Lois Hole was many things to many people: Alberta’s Lieutenant Governor, prolific author, expert gardener, and simply a woman of grace and style. Since her death in 2005, her legacy has become deeply embedded in the heart and soul of Alberta. During her lifetime, Lois Hole embodied cherished values: a practical hand and a kind heart.
It’s no wonder that we named a hospital after her.
Having a women’s hospital named in her honour was the final achievement in a lifetime of achievements for Lois Hole.
Besides her focus on business and family, Lois Hole also broadened her horizons with public service. She served as a St. Albert school trustee for 30 years and on the governing council of Athabasca University for 12, becoming a passionate advocate of public schooling and public libraries. Lois earned many awards and honours over the years as a result of her community spirit. She was chancellor of the University of Alberta (1998), named a Member of the Order of Canada (1999), named a Member of the Alberta Order of Excellence (2000), and named Honourary Patricia in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (2002). She was given honourary degrees from Athabasca University (1995), Olds College (1996), the University of Alberta (2000) and the University of Lethbridge (2004). Her advocacy for public libraries led to a new branch of the Edmonton Public Library being named after her in 2004. Lois’ crowning achievement was being named Lieutenant Governor of Alberta in 2000.
During her time as Lieutenant Governor, the Hon. Lois Hole was approached by three members of the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation's Board of Directors: President and CEO Andrew Otway and Directors Dale Sheard and Grant Ericksen. Their purpose was to ask Lois if she would approve the honourific naming of a newly planned women's hospital to the the Lois Hole Hospital for Women. It was an emotional moment. Lois was thrilled, and said she would be honoured to have her name forever attached to the specific and specialized health needs of women.
Lois made her final public appearance on November 16, 2004 at a very special event: she was guest of honour at an official ceremony announcing the Lois Hole Hospital for Women. "Having this new expansion named after me is a tremendous honour and a great thrill," said Lois. "Because to me, the Royal Alex has long represented the power of hope." During her final address, she gave a stirring speech that guided the Foundation’s fundraising campaign over the next five years.
On January 6, 2005, Lois Hole passed away after a brave fight with abdominal cancer. Her death was not unexpected, but it came as a shock to a province that knew and loved her. Condolences came from all across Canada, paying tribute to a woman of grace, warmth, passion and honesty.
Lois Hole's legacy of caring and kindness lives on in the Lois Hole Hospital for Women, a place where women of all ages and in all stages of life will receive the best care possible.