Senior of the Year Awards

Senior of the Year Awards Recipients

2020 Senior Award Winners

2020 Award Winners

The Senior of the Year Awards recognizes seniors in Hamilton who have made outstanding voluntary contributions to enriching the social, cultural or civic life of our community.

Celebrations looked a bit different this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. While the annual Senior of the Year Awards gala event did not take place as planned, the City remains committed to celebrating seniors in our community today, and every day. 


Ica Smith

Ica Smith - 2019 Senior of the Year

In the words of her nominator, Ica “puts her heart and soul in to everything she does.” A lifetime volunteer who simply cares about others, Ica’s impressive organizational skills are evident in the way she chairs various committees, organizes flower shows and competitions, and plans and implements fundraising initiatives. Some of the many organizations in the city have benefited from her skills and dedication include the Canadian Cancer Society, the Osteoporosis Society, Mount Hamilton Horticultural Society, Idlewyld Manor long-term care home and Jason’s House (a March of Dimes home).

Ica’s kindness, support and genuine care for others is evident, from driving others to medical appointments and grocery shopping, to preparing meals and feeding those who are ill. The testimonials below were shared from individuals who have experienced Ica’s kindness first-hand:

“Even with a diagnosis of cancer and a broken wrist, she found time and energy to be a comfort and help to others.”
“Ica has this wonderful ability to see beauty in the small things in life.”
“She has a very special, kind, generous and considerate loving heart and is such a compassionate gentle spirit.”


Dave Davey

Dave Davey - Behind the Scenes Award

Volunteerism is all in the family! In the 1980’s Dave took an interest in volunteering for the Canadian Cancer Society while his son was involved with the organization in a volunteer leadership role. Dave supported many events behind the scenes to ensure they moved ahead smoothly, from assembling tables to fixing bicycles to distributing refreshments to other volunteers.

When the Cancer Assistance Program (CAP) was established in 1994, Dave continued his volunteer commitment to serve and support Hamiltonians battling cancer. He continued to volunteer with CAP for over 26 years and his support has proved to be integral to the success of the organization. As CAP staff noted: “Dave is one of the fundamental reasons CAP’s equipment loans department has developed the reputation it has in the health care community.”


David Dedrick

David Dedrick - Innovation Award

For nearly 10 years and 1900 hours, David has dedicated his time to Habitat for Humanity. David has been involved in many aspects of this organization, using his talent and skills as a blacksmith to elevate the Hamilton ReStore’s Fix-It shop by repurposing and recycling donated items that are then sold. His innovative skills helped David manufacture a piece of equipment to strip electrical wire more quickly.

As part of his volunteer contributions, David also initiated and helped create a gathering space for local seniors, and acts as a mentor for many youth.


Margaret Harris

Margaret Harris - Lifetime Achievement Award

Margaret’s volunteer commitment spans a lifetime, inspired and guided by her understanding of the social determinants of health from her extensive public health nursing career. Margaret has enriched the lives of so many Hamilton citizens by helping people access food, reducing social isolation (particularly among seniors), promoting peace, supporting environmental causes, advocating for access to basic rights and resources, and challenging social policies at the local, provincial and federal levels. 

The various organizations that have benefited from Margaret’s energy and commitment include St. Mark’s Church in Dundas, St. Joseph’s Villa, the Good Food Box, Department of Peace Initiative, Culture of Peace Hamilton, Hamilton Organization for Poverty Elimination (HOPE), and provincial and federal Liberal parties.


Jean Lethbridge

Jean Lethbridge - Economic Leadership Award

For over two decades, Jean has been an active volunteer at Grace Villa long-term care home. As Treasurer for the Grace Villa’s Volunteer Association, her strong financial oversight and management through fundraising initiatives and the Tuck Shop helped raise $20,000 that was donated to various events and programs for the residents.

Jean played a vital role volunteering for Emmanuel United Church (40+ years) and with the Presbyterian United Church Women (12 years). In taking on the role of Treasurer, Jean was involved in the planning and implementation of many fundraising initiatives and catering events for group socials, as well as providing support to the Life Elder program. For several years, Jean also volunteered with the Wesley Centre’s food bank, household and clothing department and the Christmas store.


Lee McKay

Lee McKay - Compassion and Companionship Award

A phrase that best describes Lee McKay as stated by her nominator, “volunteers do not necessarily have the time, they just have the heart.”  For over 17 years, Lee has had a profound impact on the clients served and supported by the Cancer Assistance Program (CAP).  Lee has been involved in many aspects of CAP, including coordinating 50+ drivers who provide hundreds of drives for clients to cancer-related appointments.  Lee’s compassion for every client motivated her to creatively manage the schedule so that clients were not place on a waitlist.  Over the past few years, Lee took on the task of sending birthday cards to clients monthly.  For Lee, this act of kindness is her way of ensuring that each client’s day is a little brighter.  Lee also volunteered for close to 20 years with Idelwyld Manor long-term care home.


Archi McQueen

Archie McQueen - Healthy and Active Living Award

Archie has been involved at Bennetto Elementary School for more than 35 years. First as a school teacher, but also as a volunteer where he continues to positively impact and inspire youth. As a teacher, Archie would arrive at the school early to open the gymnasium for students to participate in an open gym program. At the end of the school day, he would stay at the school to again supervise the activities in the gym. 

Since retiring, Archie continues to supply teach and run the open gym program before and after school, as well as during nutritional breaks twice weekly. Archie has also donated his $100,000 earnings to support reading and technology resources and pay for a new scoreboard for the gymnasium at Bennetto.


