Skip to content

Community pays tribute to Dave Hamilton

Former longtime Optimist general manager loses battle with cancer

Community tributes have been pouring in following the passing of former Delta Optimist general manager Dave Hamilton.

A consummate community volunteer and champion for this community’s newspaper, Hamilton lost his battle with prostate cancer passing away last week.

Hamilton was 64.

Diagnosed with stage four prostate cancer in 2016, Hamilton fought his cancer battle bravely and while undergoing treatment, continued to work at the Optimist until the end of 2019 when he retired after 30-plus years with the paper.

Alvin Brouwer, president of Lower Mainland Publishing LP and Glacier Community Media Digital said the company is creating an award in Hamilton’s honour.

“The award will be called the Dave Hamilton Service Above Self Award. This will be given to an employee in LMP who does charitable work in the community and goes above and beyond and $5,000 a year will be given in their name to whatever charity they choose,” said Brouwer. “Dave was a leader in the industry. He was one of the most enthusiastic persons who I’ve ever met…really cared about his customers, his colleagues and his community equally.

“I still remember one time, early on in our relationship, we were walking in Ladner Village and I swear every person we passed, he knew everybody. He was so much a part of South Delta. He was involved in everything. He was a great ambassador for our newspaper.”

His life as a Rotarian

Hamilton`s commitment to community volunteerism was vast with a huge focus on Rotary.

Tsawwassen Rotarian John Charbonneau said Hamilton’s commitment to the Rotary “Service Above Self” motto is measured with decades of exemplary contribution that dates back to his joining Rotary in Terrace, then Ladner and as a charter member of The Rotary Club of Tsawwassen in June 1992.

“Of the millions of Rotarians, since Rotary began in 1905, few have achieved the measure of Dave’s commitment with 29 years of perfect attendance,” said Charbonneau. “For over 30 years, many new members benefited from Dave’s Rotary knowledge during his commitment to mentor those new to one of the world’s largest community service organizations.”

Charbonneau said Hamilton excelled at any role he volunteered for within Rotary’s various job descriptions, including fundraising, public relations, community involvement, and international project support. His efforts included numerous years of contribution as a member of the club’s board of directors, including his role as club president in the 2000/01 Rotary year.

“His time and talents were always a welcome addition to any committee he joined. His financial support of the Rotary International Foundation saw him receive nine individual recognitions, which lead to membership in the Paul Harris Society (named after Rotary’s Founder),” he said. “One of his long-time goals was reached, following a three-year lead up to his most recent position as Rotary District 5040 Governor. In his capacity of District Governor he provided leadership and inspiration to over 1,500 members of the Rotary family including Rotarians, Rotoractors, and Interactors in more than 50 clubs in the province. While the current COVID-19 pandemic prevented him from physically visiting the District’s clubs at the frequency he aspired to, his face was seen on hundreds of Zoom calls where clubs welcomed his attendance on a weekly basis.”

Charbonneau said in his last week, he was honored by Rotary Family from points around the globe who he met during his Governor Training, with a Zoom Tribute called “Dance Like Dave.” He received accolades from classmates, fellow Rotarians and executives from Rotary International.

“He had a positive impact on everyone he met, he will be missed greatly and remembered for his tireless contribution and fun spirit,” added Charbonneau.

Rotary has created the Dave Hamilton Service Above Self Bursary in his honour.

"A great community builder"

Garry Shearer, executive director of the Delta Chamber of Commerce described Hamilton as a “great community builder.”

“I met Dave for the first time at a provisional Rotary meeting of the soon to be chartered Rotary Club of Tsawwassen in October 1991 at the Bunkers Restaurant/Lounge at the old Tsawwassen Golf Club. An immediate friendship was formed, and we shared many adventures together over the past 30 years,” said Shearer. “Dave and I not only shared a passion for Rotary, but also curled on the same team for over 10 years and golfed together at Beach Grove. Some of my best times with Dave was during our fly/golf trips we shared over 10 years. Dave was my co-pilot for seven of those trips where we logged over 60 hours of flying together. Dave would often take the controls and fly the airplane during long legs on our trips.

“Dave and I both served on the Rotary District leadership team for many years. We participated in strategic planning sessions for our District 5040 each year. When Dave became president of the Delta Chamber, he asked me to facilitate a strategic planning session at the Chamber in 2016. This was my first encounter with the Delta Chamber before being asked to become the Executive Director in 2019. I recall Dave’s leadership focus at the Chamber was around collaboration. Dave believed that working together, as a community, we could accomplish so much more. He leveraged the relationships, developed over the years with the Optimist, to help start the connections between the Chamber and other business/community associations. 

“Dave was a great community builder, a teammate and my co-pilot. I will miss him.”

Hamilton was also founding member of the Tsawwassen Business Improvement Association (TBIA).

“In my 28 years of being a Tsawwassen business owner and resident I have never met anyone as devoted to this community as Dave Hamilton,” said TBIA president Randy Scott. “What Dave brought will not be matched by anyone. He contributed to countless committees, association boards and sporting groups. Dave brought professionalism, integrity and humour to everything he did.

“If you had not met Dave you can see him all around the Tsawwassen community in the trees at the entrance on 56th Street, the Rotary Waterworks Playground at Diefenbaker Park, when you walk down 12th Avenue and at every Tsawwassen Sun Festival Parade. I hope that everyone will be inspired by Dave to give back to their community.”

Besides his passion for community, Hamilton had a passion for sports including curling, golf and slo-pitch.

Will be greatly missed by sports clubs and teams

He was a member of the Tunnel Town Curling Club for 25 years, served on the board of directors, curled in men’s as well as mixed leagues, often curling three nights per week.

“Aside from Dave’s contribution to every team he played on in competitive curling he was a huge presence in the social aspect of our curling club,” said club member Ron Phillip. “Anyone who knows curling, knows that the game is more than just a competitive game. It is the most social of all sports. Dave was certainly a valued member in that regard. His participation at club parties, dances and celebrations always contributed to making the Tunnel Town Curling Club a fun club to belong to. In fact, Tunnel Town Curling is the best curling club I have been involved with in my 55 years of curling in no small part due to a member like Dave. Dave is going to be missed very much by our club and especially by me as my “front end” partner on many teams.”

Chris Hugill, general manager of the Beach Grove Golf Club said Hamilton will be greatly missed.

“I first met Dave when I interviewed for Beach Grove Golf Club. He was, in fact, the first person I met at the club,” recalled Hugill. “Despite his smaller stature, he somehow appeared to be 10 feet tall to me. The first thing that I noticed was his Rotary shirt, his bright yellow socks and that great flow of hair.

“Dave was a dedicated president for Beach Grove and made a meaningful impact on the lives of so many of our members. Dave taught me to be a more positive person, to remain calm in any crisis and most of all, to make time for the people you care about most. It was an honour to know him and I imagine that there will be many days ahead when I reach for the phone to seek his advice and feel his absence. He will be missed by his Beach Grove Golf family and he will be deeply missed by me.”

Monica Lawless said she has fond memories of Hamilton in the Ladner mixed slo-pitch league.

“Dave was a big part in our Ladner mixed slo-pitch league. As coach of the Sox for approximately 20 years, he took so much pride in our team,” said Lawless. “To everyone he was “coach” and he loved being on the ball field and when he couldn’t, he was on the sidelines cheering us on. Gone but never forgotten! Rest well coach.”

Hamilton’s Memorial will be held on April 24 at 10 a.m.

A live link will be set up in the coming days for those who wish to attend. For more details please email: [email protected] where a link to the memorial will be provided. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Hamilton’s honour to his Rotary bursary