Lucia Tweedie Kowaluk


Lucia Tweedie Kowaluk

July 1, 1934 – February 1, 2019

Lucia died peacefully surrounded by family and friends in a lovely Montreal nursing home close to her home. Causes were multiple as her health deteriorated sharply after a fall in October 2017. Born and raised in Albany, N.Y., Lucia spent many summers in Lamoine at the home of her grandmother, Sarah Tweedie Hodgkins, later at the home of mother, H. Louise Tweedie, and more recently at the homes of her sister Carol Tweedie Korty and cousin Catherine deTuede. Many generations of her father Fred Tweedie’s family were Lamoiners.

She earned a BA in medieval history from the University of Illinois, but after earning an MS in social work from McGill University, she remained in Montreal, devoting the rest of her life to issues of social service and reform. Initially she served as case worker for Family Services of Montreal and program director of University Settlement near McGill. She later initiated and for many years ran a drop-in and food kitchen housed in St. James United Church for homeless people. She and her husband gathered local citizens to save six city blocks of late 19th century townhouses from being razed for high-rise, high-priced condos. This radical movement garnered national recognition for its success in establishing the largest co-operative housing project on a land trust in North America known as Milton Parc, with multi-unit townhouses for 1,500 limited income people, enabling them to live in a close network of homes in the midst of the city.

She established several houses for indigent street people with mental illness. She established the Montreal Urban Ecology Centre. She worked to convert an abandoned public school building to house a multicultural arts center and many social organizations. In 2013, she was awarded the national Order of Canada, the highest such award given Canadians; in 2015, she was awarded the Order of Quebec for her services. At 82, her final effort was to save the 19th century granite structure of the historic hospital, Hotel-Dieu, from being replaced (along with four other hospitals) by two large consolidated hospitals. Using her finely tuned skills of social organization, Lucia brought together 30 organizations to work out plans for a multiuse center, including a medical clinic and more nonprofit cooperative housing.

An early marriage to Alex Kowaluk ended in divorce, although she retained his surname. She and Dimitri Roussopoulos, a social activist and publisher of Black Rose Books, were married for 50 years. Both were active in nuclear disarmament, anti-war and ecology movements. Their son Riel recently returned to Montreal after working for decades in the Vancouver area.

Lucia is survived by her husband and son; grandchildren Natasha and Orion Roussopoulos; former daughter-in-law Juliet Smith, of Vancouver; daughter-in-law Katrina Nudelman and grandchildren, Anastasia, Julia and Dimitri, of Montreal; sister Carol Tweedie Korty of Lamoine; sister Alice Tweedie of Rumford; cousin Catherine deTuede of Lamoine; aunt Cris Herrlich of Essex Junction, Vt.; cousin Katherine Herrlich of Melrose, Maine; cousin Alan Herrlich of Nashua, N.H.; cousin Robert Herrlich of Atascadero, Calif., and cousin Peter Herrlich of Klamath, Ore.

A memorial service is planned for Feb. 17 at the assembly hall in Hotel Dieu Hospital in Montreal. Ashes will be buried in Montreal and in Lamoine’s Forest Hill Cemetery.