Honourary Members


CGNA is delighted to introduce the Honourary Member Award in recognition of members who demonstrate excellence and further the organization’s mission and values. We are proud to honour our own.

Ann C. Beckingham

Many of you know Dr. Ann C. Beckingham and her dedication and commitment to CGNA and to gerontological nursing.  Ann worked tirelessly for CGNA in the early years of our association and was one of the founding members. Ann radiated with energy, enthusiasm and passion for gerontological nursing and for care of older adults. She never hesitated to share her vast knowledge with novices and was a great leader and mentor.

Ann died in June 2003 and left a very special gift for CGNA. She bequeathed $150,000 to CGNA to be placed in a trust fund and from the interest each year CGNA is to disperse a scholarship to a Registered Nurse who is studying a graduate degree.

Dr. Ann Beckingham was a graduate of the Montreal General Hospital. After spending several years in clinical nursing she completed her undergraduate degree and Masters studies at Columbia University. She received a doctoral degree from the prestigious Fielding Institute in California where she specialized in gerontology, in addition to human and organizational systems.

Ann's professional experience included over 20 years in the international arena, including 12 years working with the World Health Organization (WHO) in the Eastern Mediterranean, South East Asian, African and European Regions. Her major international involvement was in the University setting where she was responsible for curriculum development, review and the evaluation of degree programs for nurses, and other health professionals. She presented numerous papers at conferences; she planned and conducted seminars and workshops, and served on numerous committees. As a WHO consultant in the early eighties she was involved in a seminal study implementing the nursing process across several European countries.

When Ann returned to Canada she worked at the national level with the Canadian Nurses Association, and was a Visiting Professor at the School of Nursing at the University of Ottawa. Subsequently, she moved to McMaster University, School of Nursing where she rose through the ranks to become a Full Professor. As a member of the Educational Centre for Aging and Health, Ann developed an increasing commitment to quality education in gerontology. She was instrumental in developing critical paths for nursing education from entry at diploma or baccalaureate levels through doctoral and post-doctoral preparation. Ann was also strongly committed to the planning and execution of interdisciplinary education and research. She enjoyed working with students and was a proponent of adult learning. She edited a book entitled, Promoting Healthy Aging.  Health care practitioners will use this text to achieve insight to healthy aging. Ann was a champion for gerontological nursing, investigating numerous ways of increasing the quality and quantity of gerontology in the undergraduate nursing programme at McMaster.

When Dr. Beckingham retired from McMaster, she never stopped her crusade for gerontological nursing. She continued to serve on many committees. She also took her own advice in healthy living and healthy aging by learning to knit, taking up swimming and attending plays, symphonies and operas. She retired at Shalom Village in Hamilton where she was amongst friends and colleagues. She passed away at Hamilton Health Sciences.

Dr. Beckingham is remembered for her passion and international and gerontological nursing, her commitment to education, and her innovative and original achievements.

Penelope Ericson

In 2001, Ms. Penelope Ericson has been awarded the degree of Professor and Dean Emeritus by University of New Brunswick (UNB) for her service to Nursing.  Ms. Ericson retired in 2001 and immediately put two courses on the Web at the UNB on nursing home nurses and history of nursing and political action which she would continue to teach until 2009. During her early retirement years, Penelope served as an Honorary Research Assistant on Masters and Doctoral thesis committees. Ms. Ericson has officially retired in 2009.

Mary Gibbon by Mary Buzzell

It is an honor to write about Mary Gibbon who I consider a special Canadian and a pioneer community health, nurse and leader.

