For the 1974-75 academic year, LePage was in Orono, living in a dormitory and studying intensively toward his Master's in Business Administration, which he completed in a single year. "He was very, very hardworking, easy to get along with, honest and helpful and had this burning desire to complete his degree and improve his life," says Michael Towey, who lived across the hall at Estabrooke Hall, and remains under the impression that LePage was a bachelor at the time. "Let me tell you, he was very charismatic and good looking and you definitely wanted to be with him at Pat's Pizza" where they socialized. "He had a maturity about him and was a guy who could really fill a room."
LePage has claimed that, apart from his year in Orono, he worked at Arthurette until his divorce in 1979. In fact, he returned to the US in 1977 to take up a position as director of finance for the Maine State Housing Authority in Augusta, a position he held into 1979, according to the information he later supplied Who's Who in American Finance and Industry. His office did not respond to a request for further clarification and it is not clear why he would wish to conceal this portion of his resume. It's possible that LePage did not wish to publicize that he was once one of the "government bureaucrats" his administration often derides. The position served as an important stepping stone, however. At some point in 1979 he was hired by the Scott Paper Company to serve as a regional controller based in Winslow, just across the river from Waterville. He made $25,000 a year, about twice the median household income in Kennebec County at the time. The street kid from Lewiston, now 30, had joined the comfortable middle class.
By this time, his marriage was coming to an end. New Brunswick court records show LePage and Crabbe officially separated in the middle of June 1979, at which point Crabbe returned to the Florenceville area with their two toddlers. Crabbe filed for divorce in March 1980 and did not fault LePage. The district court in Woodstock, New Brunswick, issued them a divorce on December 1, 1980, granting uncontested custody of the children to Crabbe and ordering LePage to pay $225 a month in child support. LePage not only complied fully, Crabbe says, he paid for his daughters' college tuition. She said she had heard about the blogospheric allegations against her ex-husband and that her daughters had found them hurtful. "Those were out-and-out utter lies," she said, adding she had no animosity toward LePage. "It's all water under the bridge," she said, adding that LePage's current wife, Ann, is "a wonderful, beautiful person."
LePage met Ann DeRosby shortly after starting work at the Winslow mill, where she had an office job and served as a labor union representative for office workers. She has said their courtship raised some eyebrows in her union family, which hailed from Aroostook County. Indeed, while they were dating, most of the mill's 875 workers went on strike for twelve weeks over Scott Paper's efforts to loosen union contract rules. (Gerald Michaud, a labor union representative at the time, says LePage had no profile during the strike.) Their union/management relationship blossomed all the same, and they would marry in September 1984. (They have two children: Paul, 22, and Lauren, 23, whom LePage has made assistant to his chief of staff.)