Dr. Olav and Anne Sola, in their younger and later years. In the early 1960s, they were the driving force behind the founding of Stevens Hospital, now Swedish Edmonds. Dr. Sola died in 2007 and Anne Sola died this year at 95. (Family photos)

Dr. Olav and Anne Sola, in their younger and later years. In the early 1960s, they were the driving force behind the founding of Stevens Hospital, now Swedish Edmonds. Dr. Sola died in 2007 and Anne Sola died this year at 95. (Family photos)

‘Mrs. Stevens Hospital’ helped bring health care to Edmonds

What’s now Swedish Edmonds began with Dr. Olav Sola and others seeing need in south Snohomish County.

In October 1962, readers of the Lynnwood Enterprise weekly newspaper saw an ad urging action: “You Need a Hospital in South Snohomish County,” it said. “Vote Yes!”

Dr. Olav Sola, who died in 2007, was a driving force behind the founding of Stevens Hospital in Edmonds, which opened in 1964. Today it’s Swedish Edmonds.

Back when Anne Sola was helping her surgeon husband in his push for a major medical facility in south county, there was no hospital between Everett and north Seattle.

“They were Mr. and Mrs. Stevens Hospital for a very, very long time,” said Fred Langer, an attorney who serves on the Verdant Health Commission. “His wife was incredibly supportive. She was the light in his shadows.”

Anne Elizabeth Hauser Sola died Jan. 16 at age 95. A service in her memory is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 30 at the columbarium at Edmonds Memorial Cemetery.

Born to Kenneth and Mable Hauser on April 10, 1923, she was the youngest of three children. Raised in Portland, Oregon, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Washington. There, she met her future husband. A UW graduate as well, he was born in Norway and raised in north Everett. Olav “Ole” Sola was a medic in the U.S. Army before entering medical school at the UW in 1947.

Married 57 years, they settled in Edmonds in 1959 and raised four children, Doug, Rick, Norma and Will. A month before her mother’s death, Norma Anne Sola-Pierce died last December, after battling cancer.

Kim Pierce, Norma’s widower, said his in-laws were major supporters of their community.

He recalled being involved with Dr. Sola in the Lynnwood Rotary, for more than 20 years the sponsor of the Washington International Air Fair at Paine Field. “He was the doctor at the airfield,” said Pierce, who lives in Edmonds.

Anne and Ole Sola often hosted Russian fliers who came for the air show, he said.

In 2007, Pierce told The Herald that Dr. Sola had personally guaranteed the loan to build Stevens Hospital. Among other supporters were Olav’s brother, Dr. Anders Sola, Edmonds attorney Charles Shepherd, Kenneth Caplinger and Del Barton.

Olav Sola practiced general surgery until retirement in 1987, and had been Stevens Hospital’s chief of staff.

According to a 1967 article in the Lynnwood Enterprise, which is no longer published, Stevens Hospital was purchased for $1.7 million from its founding Stevens Memorial Research Foundation. Voters, who had approved forming Public Hospital District No. 2 of Snohomish County, in 1966 passed a $2 million bond issue to buy and expand Stevens.

The district’s board no longer oversees hospital operations, but manages the Verdant Health Commission.

“Dr. Sola was one of the early people who came here and recognized the community needed its own hospital,” said Langer. Sola, he said, was among several doctors who provided the land.

The couple’s eldest son, 68-year-old Doug Sola, said his parents were among the original developers of the Wapato Point Resort on Lake Chelan.

The resort, which Ole Sola sometimes called “Waikiki East,” opened in 1976 on tribal leasehold property. Dr. Sola was also a co-founder of the now-closed Security Bank in south Snohomish County, his eldest son said.

Doug Sola, who lives in Arizona, said his mother managed her husband’s medical office for decades, and was an early president of the Stevens Hospital Auxiliary.

Anne Sola lived in the Edmonds home she and her husband had shared, and died in the hospital they had founded.

“She enjoyed golfing and swimming and they both introduced us to competition at Klahaya pool,” he said.

“She came from a wealthy Portland family,” Doug Sola said of his mother. Her father had been an Army colonel whose career involved building railroads, he said.

“Everybody loved her,” said Pierce, Anne Sola’s son-in-law. “In the last few years of her life, she walked the Edmonds waterfront. It was her social activity.”

Pierce said his mother-in-law didn’t quit driving until she was 92. She’d drive to the Dale Turner Family YMCA in Shoreline for Zumba classes, he said.

A vintage car aficionado, Pierce once had a 1932 Packard. “She said she’d love to ride in the rumble seat,” he recalled. “We helped her into it, and she rode around Edmonds in the rumble seat. She was very adventuresome.”

Langer sees Anne and Olav Sola as “truly kind of forgotten heroes.”

“It’s a story that should be told,” he said. “Whenever we ask ourselves why they call that cadre the greatest generation, here is why.”

Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@heraldnet.com.

Service Aug. 30

A memorial service for Anne Sola is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Aug. 30 at the columbarium at Edmonds Memorial Cemetery, 820 15th St. SW, Edmonds.

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