Remembering Betty Hoegg: Politicians reflect on her passing

John Brannen
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NEW GLASGOW – Pictou County and Nova Scotia have lost a great political activist and community-minded family woman.

Betty Hoegg, 89, passed away peacefully on Wednesday in the Aberdeen Hospital.

She worked as a registered nurse and active member of the Christ Anglican Church and the Aberdeen Hospital Alumnae Association and Auxiliary. One of her well-known passions was politics.

A lifetime member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia, she rubbed elbows with fellow party members, cabinet ministers and politicians of all stripes.

Former Nova Scotia premier John Hamm and his wife Genesta had known Betty since moving to Pictou County 50 years ago.

“She was a remarkable lady,” said Hamm. “She had an interest in her community and friends and an overwhelming interest in politics.”

Pat Dunn, former MLA for Pictou Centre, remembers Betty being in the limelight at conventions and meeting. “She probably knew more people in Nova Scotia than most politicians,” said Dunn. “She was the centre of attention.”

Peter MacKay, MP for Central Nova, shares that sentiment. "I don't think Betty ever missed a convention, party meeting, barbecue or nomination and I always felt those events never officially started until Betty arrived.”

But that didn’t mean she couldn’t talk or walk the political spectrum. “One of her favourite quotes was, ‘political disagreements can still end in friendship,’” said Dunn.

MacKay had a very personal connection with Betty. "I called her my 'Tory Godmother' and am forever grateful to have known her. I will miss her gentle soul, caring ways, lovely smile and the twinkle in her eye.”

Hamm recalls her enthusiasm and friends. “She had an uncanny ability to stir up energy in those of us who would sometimes falter.”

Dunn agrees her energy was infectious. “I remember leaving the YMCA at 7 a.m. when Betty would be arriving for her morning swim,” he said. “She’d tell me ‘it’s just great to be on the move.’”

Betty swam regularly with the Early Bird swimmers some right up until a few months ago.

“I have so many good memories of Betty,” said Hamm. “She was great at cheering people up. A chat with her would usually do the trick.”

Politics didn’t come before her personal life, however, and Betty took great pride in her family. “She had a great love for her family and was very considerate,” said Dunn.

Mackay said, “She had a never-ending passion for life and politics. She knew the issues well and made her views known. She was most proud of her three daughters, Lois, Judith and Nancy.”

Hamm believes that one her great and lasting attributes will be her involvement in the political sphere. “Regardless of what party or ideology you ascribe to, you need committed and loyal people,” he said. “Betty embodied this at a time we need it most.”

“Her passing marks the end of a beautiful life of a wonderful woman," said MacKay.

Organizations: Christ Anglican Church, Aberdeen Hospital Alumnae Association, Progressive Conservative Party of Nova Scotia Pictou Centre YMCA

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Pictou County, NEW GLASGOW

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  • Susan Taylor
    January 04, 2013 - 16:01

    What an article! Betty would have loved it. In the almost 50 years I knew her, I always enjoyed being in her company. She was warm ,interesting,witty and her eyes twinkled when she laughed....which was often. Bon Voyage, Betty. You will be missed!

  • Allan & Ann MacDonald
    January 03, 2013 - 23:29

    Judith, Lois & families; We stand in support and share our prayers in grievance for Betty's passing. We celebrate her earthly life and her reunion with Bob. Although we lose our most celebrated cyclist there is now an angel to watch over when she's not doing a puzzle or between board games.

    • Janice Salter Mason
      January 04, 2013 - 09:58

      What lovely tributes to an amazing woman. Betty lives on in our hearts. She was "one in a million" for sure. How lucky we were to have had her in our lives.