A tribute to Lois Hole

March 30, 2005
Written by Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza
30I had the good fortune of first meeting Lois Hole, whom I always called “Lois” at her insistence, even when she became Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, in May 1979 when I was a rookie greenhouse specialist.

This was at the time when Hole’s Greenhouses in St. Albert, Alberta, was just beginning to become a very successful business. There were two cold frames in which bedding plants and vegetable transplants were grown. I will never forget the smiling faces of Ted and Lois Hole greeting me at their home, which was located near the greenhouse. Besides showing me the greenhouses, I was not allowed to go without eating something and they wanted to learn more about my family.

This was the start of a quarter-of-a-century relationship that grew over a period of time. My visits to their greenhouses were always combined with a good lunch and a supply of fresh vegetables. When Ted Hole became the president of Alberta Greenhouse Growers Association, Lois Hole always shared her vision of the greenhouse industry and how she was so much interested in smaller growers in rural communities.

When she published her books on gardening, I complimented her on writing them and how good they were. She responded by saying: “Dr. Mirza, I always look for feedback from the people who come to the greenhouse. I like to use a common sense approach, which an average gardener can understand, and always avoid them being too technical.”

I can recall the time when a group of growers from the Edmonton area would attend our field days at the old Alberta Tree Nursery; Lois and Ted were always there and she would always bring a couple of dishes. Mingling with growers and hugging was a habit right from the beginning. It was so genuine that everybody developed a loving relationship with her!

I remember that many times I would go and visit her and would share with her as to what was going on with the higher energy costs for greenhouse growers, and her response used
to be: “Dr. Mirza, growers are very resilient and they will manage it.”

Her contributions to the greenhouse industry are numerous. Her greenhouse was always open to any visitor and she would gladly share her knowledge with a good attitude so that people could succeed. The books she has published will stay as industry standards for a long time to come. Her sons, Bill and Jim, have inherited her qualities of friendliness and openness. I will never forget a bus tour in November 2003, and here it was Mrs. Hole greeting every body as they were coming out of the bus. She wanted to personally thank everybody for coming and visiting her greenhouse!

Many people have asked me what I will remember about her and my spontaneous reply was that I will never forget her genuineness in relationships, her willingness to share all the knowledge she had, and her many life-long friendships.

May her soul rest in peace.

Dr. Mohyuddin Mirza is a greenhouse industry specialist with Alberta Agriculture, Food and Rural Development.
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