Hole, Lois Elsa

 Lois Elsa Hole, businesswoman, author, education advocate and community supporter, lieutenant-governor of Alberta (b at Buchanan, Sask 1933; d at Edmonton, Alta 6 Jan 2005). Lois Hole moved to Edmonton in her early teens and completed her secondary education at Strathcona Composite High School. In 1952, she and her husband Ted Hole bought a mixed farm in St Albert which, by 1960, they had diversified into a vegetable and mixed garden business. In 1979 the farm was incorporated as Hole's Greenhouses & Gardens Ltd. It has since grown into one of the largest retail greenhouse operations in western Canada.

Hole served as a school trustee for the St Albert School District #6 from 1981-98. She previously served, for 14 years, as a trustee and chair for the Sturgeon School Division and, for 11 years, as a member of the Athabasca University Governing Council. She was a director of the Farm Credit Corporation and an honorary chair for the 27th Canadian Congress on Criminal Justice and for the Children's Millennium Fund. She also served as a board member of the Canadian Heritage Garden Foundation, the Child & Adolescent Services Association and the Quality of Life Commission.

In 1983 Hole was awarded an honorary doctorate from Athabasca University and in 1997 she received a Distinguished Citizen Honorary Diploma in Business from Grant MacEwan Community College. In 1995 she was named as both Edmonton Business and Professional Woman of the Year and as St Albert's Citizen of the Year. In 1999 she was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2004 Edmonton's Royal Alexandra Hospital named a new wing of their hospital the Lois Hole Women's Hospital in her honour. She received additional honorary doctorate degrees at the University of Alberta in 2000 and the University of Lethbridge in 2004.

As chancellor of the University of Alberta from 1998-2000, Hole served as the symbolic head of the university, chairing all Senate meetings, serving as a member of the board of governors, representing the university at all ceremonial occasions and presiding over convocation.

Hole was the author of six gardening books (all Canadian bestsellers) and a collection of life stories, photographs and growing information entitled "I'll Never Marry a Farmer." She had been a regular contributor to the Globe and Mail, Edmonton Journal and the Edmonton Sun, and was the writer of the Canadian portion of the 1999 Old Farmer's Almanac Gardening Companion. She had appeared regularly on the "Grapevine" segment of CBC-TV's Canadian Gardener.

She was installed as lieutenant-governor on 10 Feb 2000, the second woman in Alberta's history to serve in this office. A staunch supporter of libraries, education, the arts, and health care, Hole was recognized for her philanthropy and advocacy through the establishment of The Lois Hole Library Legacy Program in 2002, the Alberta School Boards Association "Lois Hole Lecture Series" in 2003, the Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Program 2004, and a new library in Edmonton.

In 2004 Albertans requested that their much-loved lieutenant-governor remain in office although her term was due to end. Prime Minister Paul MARTIN extended it for one year so that she could preside over Alberta's centenary ceremonies in 2005; sadly, she succumbed to cancer early that year.