Mary was born in Hamilton Ontario where she was a lifetime resident except for two years when she worked as a Red Cross outpost nurse. She graduated from The Hamilton General in 1943. Further education was at the University of Toronto, McGill and the University of Buffalo. Mary began her work in the Hamilton VON, first as staff nurse and then as Executive Director of the branch. Her leadership skills were admired greatly and she educated many Boards and others about community health care. She was an Associate Professor at McMaster and enrolled one of her staff Ruth Milne in the Nurse Practitioner Program. For a period of time she was with VON Guelph conducting research on home care. One of her greatest contributions was her work on the concept of Personhood in collaboration with Mary Buzzell. They were invited to educate many groups demonstrating the value of knowing the person, not just problems. Knowing a person's values, interests, hopes and dreams, goals, past contributions are among critical ingredients. Their work highlighted that ignoring personhood may cause harm and suffering. Mary received the Lady Aberdeen Award from VON CANADA, The Queen`s Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Hamilton Woman of the Year Award in 1977. Mary Gibbon passed away in August 2010 at the Hamilton at Willowgrove Home.

Jessie Mantle

Jessie Helen Mantle, Professor Emeritus, University of Victoria, was the first official President of CGNA after the interim leadership of Lynne Mitchell Pedersen. Jessie completed her Bachelor of Nursing degree at McGill University.  During the following years she worked as a practitioner and teacher. She completed the Master of Science in Nursing Degree at the University of California, San Francisco and did Post Master's study in Gerontological Nursing at the University of Washington, Seattle.  Starting in 1981, she assumed the role of a joint appointee working as a professor at University of Victoria's Nursing Program and as a CNS in a large extended care facility. This appointment was initially funded as a pilot project but the role of CNS became a part of the base budget of the hospital and continued until she retired 14 years later.

Ms. Mantle has published numerous books, chapters, articles and monographs. She has served an invited guest speaker at numerous conferences and invited talks and has published conference proceedings and has extensive involvement in Community Service.

Ms. Mantle is the recipient of many honors and awards including a World Health Fellowship, R.N.A.B.C. Award of Excellence for Nursing Practice, CNA Centennial Award and GNABC and CGNA Honorary Life Memberships.

Lynne Mitchell-Pedersen

During her active years in Gerontological nursing Ms. Lynne Mitchell-Pedersen interests included non-use of physical restraints in caring for older people, sorting out vocalizing behaviors, and sexual concerns of older people. Ms. Mitchell-Pedersen doctoral dissertation was titled, "Impact of Stroke on a Couple's Sexual Relationship".

Lynne considers it the thrill of a lifetime to have been one of the catalysts in forming both our Manitoba organization and CGNA and a great honor to have been made an Honorary Life Member of both organizations.

Ms. Lynne Mitchell-Pedersen is now retired and enjoying family, her four grandchildren, friends, art, crafts, hiking, cycling, and kayaking, among other activities.

Margaret Ross

Margaret M. Ross graduated in nursing from St. Mary's Hospital in Montreal and received a BScN. from St. Francis Xavier University, Masters Degree in Education from Dalhousie University, and a Ph.D. in Community Health and Aging from the University of Toronto. She practiced gerontological nursing in psychiatry at St. Martha's Hospital in Antigonish, and in neurology, orthopedics and psychiatry at the Ottawa General Hospital. She began a teaching career at Mount St. Vincent and Dalhousie Universities in Halifax. During this time she worked clinically with students at the Halifax Infirmary, the Victoria General Hospital and Camp Hill Hospital.  She then moved to McGill University for a period of nine years where she worked with students at the Montreal General Hospital, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Montreal Children's Hospital and the Montreal Neurological Institute. She then accepted an appointment at the University of Ottawa where she engaged in clinical work with students at the Ottawa General Hospital and the Ottawa-Carleton Health Department. She was elected to the College of Nurses of Ontario and served on the Discipline Committee, chairing many discipline hearings. She was awarded a National Health Research Development Program (NHRDP) Community Researcher Award and an Ontario Ministry of Health Career Scientist Award to conduct research related to care-giving in later life. She was also awarded a life time achievement award from the Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association. She is the author of "Lessons from the Other Side of the Bed", "Dialysis: a Part Time Job", and co-author of "A Curriculum Guide for Nursing: Violence against Women and Children" and "A Guide to End-of-Life Care for Seniors ". She is widely published in issues related to gerontology and palliative care in a variety of clinical journals, including The Canadian Nurse, The Journal of the Canadian Geriatrics Society, The Journal of Clinical Nursing, and scholarly journals, including the Canadian Journal on Aging, Educational Gerontology, Journal of Palliative Care, Journal of Advanced Nursing, Clinical Nursing Research, Health Care for Women International and The Canadian Journal of Nursing Research.

