Reflecting on Alan Abraham’s distinguished career

Alan Abraham shakes hands with former prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

On his 54th birthday (February, 1, 1985), Alan Abraham took on his most high-profile job. The Governor General appointed the businessman to a new role as Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, representing the Queen as chief officer of Nova Scotia.
Duties included: presiding at the opening and closing of legislative sessions, approving all of the laws adopted during its sessions, administering the oath to newly appointed judges, and receiving credentials from official visitors from abroad.
Hosting visiting Royals is one of the viceregal’s most visible duties. In Abraham’s case, it was Princess Margaret and her nephews  Prince Andrew and Prince Edward (who visited multiple times). Other dignitaries Abraham and wife Rose Marie hosted include Pope John Paul II. Like all Canadian lieutenant governors, he also travelled to Buckingham Palace for a private audience with Queen Elizabeth.
Reflecting on those years, Abraham spoke of the joy of being able to meet with hundreds of people working in charities and volunteering to serve their communities. “It was as much a reward to us as it was a recognition to them,” he said.
He recalled a visit to an IODE Canada (a community-service group for women) chapter in Wallace, N.S. “They were holding their annual tea and sale when an elderly lady…approached me,” he said. “She told me how proud she was to finally meet a member of the Royal family. I thanked her but advised her that, although I represented her Majesty the Queen in Canada, I was not a member of the Royal family. Smiling she replied, ‘That’s all right, Sonny. At my age you’ll have to do!’”
Now 88 years old, Abraham lives in South End Halifax, where he remains lively and dynamic as he recovers from a recent fall. Rose Marie passed away seven years ago after a long illness. 

This story was originally published in Halifax Magazine.

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