!-- Google Tag Manager -->

The Jeannette Castellano Lifetime Achievement Award – June Wideman

Learn More

The Jeannette Castellano Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient – June Wideman

November 11, 2022

June Wideman’s Story

June’s administrative professional career began over 60 years ago as a typist in the secretarial pool for the Shell Oil Company in Midland, Texas.

She belongs to an early generation of clericals and secretaries who were required to sign their work. It was in the secretarial pool that June learned the importance of producing work that was she was proud to claim and worthy of her name. It is a philosophy that has guided her entire career.

Whether serving coffee or running a meeting or typing a memo, her work mantra is pointed and powerful: “I am not defined by the importance of the job. But by the way, I perform the job.”

June has never stopped redefining herself or outperforming.


She married and supported her husband’s various endeavors and businesses. He was the mayor of Sweetwater and she its First Lady.

He was an author and she was his editor. He was an enthusiastic herpetologist who wrote, “The Rattlesnake Tales”. At one time, 11 non-poisonous snakes slithered around the house. So, she was also a snake-charmer.  All this… AND… while raising two children, she worked part-time as an executive secretary in the Sweetwater Independent School District.

Once the nest emptied in the 70’s, she returned to work full-time in Finance and relocated to Abilene.

Over the course of several decades, at an institution that today is known as First Financial Bank, June served as an Executive Secretary to several Presidents as well as Chairman of the Board.

In 1992 in recognition of her overall responsibilities and excellent performance, she was elected as Administrative Officer of the Bank, a position she held for the rest of her career.

As the banking industry changed, June adapted. She acquired new skills and enhanced her knowledge of cyber fraud and regulations related to Information Security and the Patriot Act.

Almost 50 years into her career, she went back to college to earn a degree. Taking night classes, two courses per semester for four years, June graduated in 1996 from Abilene Christian University.

Is the degree in banking? No. It’s in English. As June says, “I’m a word person.”

She put her communications expertise to use by teaching writing and communications courses at a local community college.

Her superlative communications skills further elevated her stature and expanded her role within the company. June was an instructor at the Bank’s Center for Financial Training and many of her trainees advanced to hold leadership positions at First Financial.

Known throughout the bank for her customer service, she appears in a training video that is still shown today.

And, in 36 years at First Financial, she never missed a day of work.

June retired the first time in 2002.  And the bank declared that March 31st would be “June Wideman Day”. It was leisure short-lived.

Weeks later, the Bank’s Vice Chairman personally asked her to return to become his Executive Assistant. She agreed but only to a four-day workweek on a temporary basis.

Only June would work as a temp for seven years.

When the Vice Chairman retired, Scott Dueser, First Financial’s Chairman, President and CEO, asked her to stay and work for him, full-time. She did, purely out of love for the organization and a deep respect for him and his leadership

June finally retired in January 2019 with 36 years of service and at the age of 81. And this time, the City of Abilene declared their June Wideman Day on January 3rd of 2019. But has she really retired? Even the Abilene News Reporter wanted to know – and wrote an article about it!

No. She is assisting with a special project about the Bank’s 133-year history. There is no better historian. June has meticulously maintained a history of the Bank – it’s mergers and acquisitions and a log of the directors for each region, entity, and holding company – throughout her career.

When asked why she worked so long and “retired not once but twice”, she replied, “Working in such a busy and successful environment has kept my mind young and my attitude upbeat. And, while every day may not be the best day of your life, it is a day of your life, so make the most of it.”

Words to live by.

Throughout her impressive career, June has approached every position with the mindset to be the BEST – the best secretary, the BEST executive assistant, the BEST personal assistant, the BEST administrative professional and the BEST employee, colleague, and mentor.

And last but not least – the best Roger Federer Fan that ever lived.

Do you know a Lifetime Achievement Award Candidate?

Tell us all about them!