Anyone walking into Midcoast Federal Credit Union Feb. 9 was sure to get the message that someone near and dear to the staff's heart was leaving.

Peggy Bade retired from the world of banking.

According to her daughter, Jen Chapman, Bade began her career in the basement of the old Camden National Building in the early 1980s — where Jaret & Cohn is now — as a file clerk and years later became that branch's manager.

"At that time, she was one of very few women branch managers with lending authority," Chapman said,. "It was that lending authority that helped hundreds of people in this area."

Bade worked briefly for Manset Marine, Fisher Engineering and Sears Roebuck's catalog department before moving to South Thomaston in 1974, where she enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom to her two children, Jen and Matt.

In 1982, Bade returned to CNB's bookkeeping department, and was promoted to teller, then administrative assistant, where she remained for five years.

"That was the turning point of my career," Bade said, explaining she learned various aspects of lending from Jack Williams, starting with commercial underwriting and eventually consumer lending.

In 1990, she was promoted into the branch manager program and managed various offices; in 1998 she started a career at Knox County Federal Credit Union.

"This move introduced me to the benefits of credit unions, especially the history and philosophy as a not-for-profit organization," Bade said. "'Back to the people' is how I felt."

She was promoted to vice president in 2001, and continued to work as a loan officer when the company merged with Five County Credit Union in 2007, before moving to Midcoast Federal Credit as branch manager/vice president of retail services in 2010.

Bade also was on the Rockland-Thomaston Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for 15 years, serving as secretary, treasurer and president.

She received the chamber's Roger Strout Award for volunteerism in 2006.

Bade became a volunteer at Sussman House in early 2017, "as a result," she said, "of the incredible care" that was provided to her mother, Maxine Cramer, at the end of her life.

"As I reflect on the past 36 years of my career, I realize that being able to help people has been my focus," Bade said. "Whether it's financially or civically, this has been a very rewarding part of my life — and I will continue to 'give back' during my retirement."

Bade's retirement plans include continuing to volunteer at Sussman House and AIO Food Pantry, and to teach high school students how to manage their money, as well as traveling with family.

"Basically, having fun," she said.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.