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Monday, March 31, 2003

Ted Hole, 1926-2003

Mr. Hole died last Wednesday, and today I was one of the thousands who went to the Winspear Centre to pay their respects. It was a beautiful memorial, held in a beautiful building, with beautiful music.

I really only knew Mr. Hole as Lois' husband, but despite our casual acquaintance I did feel a connection with Ted. He made a point of telling me what a great job I was doing, and I admired his quiet dignity and wry sense of humour. He was a philanthropist, a gentleman, a man who appreciated the fine arts, a man who never hesitated to give anyone a helping hand. Family friend Donna Powell, Ted's sons Bill and Jim, his granddaughter Kate, and U of A President Rod Fraser all spoke eloquently of Mr. Hole. It was probably Bill who moved me most, if only because he was so obviously distraught; the Holes generally keep a tight reign on their emotions in public, and it was a little shocking, if understandable, to see Bill cry.

At the reception, I ran into Carol Mellors, who had been playing timpani with the Edmonton Schoolboys Alumni Band at the beginning of the program. Carol used to serve as a director of the Western Board of Music, the outfit I used to work for. As we were chatting, Lois passed by, and she touched my shoulder; I almost didn't see her, and all I had time to say was "Hello, Your Honour" before she and her escort were off. Then, just a few seconds later, Bill passed us, and he reached out and gave my shoulder a firm squeeze, saying, "Thanks, Earl." And then, almost as if they'd timed it, Jim came by and squeezed my shoulder as well, giving me just a nod.

I'm not a touchy-feely kind of person, but for some reason, those three brief moments of human contact really meant a lot to me. If anything I did (and I really did very little for this sad event) made any of this any easier for them, I'm very glad, and very grateful.

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