Sola recalled as a Stevens Hospital founder

EDMONDS – A memorial service is scheduled Monday for Dr. Olav Sola, an Edmonds surgeon who was a driving force behind the founding of Stevens Hospital, which opened in 1964.

Sola, who was 87, died Tuesday at the hospital, where he had been receiving hospice care.

“If it weren’t for him, there would be no Stevens Hospital,” longtime board member Fred Langer said Wednesday. “He was one of the founding fathers. His productive involvement with the hospital spanned his entire career.

“To say he’ll be missed is an understatement,” Langer said.

Sola was one of three people who were key to the hospital’s founding. He personally guaranteed the loan to construct the building, said Kim Pierce, Sola’s son-in law.

Michael Carter, the hospital’s chief executive, said he had come to know Sola over the past 10 months. Both Sola and his wife, Anne Sola, regularly attended the hospital’s board meetings.

They sometimes met with Carter after those meetings to talk about the hospital, he said.

“I was impressed with how engaged he was in our affairs,” Carter said. “This was an 87-year-old man who had some health issues, several strokes. He was struggling to get through some of the basic things you do in a day and still fully engaged in the hospital.”

Carter said he stopped by Sola’s hospital room Monday to say goodbye.

“I told him he was a big loss for us and we were not going to be quite the same with him not there,” Carter said.

Notice of Monday’s memorial service, which will be held at 1 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood, will be sent to the hospital’s 1,200 employees, said spokeswoman Beth Engel.

Sola graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1951. He was the hospital’s chief of staff in 1973 and 1974.

Sola worked as a surgeon in the Edmonds area and had a life-long interest in research, Pierce said.

One of his last papers, on the heart, was posted online last summer, Pierce said.

“His whole life was medicine,” Pierce said. “Even after he couldn’t practice surgery anymore, he was doing research,” some of which was for the Hope Heart Institute in Seattle. “He was a pretty incredible man.”

Sola is survived by his wife, Anne; daughter Norma Sola-Pierce of Edmonds; and sons Doug Sola of Santa Barbara, Calif., Rick Sola of Shoreline and Will Sola of Anchorage, Alaska.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Stevens Foundation or the Hope Heart Institute.

Reporter Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or

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