Lois Ann Fairley

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Lois Ann Fairley

Lois Ann Cowan

(1931-07-06)July 6, 1931
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedJuly 19, 2007(2007-07-19) (aged 76)
Occupation(s)Nurse, Patient care advocate, Ontario labour leader, Community Service activist
Years active1955–1993
EmployerHôtel-Dieu Grace Hospital
OrganizationOntario Nurses Association
Henry William Grant Fairley
(m. 1955⁠–⁠2007)
  • Grant D. Fairley
  • Brian M. Fairley
  • John A. Fairley
Parent(s)James Alexander Cowan and Grace Fenwick Williams

Lois Ann Fairley, RN (July 6, 1931 – July 19, 2007) was a Canadian nurse, a patient care advocate, an Ontario labour leader, and a community service activist.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Lois Ann Fairley was born on July 6, 1931 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to James Alexander Cowan, and Grace Fenwick Williams. She was the granddaughter of the Canadian Presbyterian minister and historian, Hugh Cowan.

She was also the granddaughter of Canadian journalist and historian, Fred Williams; the great-granddaughter of the Victorian era war correspondent, writer, and newspaper editor Charles Williams; and the niece of Olympic athlete John Fitzpatrick.

She graduated as a registered nurse at the Grace Hospital and worked there from 1955 until her retirement in 1993.[2][3] She married Henry William Grant Fairley, a Windsor police officer, on June 25, 1955.[4][5]



Fairley worked as a registered nurse in her 38 years of nursing career at the Grace Hospital in Windsor, Ontario, Canada from 1955 to 1993. Grace Hospital was founded as a general hospital in 1920. It was closed in 1996 and merged with Hotel-Dieu Hospital.[3]

Fairley was noted by her colleagues with her ongoing support for nurses. She was said to be “the heart and soul of nursing in Windsor.”[3] She served as a head nurse for various departments in Grace hospital and acted as mentor to student nurses from St. Clair College and The University of Windsor nursing programmes, and was vocal about the workplace issues such as salary and benefits she knew nurses deserved.[6][7][8][9][10][11] She was a founding member of the Ontario Nurses Association October 13, 1973.[12] In October 1975, Bernice Hicks became the President and Fairley was elected as the Ontario Nurses Association President-elect. In November 1976, Lois Fairley became president of the Ontario Nurses Association. In January 1977, the Ontario Nurses Association and the Ontario Hospital Association agree that "province-wide bargaining is desirable." During her presidency, the pivotal declaration on the importance of nurses in patient care is released. The ONA Health Review is entitled "Let Us Take Care" and achieves widespread and positive media coverage for nurses in the profession. 120,000 copies are distributed in the first-printing. "The public and media respond with calls with more money for mental health programs, a halt to the decline in health care and an end to abuse in hospitals." Nursing gains a positive reputation in the public. Her term is ended in November 1977 and she is replaced by the next Ontario Nurses Association President Sharon Thompson. Fairley also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario. She served from 1984 to 1986 as the RNAO member-at-large for socio-economic welfare. She also championed "Project Turnabout", a support group to help nurses struggling with drug and alcohol addiction.[6][13][14]


She was also involved in a number of charitable and community fund-raising and support programs in Windsor and Essex county including hospice. A room in the Windsor-Essex County Hospice Village is named in her honour. Some of her summers were shared serving children as the camp nurse Forest Cliff Camp, Forest, Ontario where her camp nickname was "Shots."


Following her death in 2007, an award for nurses was named after her, the Lois A. Fairley Nurse of the Year Community Service Award. The award was given to nurses in Windsor and Essex area in recognition for the care and compassion to patients, and contributions to the field of nursing. The award is given by the WindsorEssex Chapter of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario.[15][16]

Lois A. Fairley Nursing Award recipients since 2008[15][17]
Year Recipient Organization Reference
2022 Nurses who came out of retirement during the pandemic N/A [18]
2021 All the Nurses of Windsor and Essex County
during the COVID-19 pandemic
2020 [21]
2019 Barb Deter Windsor Essex County Health Unit [22]
2018 Douglas Mercer Windsor Regional Hospital [23]
2017 Francoise Stanutz The Hospice of Windsor-Essex County [24]
2016 Marylynn Holzel Windsor Regional Hospital [25]
2015 Rita Di Biase Windsor Regional Hospital [26]
2014 Eva Lewis Leamington District Memorial Hospital [27]
2013 Shauna Carter Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital [28]
2012 Ursula DeBono Windsor Regional Hospital [29]
2011 Carole Gill The Hospice of Windsor-Essex County [29]
2010 Terry Johnston Windsor Regional Cancer Clinic [29]
2009 Georgina Kelly Hotel-Dieu Grace Hospital [29]
2008 Linda Moroun Windsor Regional Hospital [30]


She died at the age of 76 on July 19, 2007 at the Hospice Village in Windsor, Ontario, Canada after succumbing to cancer.[4][6] Her resting place is at the Greenlawn Memorial Gardens in Oldcastle, Ontario.


