Lola Haenen

Lola left us in her 96th year of life at 9:09 pm on Monday night, May 28th, 2018 during the Flower Full Moon. It was a peaceful death surrounded by her family and her youngest, great-granddaughter dancing nearby.

The family is very appreciative of the wonderful staff at Braehaven and Greenwoods who have cared so well for Lola these past years, her doctors and especially the amazing nurses and caregivers at Greenwoods who attended so lovingly to her needs during her last days.

Helen Dolores Noel Gibb was born on July 16th, 1922 in Tuxpan, Mexico and moved with her older brother James, sister Patricia and parents to Nevis, West Indies. There another sister, Mary joined the family. Lola had an adventurous childhood in the West Indies – she loved its people and music, gorgeous flowers, fruit and wonderful places to swim. Lola became one of the first flight attendants in the West Indies.

She joined the first contingent of women to volunteer for the war effort, becoming a WREN and working to deliver secret messages to Churchill during WWII. After the war, Lola moved to Indonesia with her Dutch husband and infant son Michael. Her second son, Gerrit (Sky) was born in Jakarta. After leaving Indonesia the family returned to Europe briefly then moved to Canada to settle in Quebec where her daughters Diana and Virginia were born.

It is in Quebec that Lola became a well-known potter, teaching and exhibiting her unique salt-fired sculpture and tableware in Montreal, Ottawa and Vermont. After raising her four children she moved to Galiano Island in 1979 where she lived in her small cottage surrounded by a gorgeous garden.

Lola was greatly loved by the Galiano community – by the families for whom she babysat, the young children who came to her pottery classes and her artist, choir and book club friends. She taught yoga classes as well – until the age of 83!

When she needed support, Lola moved to Salt Spring and made new friends at Braehaven and Greenwoods. She joined in on all the activities offered, was occasionally feisty but maintained her sense of humour and enjoyed the friendship of her caregivers.

Lola’s long life was made special by the many people she befriended along the way. She loved traveling, experiencing other cultures and meeting new people. She will be greatly missed but her legacy lives on in her sons and daughters, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

There will be a celebration of Lola’s life on Sunday, October 7, 2018 at Galiano’s South Community Hall. If desired, donations my be made to Greenwoods in support of their wonderful eldercare work.

Gulf Islands Driftwood


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