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UPDATE: P.E.I.'s Leone Bagnall remembered as political pioneer, community person

Leone Bagnall
Leone Bagnall

Leone Bagnall is being remembered for making her mark in Prince Edward Island, both on a political and personable level.

Bagnall died Sunday at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She was 83.

Bagnall proved to be a versatile and valuable Islander.

She had been a farmer and a teacher.

She volunteered for her church and in other parts of her community.

And she became a political pioneer.

But above all, says long-time friend and former fellow Progressive Conservative MLA Marion Reid, Bagnall was simply a wonderful person.

“She was loved and respected by all who were privileged to know her,’’ said Reid.

“Her empathy, her kindness and the warmth of her face was legendary... I never knew a person like her...it seems to take a lot out of you when you lose a good friend.’’

Bagnall, along with running mate Reid, earned the distinction in 1979 of being the first female Progressive Conservatives elected in P.E.I. since Confederation and only the third and fourth women ever elected to the provincial legislature.

Bagnall, who served as the MLA for 1st Queens from 1979 to 1993, became the first female PC cabinet minister on the Island tackling the education portfolio and the first female minister responsible for the status of women.

She also briefly served as the interim leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of P.E.I. from 1987 to 1988.

Reid notes Bagnall retired from politics undefeated and on her own terms.

“In recognition of her tireless service for others and her invaluable contributions to so many worthwhile causes, Leone was honoured with the Order of Canada in 1994,’’ she said.

Reid praised Bagnall for setting an example of true love and devotion through the constant support and care she extended to her late husband Erroll when he became stricken with Alzheimer disease.

“Every day she was by his side with her ever present love and support which did not go unnoticed by her family, friends and the staff at the hospital,’’ she said.

Opposition Leader Jamie Fox said Bagnall brought class and dignity to her work and was a tireless advocate on behalf of her constituents.

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of Mrs. Leone Bagnall, an outstanding Islander and a dedicated public servant,’’ Fox said in a statement.

“Mrs. Bagnall always brought class and dignity to her work and was a tireless advocate on behalf of her constituents. On behalf of our PC caucus and the entire PC Party I wish to extend deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mrs. Bagnall. She will be missed.’’

Bagnall is survived by three daughters and two sons.

Visitation is Friday from 2-4 and 7-9 pm at the Davison Funeral Home in Kensington. The Crystal Chapter, Order of the Eastern Star will hold a memorial service at the funeral home on Friday at 6 pm.

Funeral service will take place at Central Queens United Church in Hunter River on Saturday at 3 pm.

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