Calgary

Jeanne Lougheed, supporter of the arts and wife of former Alberta premier, dead at 92

Jeanne Lougheed (née Rogers), an advocate for the arts and wife of former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed, has died.

Flags at the Legislative Assembly and McDougall Centre will fly at half mast this week

Progressive Conservative Party leader Peter Lougheed, accompanied by wife Jeanne Lougheed, gives a wave to hundreds of party workers and supporters at his victory party at the Edmonton Inn on Thursday, March 15, 1979. (The Canadian Press)

Jeanne Lougheed (née Rogers), an advocate for the arts and wife of former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed, has died.

Premier Jason Kenney said he was saddened by the death of a great Albertan, in a statement on Monday.

"Jeanne was best known to Albertans as the wife of one of Canada's most highly regarded Premiers, the late Peter Lougheed. By all accounts, Jeanne was both his best friend and closest advisor," Kenney said. 

"Jeanne continued to make an impact on the lives of Albertans long after Peter left public office. Her contributions were recognized with fellowships and awards, including the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal."

Lougheed was born in 1928 in the village of Forestburg, Alberta.

She was studying fine arts at the University of Alberta when she met Peter at the "tuck shop" — the since-closed school cafeteria. The pair married in 1952 in Edmonton.

"It was through mom's eyes, who was trained in the fine arts, that he learned to appreciate the world of music, ballet, opera and theatre," reads Peter's obituary, from 2012. 

"To gain her attention, 'Peter the jock' started going to concerts and performances. Jeanne taught Peter to love arts and culture — though she couldn't quite teach him to sing in key — and Peter taught Jeanne to appreciate sports, although she never attempted the spiral toss."

Jeanne Lougheed, left, arrives at the state memorial service for her husband and former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed in Calgary on Sept. 21, 2012. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

The couple moved to Boston, where Peter completed his MBA at Harvard with Jeanne's support, before settling in Calgary. 

Kenney said Lougheed was instrumental in her husband's support for the arts. She's memorialized with the Jeanne and Peter Lougheed Performing Arts Centre in Camrose, and the Peter and Jeanne Lougheed Building at the Banff Centre.

She's also responsible for the idea behind the WIlliam Watson Lodge Society, an accessible facility which allows Albertans with disabilities to enjoy the mountains without barriers and at an affordable price.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described Lougheed's legacy and impact on Albertans and Canadians as immense.

"Jeanne Lougheed was a fierce champion of the arts and a tireless advocate for people living with disabilities," he wrote on Twitter. "Sophie and I send our deepest condolences to her loved ones and all those mourning this tremendous loss."

Lougheed leaves behind her children, Stephen, Andrea, Pamela and Joe, and grandchildren. 

"After 92 remarkable years, our dear mother has passed away. We will miss you, Mom," Joe Lougheed wrote on Twitter. 

Kirstin Evenden, executive director of the Lougheed House, said she recalled her visits to the historic site fondly.

"We so appreciate all that she did for the arts in Alberta over many years," she wrote on Twitter. 

"Our thoughts are with all those who loved Jeanne. Our province mourns with them, and thanks them for sharing their mother with all of Alberta," Kenney said. 

Flags at the Legislative Assembly and McDougall Centre will fly at half mast this week in remembrance, Kenney said. 

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