If You Thought 2017 Was a Big Year…
…then hold on to your britches, because we’re about to hop into our time machine and take a trip back to 1917!
First up, what were the Lougheeds doing in 1917? For the family, the years of the Great War were marked by triumph and tragedy. Sir Lougheed was splitting his efforts between his personal real estate and law operations in Calgary, and a newly created wartime cabinet position in Ottawa. Despite possessing a background in law, not medicine, and possessing no military experience, Senator Lougheed was appointed Chair of Military Hospitals in 1915. The Senator’s style was described by his colleagues as effective, if authoritarian. The previous year (1916), Sir James Lougheed had been knighted for his work in this new role. As the war neared its end, more than 30,000 widows and children of those lost in the war, as well as 70,000 disabled veterans, were under Lougheed’s jurisdiction, making 1917 a banner year in Sir James Lougheed’s career.
1917 also brought hardship to the Lougheed family. Clarence (the Lougheed’s first “son & heir”) and Douglas (their fourth son) were at war, having enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Curiously, the family lost neither of the two young men; instead, they lost their youngest daughter Marjorie, at home. Described as infirm since birth, Marjorie contracted influenza at the age of twelve, and died in Victoria on February 18, 1917, where she and Lady Isabella had travelled in hope of aiding her recovery. At the time, it was believed that a change in climate was the best treatment for respiratory illness.