  1. ^ "ONA Past President Passes Away: Nurses Join in Mourning of Lois Fairley, RN". Canada Newswire. July 20, 2007. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  2. ^ Caton, Mary (February 9, 2020). "Grace Hospital celebrates 100 years". Windsor Star. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c Gervais, Marty (2019). Amazing Grace: Salvation Army Grace Hospital, Windsor Ontario. Windsor: Black Moss Press. pp. 129–131. ISBN 9780887536120.
  4. ^ a b "Lois Ann Fairley R.N." ObitsForLife. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  5. ^ "Hundreds of Students Receive $300K Worth of Scholarships and Bursaries". St. Clair College. February 25, 2016. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (September–October 2007). "Obituary: Lois Fairley, RN" (PDF). Registered Nurse Journal. 19 (5): 6.
  7. ^ Gord Henderson (July 15, 1974). "Angry Nurses Seeking Support". Windsor Star. pp. 51–4. Retrieved February 4, 2013. Mrs. Lois Fairley, who represents the Ontario Nurses Association in the tri- county area, said the demonstrations are part of province-wide effort "to ...
  8. ^ "Hospital Officials Disappointed Over Cutback Order". Windsor Star. January 9, 1976. p. 60. Retrieved February 4, 2013. Lois Fairley, representative of the local Ontario Nurses Association with (ON 1.000 registered nurses in more than four city hospitals, said she didn't know ...
  9. ^ "Chronic Cases Said Cause Of Hospital Bed Shortages ". Windsor Star. April 7, 1977. p. 60. Retrieved February 4, 2013. At least 40 to 50 chronic patients are occupying active beds in Windsor's four hospitals and are contributing to a shortage of active beds, Lois Fairley, President of the Ontario Nurses' Association said Wednesday.
  10. ^ Chris Zdeb (November 5, 1979). "Nurses: Overworked, understaffed". Windsor Star. Retrieved February 4, 2013. Lois Fairley, a past president of the Ontario Nursing Association and a head nurse of a medical/surgical ward at Grace Hospital, asks the question but isn't sure of the answer. It's like sitting on a time bomb, she says, and nurses are afraid patients may die because they haven't the time -- or the expertise -- to handle an overloaded roster of duties.
  11. ^ Chris Vander Doelen (November 23, 1985). "Cutbacks at clinic deplored". Windsor Star. Retrieved February 4, 2013. I think it's really a bad move, and I think it's going to affect the community," said Lois Fairley of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, which has grieved the change.
  12. ^ "Grace Hospital celebrates 100 years". Windsor Star. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  13. ^ "Our History 1973-1979". Ontario Nurses' Association. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  14. ^ "ONA Milestones - A Retrospective 1973-2012" (PDF). Ontario Nurses Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 12, 2012. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Lois A. Fairley Nurse of the Year Community Service Award". WindsorEssex Chapter of the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
  16. ^ "Nominations open for nurse award". Windsor Star. April 13, 2009. Archived from the original on April 29, 2014. Retrieved January 26, 2013.
  17. ^ "Leamington hospital nurse Eva Lewis wins award". Windsor Star. April 23, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  18. ^ "Retired nurses honoured for role during pandemic". Windsor Star. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  19. ^ Masotti, Stefanie (2021-05-11). "Lois Fairley Nursing Award recognizes 'All Nurses' in 2021". CTV News. Retrieved 2021-08-10.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  20. ^ Battagello, Dave (May 11, 2021). "Recipient of annual Lois Fairley nursing award named". Windsor Star. Retrieved August 10, 2021.
  21. ^ Charlton, Lindsay (2020-05-13). "In celebration of nurses week annual award to be presented to all Windsor-Essex nurses". CTV Windsor. Retrieved 2020-05-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ "Photo: Striking public health nurse receives Lois A. Fairley Award". Windsor Star. May 6, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  23. ^ "Award goes to male nurse for the first time". Windsor Star. May 6, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  24. ^ Cross, Brian (April 27, 2017). "Day before retirement, Hospice's Stanutz named nurse of the year". Windsor Star. Retrieved May 10, 2017.
  25. ^ Cross, Brian (April 12, 2016). "For dedication to patients and community, Marylynn Holzel named Nurse of the Year". Windsor Star. Retrieved April 20, 2016.
  26. ^ Mary Caton (April 22, 2015). "Rita DiBiase wins prestigious Nursing Award for care and compassion". Windsor Star. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  27. ^ "Leamington hospital nurse Eva Lewis wins award". Windsor Star. 2014-04-23. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  28. ^ "Hotel-Dieu nurse practitioner wins Lois Fairley nursing award". Windsor Star. 2013-04-26. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  29. ^ a b c d "RNAO Windsor-Essex Chapter". Windsor-Essex Chapter. Retrieved 2018-09-21.
  30. ^ "Veteran nurse lauded". Windsor Star. Canada. May 17, 2008. Retrieved January 26, 2013.