Bob Stollery was born in Edmonton in 1924, the second youngest of seven children. His parents, Kate and Willie Stollery, were pioneers who moved to Edmonton from England in 1906.
Bob was raised during the depression years and attended Queen Alexandra Elementary, Garneau Junior High and Strathcona High Schools. In 1942, he joined the Royal Canadian Navy and served on ships patrolling the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. During the war, Bob met his future bride, Shirley Hopper, in Toronto. They were married in Edmonton in 1947.
After discharge from the navy in 1945, Bob completed a degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Alberta and then joined Poole Construction as an engineer in training. In 1970, he became president and in 1978, he led the purchase of the company, which then became known as PCL Construction. As president, chairman, and CEO, he began bringing employees into ownership of the company. Today, this major international builder is 100% employee owned.
Bob served as a director of a number of other business organizations, including The Toronto-Dominion Bank, Federal Industries, Northern Transportation Co., Revelstoke Companies, Trans-Canada Pipe Lines, Melcor Developments, Economic Council of Canada, the Edmonton and Canadian Construction Associations.
Bob was a modest man who believed in the importance of family, integrity, hard work, and contributing to the community. He devoted part of each day to helping others. He was the founder of the Stollery Charitable Foundation, a co-founder and the first president of the Edmonton Community Foundation, and a catalyst for the founding of the Stollery Children's Hospital.
Bob received many awards recognizing his accomplishments in business and charitable work. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 2001 and was named one of the 100 Edmontonians of the Century in 2004. He was awarded Honorary Doctor of Laws Degrees from the University of Alberta (1985), Concordia University (Montreal 1986), and Athabasca University (2003); an Honorary Doctor of Letters from St. Stephen's College (1999); and an Honorary Diploma in Business from Grant MacEwan College (1994). He was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (1989). Other honours received include the Canadian Business Leader Award (1993), a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International (2000), and induction into the Alberta Business Hall of Fame by Junior Achievement (1989).
An outstanding community leader and a highly respected builder of organizations and structures, Bob had a sincere desire to make a difference. He passed away in Edmonton in 2007.
Shirley was born in Montreal in 1923 and was raised in Toronto. At the age of 17, she began working for the Toronto Star to help support her family. She met Bob Stollery in Toronto in 1943 when he was in training for the Royal Canadian Navy. They were married in Edmonton in 1947, and she was the breadwinner for the family while Bob attended university after the war.
A steadfast support for Bob as he established his career, Shirley raised their three children while Bob travelled extensively for work. Shirley sought opportunities to become involved in her community while she raised her children. She taught Sunday school and became involved in the local home and school association. When the children grew older Shirley volunteered at local extended care hospitals organizing social activities for residents.
After Bob's career was established and their children had grown, Bob and Shirley were able share their love for culture by travelling the world. Together they experienced the diversity of culture, language, and cuisine in over 80 countries.
Although health issues restricted her mobility in the final decades of her life, Shirley remained a pillar of the extended family unit. She enjoyed observing her four grandchildren grow and was delighted to watch her first three great-grandchildren play in her home.
Shirley and Bob worked together throughout their marriage of 60 years to enrich the community in which they lived. They were active partners in many charitable ventures, including the Stollery Children's Hospital, the Edmonton Community Foundation and the Stollery Charitable Foundation. Shirley became the president of the Stollery Charitable Foundation after Bob died in 2007 and further shaped the Foundation's role as a champion for the most vulnerable. She compassionately supported the people and causes close to her heart.
Shirley was the quintessential spouse, mother, and friend. A wonderful woman with a beautiful spirit, she showed warmth, care and compassion to all she met. She passed away in Edmonton in 2011.
Through community service and through funding provided through the Stollery Charitable Foundation, the Stollery family continues Bob and Shirley's commitment to sharing and contributing to the community.