Lois Hole, beloved and respected throughout the province and country, dedicated her life to issues that affected many Albertans. She was devoted to public education and health care, spreading literacy and fostering reading habits, the fine arts, and issues of social justice including women’s rights, racism and economic inequalities. She was a believer in diversity, and strongly promoted tolerance and respect for people of different ideologies.
As a devoted supporter of education, Mrs. Hole served as a trustee for the Sturgeon School Division and the St. Albert School District. She also served on the Athabasca University Governing Council and as Chancellor at the University of Alberta.
She was involved with numerous charitable organizations and groups, including the Quality of Life Commission, the Child & Adolescent Services Association, the Canadian Heritage Garden Foundation, the Children’s Millennium Fund, and the Heritage Community Foundation.
In 1999, Mrs. Hole was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of her commitment and contribution to society, and was named Chancellor of the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2000. That same year, Mrs. Hole was appointed as the 15th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, an appointment that further enabled her to continue her community-minded work.
She held honourary degrees from the University of Alberta and Lethbridge, Athabasca University and Olds College. In 2002, she began the Lois Hole Library Legacy program, which collects library donations in order to promote and foster literacy throughout the province. The Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Program, which was created to celebrate excellence in and underline the importance of the arts in Alberta, was also established under her guidance.
Lois E. Hole died on 6 January 2005. She believed that no action was too small when it came to helping someone, and shared her time and talent tirelessly and selflessly. She radiated a warm and embracing spirit and gained the respect and affection of Albertans province-wide.
THE SEEDS OF CHARITY - LOIS HOLE
The Heritage Community Foundation, with the kind permission of Lesley MacDonald and Global Television Edmonton, is proud to present this excerpt from the Global Woman of Vision series.
Lois Hole was the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, but she will be forever honoured not so much for her station as for her generosity of spirit. In this clip, she describes her early years farming with her husband and family. After several aborted attempts at raising various livestock, it was the business of vegetable gardening that led to greater success.
Even as Ms. Hole found her niche in horticulture, she never forgot to give back to the community. From her early experiences, the seeds of charity had been sown.
In order to honour her legacy, her family and friends, along with the Government of Alberta, established the Lois Hole Care & Nurture Legacy Fund. The Fund will continue in supporting the organizations and institutions that she so strongly believed in.
The Lois Hole Hospital for Women and an Edmonton library have both been named in her honour.
Recently, the University of Alberta Alumni Association announced that it has named its student spirit award in memory of her Honour. The Dr. Lois E. Hole Student Spirit Award, valued at over $7,500, will be given to students who work hard to make their world a better place, just as Ms. Hole did. The Lois Hole Hospital for Women and an Edmonton library have also been named in her honour.
As quoted by Adriana Davies, Executive Director of The Heritage Community Foundation, where Mrs. Hole served as Chief Honourary Patron: “She gave support and legitimacy to the groups that needed it most; to the people who often went unheard in our culture and to the charitable groups that needed all of the help and publicity they could get. She hoped that her actions would inspire her fellow citizens to carry on with this work once she was no longer able to do so herself.”
"In Alberta, we designate historic sites, buildings and landscapes. In Japan, they also designate people as ‘heritage treasures.’ The Honourable Lois Hole is our heritage treasure. Her influence will continue to guide us all and create a living legacy.”
Lois E. Hole left behind an extraordinary legacy. As Alberta’s “Queen of Hugs”, she touched the hearts of thousands of people, and inspired many Albertans through her volunteer efforts and good works.
This special excerpt is from a tribute to Mrs. Hole written by Ms. Theresa Lightfoot who herself has made our list of Outstanding Alberta Volunteers.