By Jensen, Randy on June 13, 2020.
Georgia Green Fooks, a media pioneer in Lethbridge and who sent numerous journalists into the media industry and related fields over her 23 years as an instructor at the then Lethbridge Community College, has passed away at the age of 91.
Prior to joining the college, Fooks hosted a children’s television show on CJLH-TV called “Georgia,” which won a national Liberty Award. She also worked at The Lethbridge Herald where at certain times during her years of teaching journalism at the college most of The Herald newsroom was made up of her graduates.
“Georgia was tough, and she knew her stuff. She didn’t let us get away with any BS, and I respect her so much for that,” said Sherri Gallant, a former Herald writer who graduated from Communication Arts in 1986, in an article for Lethbridge College’s Wider Horizons magazine. “Georgia prepared us well for the print industry and she was a force. She called us ‘my little darlings,’ which I quite loved. And even though she had high standards and expected a lot from us, she was never grouchy that I ever remember – just always full of energy and positive. I see her books around every now and then and when I do, I get a little shiver of pride, because she was my instructor. I love Georgia.”
Fooks joined the college as an instructor in 1970 and taught Communications for 23 years. She was publisher of the student newspaper The Endeavour for 18 years, a position which she took very seriously. While students were out writing stories for the weekly publication, Fooks would sit at the Compugraphic typesetter and edit stories as she would type them in, asking writers “what did you mean by that?” or “you can’t say that.” It was a job that would take her and her students sometimes into the early morning hours on a weekly basis.
Fooks was proud of the fact the Communications program was one of the best programs of its kind, attracting students from Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and “from all over the place.”
Besides mentoring numerous journalists, Fooks was a longtime local volunteer, celebrated author and chaired the boards of Fort Whoop-Up and the Galt Museum & Archives. Her books have helped preserve and promote local history.
Her books include:
– Lethbridge: Portraits of the Past;
– Fort Whoop-Up: Alberta’s First and Most Notorious Whiskey Fort;
– Legacy of Lethbridge Women;
– Prairie Prisoners: POWs in Lethbridge During Two World Conflicts;
– Lethbridge Community College: The First 25 Years;
– Pioneers By Train to Alberta Plains: Stirling siding marker honours our heritage;
– A History of The Lethbridge Herald, 1905-1975;
– Dr. Charles Sherwood Noble: Alberta’s most famous farmer-inventor;
– Robert Livingstone: 43 years as Lethbridge mine manager, general manager and superintendent; and
– The First Women of Southern Alberta: Native women before 1900.
Fooks was honoured with Brigham Young University Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award in 1999, the first woman in Canada to receive the honour.
Fooks was predeceased by her husband, Norman Henry Fooks. They had four children, including three girls, as well as 17 grandchildren and 41 great-grandchildren.
Editor’s note: Randy Jensen was a student of Georgia’s who graduated from Communication Arts in 1979.