Louise with her son, Joe

Louise with Dr. Josh Shadd, medical director

Louise’s story was highlighted in Hospice’s 2014 Newsletter, just after the residence opened.  Today, the story continues … with an exciting twist.


Louise (Alojzija) Zadel was the first person welcomed into our new Hospice home, making St. Joseph’s Hospice her home for four months. Joe Zadel was by his mother’s side when she passed away in her 97th year. Louise’s approach to life was hard work, honesty, and generosity.


A widow for 31 years, Louise was an independent and strong woman. She continued to live in the home that she and her husband, Frank, raised their children in since arriving in Canada.


When Joe and his wife, Veronica, toured St. Joseph’s Hospice, they knew right away; this would be the perfect place for Louise to receive the care she needed. “We were so happy, we cried tears of joy,” Joe shared “knowing she would be provided quality care, and in a beautiful home-like setting with peaceful views of nature out the windows.” Louise felt right at home at Hospice, being so close to nature, and having friends and family visiting her daily.


“The compassionate and quality care was beyond our expectations and was second to none.” said Joe. 


During her stay six years ago, Louise celebrated her 96th birthday. On the same day, her son, Joe, celebrated his 69th. On that day, hospice staff decorated her suite for the special celebration, and everyone shared a birthday cake. 


Another memorable experience at Hospice for the Zadel family was the farewell ceremony for Louise held on the day of her passing. Hospice staff presented the Zadel family with a young spruce tree with its roots gently wrapped in burlap. The family planted the legacy tree in memory of Louise. What the Zadel family will treasure most is that, 


“Louise truly lived her life to the fullest while at Hospice,” and “we had the time to share many happy memories together.”


Now, forward six years … Joe comes back to Hospice with a surprise gift.


Louise’s son, Joe, has been a longstanding member of the Slovenian Cultural and Social Club. In December 2019, the Club dissolved after 60 years of service. The Club established by the local Slovenian community served as a meeting place for all Slovenians of the London area. Language assistance and other supports were made available to new immigrants. They had festivals and festivities, had a folk-dance group, a Slovenian library, a men’s choral group, and lawn bowling. They planned sports events, dances, picnics, national and religious celebrations. Although vibrant once, the leaders of the Club were getting older, and the young people seemed to have no interest in carrying on the legacy. They were forced to fold. They sold their property and Club hall and supported their members with the proceeds.


The members of the Club wanted to also make a difference in the community. Joe suggested some of the proceeds be donated to St. Joseph’s Hospice. Approved by the Board almost unanimously, they agreed a gift should be made. Board members came to Hospice with a $50,000 surprise gift. In turn, Hospice has named a room in its Hospice Home honouring this donation. The Slovenian Cultural and Social Club will have a permanent name in our halls as long as Hospice remains in its current site.


We are so grateful to Joe and his memory of his family’s time at Hospice and for the Board of Directors of the Slovenian Cultural and Social Club for their trust and support of St. Joseph’s Hospice.