Presidents of the AWWCA

In the spring and autumn issues of Neighbourhood News & Views we published a history of the first 10 years of our association: 1998–2008.

In this issue we salute the presidents of the AWWCA who served during that period. We sincerely thank them for their past volunteer service to our community. They continue to volunteer in various ways in our community.

Joy James (left) and Linda Grigg formed a steering committee in the summer of 1998 to prepare for the formal organization of the AWWCA. Joy was the first president, and she chaired the AWWCA’s first meeting in September 1998. Joy died of a brain tumour on Feb. 19, 2005; this photo was taken the previous summer, when she spoke at an event to raise money for cancer research. She had just come out of the hospital after having her pancreas removed in an attempt to halt the cancer; she knew it would be her last chance to speak and raise awareness about cancer.

Phyllis Tresidder (left) was president from 1998 to 2001. During that time, she ran for city councillor and was named Woman of the Year for Community Service by the City of Hamilton. Phyllis continues to do community volunteer work while pursuing her passion of house and garden design, using her plentiful artistic skills.

Liz Millar (right) served as president from 2001 to 2003—a challenging time for the association. Using her diplomatic and organizational skills, she steered the association to its next phase. Liz co-ordinates the student nutrition program for Hamilton Partners in Nutrition, located at the Social Planning and Research Council of

Hamilton. These programs, in schools and community-based facilities throughout Hamilton, provide breakfast (before the school bell), early morning meals (between breakfast and lunch), lunches, or snacks. Her work includes program development, training volunteers, menu planning, and writing grant applications. HPIN is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services. See In her spare time, Liz enjoys working in her award-winning garden.

Rob Payne (left) led the AWWCA as president from 2003 to 2007. During that time, many new initiatives took place, including partnerships with McMaster University and the Westdale Business Improvement Area. Rob continues his volunteer work as editor of TownGown World and as past president of the AWWCA, representing us on the board of the Federation of Urban Neighbourhoods. He enjoys working with his father on his new business in cottage country, Redock Outdoor Furniture Inc., building furniture from recycled cedar docks. Occasionally, he has time to relax and read.

John Wigle (left), who grew up in Westdale, was AWWCA president from 2007 to 2011. In addition to being a very busy full- time lawyer in Hamilton, as president he has been a strong leader for the community on such issues as truck traffic and student housing. He often can be seen getting his exercise by walking at a rapid pace through Westdale and Dundas, but is always willing to stop and chat. John is ready to take on hard challenges; he deals with everyone in a civil and direct manner and tries to achieve a consensus.


A board member since 2006, Jay Parlar was elected president of the AWWCA in September 2011.  He has spent most of his life as a resident of our area, attending Prince Phillip for two years before his family moved to Barclay and enrolled him at George R. Allan School.  He continued his education at Dalewood Middle School, Westdale High School, and last but not least McMaster University for his B.Eng. and Ph.D. (2010) in software engineering.  Jay appreciates Westdale so much that he again lives on Barclay, with his dog, wife, two daughters, and son (he’s shown here with Oskar, the youngest).  He now works from home running his own company, Parlar Software Consulting Inc.  Before that he was program manager for GM Canada’s Network on Engineering Complex Software Intensive Systems.  Jay also volunteers as the AWWCA’s webmaster, a job for which he is overqualified, and holds a black belt in GoJu Ryu Karate.