Interstate Seed and Grain from 1964 through 1984; member of the board of directors of Great Plains Software from 1983 through 1999; member of the board of directors of St. Luke's Hospitals from 1976 through 1982; and a sales associate with Braaten & Qualley Real Estate from 1992 through 1996.  Although he was very successful in business, Joe had another career as a community servant.  .  He served on the board of directors of the South-eastern North Dakota Community Action Agency from 1975 through 1978 including one term as chairman in 1976.  he was a volunteer with the Service Corp of Retired Executives from 1992 through 2002.  He served one year with Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance to Poland.  

 

He has been an active member of the Arthur United Methodist Church, the Arthur Housing Development, Inc., Arthur Lion's Club, Arthur School Board, Dakota School Reorganization Committee, Boy and Cub Scouts, Pewee and Jr. Legion Baseball, American Legion , Masonic Lodge and Arthur Cemetery Board.  A brother who worked for the Southeastern North Dakota community Action Agency when Joe was on the board of directors had this to say about him; "Over the three years that l worked for the agency, l came to appreciate the diligent, thoughtful and caring approach that Joe brought to our board of directors.  When l became the agency planner, l was responsible for presenting the agency's annual work plan and budget to the board.  During my presentation and the ensuing discussion, I was always watching Joe and waiting for him to speak.  I could all that he was always listening carefully, and that he was carefully evaluating our plan and budget.  Although Joe didn't speak often at board meetings, when he did speak, everyone wanted to hear what he had to say because they know that he had something valuable to add to the discussion.  By applying his business and political experience, he suggested ways to increase the social return on our investment of limited federal dollars, thereby helping us to realize a greater impact in delivering services to the least fortunate.  It was that kind of astute and caring attention to our budget and plan that demonstrated not only his compassion for our agency's clientele but his overall decency."  

 

If his community service wasn't enough, Joe had another career as a public servant .  He served as a member of the ND House of Representatives from 1979-1985.  In the legislature he served on the Industry, business and Labor, Transportation, Social Services and Veterans Affairs Committees.  From 1993-2000, Joe was a member of the State Board of Higher Education including being Vice President in 1997-1998.  A brother who served with Joe in the state legislature wrote this about him: "When l was elected to the ND Legislature and appears as a 25 year old freshman, l was fortunate to serve with Joe on the Social Services Committee.  Our fraternity ties created familiarity, but Joe's integrity and pure decency was what drew me to him. l quickly found that Joe Peltier really cared about the quality of the state's social services programs, who they helped, and how they might be improved.  And despite the fact that we were elected out of differing political parties, we found ourselves on the same side of nearly every social service and education issue before the legislature.  That's the way Joe approached everything in Bismarck.  He didn't think much of ideological political posturing.  If a problem needed to be solved, Joe would work with anyone to get the job done."  

 

In addition to his community and public service , Joe and Norma have been generous benefactors.  They have been major contributors to the NDSU Development Foundation for such projects as the "Peltier Endowment for Innovation in Teaching" and the Don Larew and the Jessamine Slaughter Burgum Scholarships. They have also established the "Joe and Norma Peltier endowment for Student Scholarships" at the UND Medical School and have made endowment contributions to the Dakota United Methodist Foundation, Arthur Methodist Church, Wesley Acres, the Brad Burgum Sailing Scholarship, and the Roger Maris Cancer Center.  Joe enjoys outdoor sports, especially water skiing, snow skiing, golfing and hunting, and he also enjoys indoor sports such as bowling where he bowls a 300 game.  Joe and Norma have four children, Kieth (wife Cathy), a 1975 NDSU graduate; Jeff(wife Anne) a 1977 NDSU graduation; Suzette ( husband Wade Wilson), a NDSU 1983 graduate.  In addition to his two sons being members of the SAE fraternity, his two daughters were Little Sisters of Minerva.  Joe and Norma have seven grandchildren.  

 

Joe's son Keith summarized how his father exemplified the characteristics of the True Gentleman: "Dad always treated everyone with respect and dignity.  he was a master of making everyone he met feel like they had a place at the table.  He never flattered wealth and I never saw him cringe before power.  In fact...... he got in trouble a few times because if he felt something was right he wouldn't vote  the party line; he voted how his conscience led him to vote. he  spoke with frankness and sincerity and was always able to get his point across.  To that point, he always followed through on his commitments.  he never boasted of his achievements.  In fact if my mother hadn't been around we would't have known half of what his accomplishments were.  He didn't care who got the credit as long as it got done and he was perfectly happy to work behind the scenes.  He was at home in the company of governors, university presidents, the Arthur coffee club, ROMEOS (Retired Old Men Eating Out), or the SAE group that he was part of that used to get together this very Friday night in the past.  He definitely was a man with whom honor  is sacred and virtue safe."