Passed away peacefully into the awaiting arms of her Lord and Savior, with her family at her side, on Sept 16. Loving mother to Gillian, Michelle, Gerry, and her special nieces Susan and Kimberley; granny to Daynon and Mackenzie; treasured sister of Rudolph (Cynthia), Ivan (Joan), Joseph (Wilma), Althea, Patricia, and Clyde (Millie). Predeceased by her brothers Leslie, Frederick, and David. Aunty to many cherished nieces and nephews in Canada, the US and Trinidad, and proud sister to her extended Wiltshire family. Family meant everything to Eleanor, be it those mentioned by name above, or her vast extended family which includes both blood relatives as well as the many close friendships she nurtured over the years.
The seventh child and first girl born to Aurora and Joseph, Eleanor grew up shy, introspective, and quiet. After moving from Trinidad to Hamilton in 1966, she would soon find her voice, launching a stellar 27 year teaching career with the HWCDSB, impacting generations of students. Compelled by her Christian faith, Eleanor worked relentlessly to give back to her community and help others, particularly black youth within the GTHA. For over thirty years she spearheaded numerous causes which are now embedded within the Hamilton community, perhaps most notably the African Caribbean Cultural Potpourri Inc, which started as a variety show and to this day continues running as an annual youth scholarship awards banquet.
Eleanor’s honours include being named as one of 100 Accomplished Black Canadian Women; the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture Award for Outstanding Achievement; Mayor’s Hamilton-Wentworth Award for Excellence in Race Relations in Education; Hamilton Spectator: Citizens of Influence – 100 Portraits of Success; Hamilton Status of Women, Woman of the Year Award – Public Affairs; the Black History Committee Award – John Holland Award for Community Service; and the Trinidad and Tobago Consul General’s Diaspora Award.
It was only after years of being persuaded by her friends and colleagues that Eleanor came to realize that a public profile would not only help her various causes, but also draw the community’s attention to a positive, black role model. Eleanor fought tirelessly for justice, yet, it was always the cause, not the accolades, that fueled her indomitable spirit. Raising the tide of racial equality, enhancing social justice, and promoting youth leadership were the causes which defined who she was to the community.
But the true essence of Eleanor was that of a compassionate, caring mother and grandmother. She was the matriarch and unwavering spiritual guidepost of the family. Eleanor loved to travel too, enjoying many trips across all six inhabited continents, highlighted by exploring her roots in Africa, deepening her faith in the Holy Land, and re-examining her colonial education within the British monarchy, though, throughout her globe-trotting, she remained Trini to de bone. Gifted educator, Social Justice fighter, humanitarian, devout Christian, and matriarch, Eleanor will be sorely missed by her loving family, friends and the Hamilton community.
Visitation at Bay Gardens Funeral Home – “William J. Markey Chapel”, 947 Rymal Road East, HAMILTON (905.574.0405) on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 from 2:00 pm. – 4:00 pm. And from 6:30 pm. to 8:30 pm. Funeral Mass at Annunciation of Our Lord church followed by a private burial at Resurrection Catholic Cemetery will be by invitation only.
The family will host a Celebration of Life at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to one of the following:
– African Caribbean Cultural Potpourri Inc., 762 Upper James St., Suite 158, Hamilton, ON, L9C 3A2
– Canadian Cancer Society (see link on website)
– Salvation Army Community and Family Services of Hamilton-Wentworth (see link on website)
Due to Covid 19 please be aware that there may be a wait time upon entering the funeral home for the visitation due to capacity restrictions. Your patience is very much appreciated.
Livestreaming details will be updated at www.baygardens.ca
You are invited to share in the creation of the memorial site by adding a condolence and any remembrances, photos, and video clips appropriate to the life of Eleanor Wiltshire Rodney B.A., M.Ed. Simply go to the Bay Gardens Website: www.baygardens.ca