Joyce Springate

Joyce Springate (Church) graduated from the Calgary General Hospital School of Nursing and obtained a degree in nursing from University of Calgary. She received a Master of Science, in Medical Sciences, with specialization in Community Health Sciences from the same university, and an Education Doctorate from the Nova Southeastern University.  She has extensive experience in long term care, the community and educational positions. Dr. Springate established the Education Resource Centre for Continuing Care in Alberta.  Joyce also worked on special projects including consultant work for the Canadian Health Network, and for Nova/Grace Woman's Health Resources Center Library. The latter project led to the establishment of a lending library.

Dr. Joyce Springate has published numerous books, chapters, and articles. She has served as an invited guest speaker at numerous conferences.

She is the recipient of many honors and awards and has had influential involvement in the community by participating on various committees and boards. She was part of the executive of CGNA in 1989 (newsletter editor) when CGNA decided to seek Certification.  CNA had predicted it a process that would take 10 years. However CGNA members accomplished it in considerably less time!  Joyce served our organization as President from 1999 to 2001 and was Chair of a very successful and profitable CGNA conference in Kelowna in 2003.

Deborah Ann Vandewater

Deborah has been a member of CGNA since 1984.  She was the Vice-President of CGNA from 1987 - 1989, President from 1989 - 1991, and Past President from 1991 - 1993.  Deborah assisted in spearheading of the initiative to request Special Interest Group status with the Canadian Nurses Association in preparation for development of Certification with CNA.  She also chaired the national CGNA committee to develop the proposal for Certification examination status with CNA in 1999. Deborah served on several geriatric nursing examination test writing committees for CNA and was a member of the Planning Committee for the CGNA Biennial Educational Conference in 1987 and 2005.  She received Honorary Life membership from the CGNA in Kelowna in 2003 and received the first Nova Scotia Gerontological Nurses Association's Honorary Life Membership Award in 2004.

Deborah is an Independent Health Care Consultant since 2001 and a Professor with St. Francis Xavier University School of Nursing. She continues to work and reside in Halifax, Nova Scotia with her family.

Lois Abbott

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Marilyn Jackson

Victoria, British Columbia

Sandi P. Hirst

Sandra P. Hirst RN, PhD, GNC(C) is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Nursing. She has held a number of leadership positions in gerontology including: president of the Canadian Gerontological Nursing Association; president of the Canadian Association on Gerontology, and president of the Alberta Association of Gerontology. Sandra recently completed a three year appointment from the Prime Minster to sit on the National Seniors Council. Her areas of research and related scholarship focus on abuse and neglect of older adults, and the experiences of older adults who reside in long term care facilities. Sandra was appointed as Director of the newly established Centre in the late summer of 2008. Sandra received an Honourary Member award from the Alberta Gerontological Nurses Association several years ago and more recently received a Lifetime Achievement award from the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta.

Bonnie Hall

Bonnie Hall has a longstanding commitment to gerontological nursing and CGNA. She served on the Board of Directors and executive of CGNA since the inception of CGNA. She has participated in committees advancing gerontological nursing within CGNA (e.g., chairing the firs CGNA Standards committee) and outside CGNA (e.g., Gerontological Certification Committee). She was the newsletter editor for many years. She is known nationally for her knowledge and mentorship of novice nurses. Her clinical expertise includes pain management, wound care, rehabilitation, and geriatric assessment and management in complex care.  She has contributed to gerontological nursing scholarship as a presenter, educator, author and on research teams.

Note: We are encouraging anyone with information regarding the contributions and nursing careers of those nominees missing biographies to please email CGNA Head Office with their valuable input.
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