Dr. Sri Gopal Mohatny

Dr. Sri Gopal Mohanty - Diversity and Cultural Award

After immigrating to Canada in 1964, Dr. Mohanty played a key role in the inter-cultural learning and exchange in Hamilton many years before the adoption of multiculturism. In the 1970’s, Dr. Mohanty helped launch the India Canada Society (ICS), and played a leading role to involve the Indo-Canadian community in the Folk Arts Council and Multicultural Centre. At same time, he was instrumental in forming the Human Rights Committee, which later became the Mayor’s Race Relations Committee. In 1993, Dr. Mohanty helped organize the 20th anniversary of ICS, “A Celebration of Gandhi” which later became the annual Gandhi Peace Festival. More recently, as chair of the festival and in celebration of Gandhi’s 150th birthday anniversary celebrations, he helped to organize a conference to eliminate racism in Hamilton. 

Dr. Mohanty has also dedicated his time to various causes and organizations, including the International Women’s Peace Brigade, the Sustainable Economic Educational Development Society (SEEDS), the Diabetes Foundation and the Ancaster Food Drive.


Penelope Petrie

Penelope Petrie - Leadership Award

Penelope has been a member of the volunteer board at Sackville Seniors Centre for the last 10 years, including her time serving as Chair, as well as Chair of the Expansion Fundraising Committee. She has been a lead volunteer in planning various events and acts as an ambassador to new members of the centre. Penelope has also dedicated her time to various leadership roles with the Hamilton Council on Aging (HCoA) serving on the board as Secretary and using her teaching background to coach the “Let’s Get Moving” workshops. She has been instrumental in overseeing program and project development with HCoA.  For the past 8 years, Penelope has been a member of the City of Hamilton’s Seniors Advisory Committee, where she is currently Chair, and as a member of Hamilton’s Age Friendly Collaborative Governance Committee. 

There are various projects at McMaster University that have benefited from Penelope’s efforts as well, including intergenerational activities to provide mentorship and inspiration to youth. Penelope is a member and sits on various sub-committees of the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging. Over the years, she has also spent time volunteering with Bereaved Families of Ontario, Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra’s Seniors Connect program, the Orchid Society with the Royal Botanical Gardens, and as an active member of the McMaster Lager Lecture Series.


The 2019 Senior of the Year Awards winners are:

  • Roy Jones - 2019 Senior of the Year
  • Florence Binkley - Bernie Morelli Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Ken Dolbear - Ron Smithson Leadership Award
  • Gunther Kraft - Economic Leadership Award
  • Albert Graham  - Innovation Award
  • Shuja Qureshi - Diversity and Cultural Award
  • Rick James - Behind the Scenes Award
  • Walter Decker - Healthy and Active Living Award
  • Pat Simpson - Mary Smithson Compassion and Companionship Award
  • Maryam Butrus - Youth Supporting Seniors Award

Group of 2019 Award Winners

The 2018 Senior of the Year Awards winners are:

  • Betty Kobayashi - 2018 Senior of theYear
  • Sylvia Parr - Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Carolann Fernandes - Leadership Award
  • Gary Gibson - Economic Leadership Award
  • Patricia Smith - Healthy & Active Living Award
  • Leo Dunn - Behind the Scenes Award
  • Molly Chang - Diversity & Culture Award
  • Karina Kane - Compassion & Companionship
  • Chris Kruter - Innovation Award
  • Ben Weingartner - Youth Award

Group photo of the 2018 Senior of the Year Award Winners

The 2017 Senior of the Year Awards winners are:

  • Lillian Wherry - Senior of the Year
  • Jake van Mil - Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Ruby Sarmiento Amog - Leadership Award
  • Wilfred Arndt - Economic Leadership Award
  • Mary Lou Collett - Healthy & Active Living Award
  • Bob Harris - Behind the Scenes Award
  • Mohammad Heidary - Diversity & Cultural Award
  • Myrtle Inwood - Compassion & Companionship
  • Shirley Kitchener - Innovation Award
  • June Pearce - Compassion & Companionship

Group picture of the 2017 Senior of the Year Awards

The 2016 Senior of the Year Awards winners are:

  • Edward Dunn - Senior of the Year Award
  • Anne Washington - Mary Smithson Compassion and Companionship Award
  • Mary Kiss - Economic Leadership Award
  • Marg Cheyne - Behind the Scene Award
  • Andrew Tallach - Healthy and Active Living Award
  • Claudette Joseph - Diversity and Cultural Award
  • Gerry Polmanter - Leadership Award
  • Dr. Lester Krames - Innovation Award
  • Frank Sullivan - Bernie Morelli Lifetime Achievement Award

The 2015 Senior of the Year Awards winners are:

  • Fred Miscio - Senior of the Year Award
  • Jan Lukas - Bernie Morelli Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Jean McEachern - Mary Smithson Compassion and Companionship Award
  • Lou DeStephanis - Healthy and Active Living Award
  • Chester Faulknor - Leadership Award
  • Dave Watts - Behind the Scenes Award
  • Michael Edward Grant - Diversity and Cultural Award
  • Bob Thomson - Economic Leadership Award
  • Emmy Weisz - Innovation Award

  • Patricia Saunders - Senior of the Year Award
  • Lois Goodale - Bernie Morelli Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Julian D’Angela - Innovation Award
  • William Grahlman - Behind the Scene Award
  • Gail Rappolt - Diversity and Cultural Award
  • Al Gordon - Leadership Award
  • Frank Ernest - Compassion and Companionship Award
  • Margaret Robertson - Economic Leadership Award
  • George Wallace - Healthy and Active Living Award