2020 Hall of Fame Inductees

The Waterloo Region Hall of Fame honours individuals and organizations for their significant contributions to the community. Below are the 2020 Inductees that were nominated then accepted into the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame.

Sharon Bowes
Sharon BowesWaterloo resident and University of Waterloo graduate, Sharon Bowes has been a member of Canada’s National Rifle Team since 1983. She is one of Canada’s most experienced shooters, having competed in Olympic, Commonwealth, and Pan American games. Sharon is the Canadian Record Holder in her specialities, Sport and Air Rifle.

Sharon is a four-time Olympian, having competed in 1984, 1988, 1992, and 2000. She has four Top Ten Olympic finishes, including fourth place at the 1984 Los Angeles and fifth place at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.

In addition, Sharon has the distinction of being the first woman to compete in shooting at the Commonwealth Games, where she is also a record holder. She has won 12 Commonwealth medals and, at the 1986 Commonwealth Games, won silver while competing in the men’s 10m air rifle. Sharon was also the flag bearer for Canada during the closing ceremony of the 1986 Games.

Sharon has five Pan Am medals from eight Pan American competitions. She is a seven-time World Championship team member with two World Cup medals; silver (1992) and bronze (1987).

She has been giving back to her sport as a coach for the Ontario Provincial Team since 1997. Sharon also serves as an Athlete Representative for the Shooting Federation of Canada.

Photo courtesy of University of Waterloo Library, Special Collections & Archives. Kitchener-Waterloo Record Photographic Negative Collection

Craig Crawford
Craig CrawfordBorn in Scarborough and growing up in Markham, Craig Crawford moved to Waterloo in 1990 to attend Wilfrid Laurier University. A multisport athlete, Craig also played hockey and volleyball in his youth before embarking on a career in fastpitch softball.

Internationally, Craig is the most decorated men’s fastpitch player in Waterloo Region’s history, and is considered one of the best catchers and hitters of his era. His junior career included Ontario championships in 1990 and 1991, and an Alberta championship in 1992. In 1991 and 1992, Craig received the All-Star Catcher Award in consecutive National Championships.

In 1993, while still of junior age, Craig was recruited by the Waterloo Twins and started his career in the major level of men’s fastpitch. He was selected for the Canadian Men’s National Softball Team in 1996 and remained an integral part of the team for 13 years.

Craig won two gold medals at the Pan American Games in 1999 and 2003. He also won three medals at the International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championships; silver (1996, 2004) and bronze (2009). In club team competition, Craig has won four International Softball Congress (ISC) and six Canadian National championships.

Retiring as a player from the National team in 2009, Craig has become a mentor for numerous youth by running skills clinics for various local teams.

Photo courtesy of ISC Fastball/Mark Burnham and Rick Kowalczykowski 

Markus Koch

Markus KochMarkus Koch was born in Germany but immigrated to Canada in 1967, at age four, when his family settled in Kitchener. Between 1979 and 1982, Markus attended Eastwood Collegiate where he excelled at football.

In 1982, he was recruited by Boise State University and played defensive lineman with the Broncos until 1985. While playing for the Broncos, Markus was a three-time All-American selection and for three consecutive years (1983-1985) was selected first team for the All-Big Sky Conference. He is considered one of the best defensive players to ever compete for the Broncos.

In 1986, Markus was selected by the Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League (CFL) draft and was a second round pick of the Washington Redskins in the National Football League (NFL) draft.

Choosing the NFL, Markus played with the Redskins for six seasons, until 1991 when he received a career ending injury. While playing for the Redskins, Markus helped the team win Super Bowl XXII in 1988.  

Markus was inducted into the Boise State Hall of Fame in 1993. He is the first German-born player to be drafted to the NFL and the first to win a Super Bowl.

Following his football career, Markus became a licensed massage therapist, practicing craniosacral therapy. He and his wife, Amy, operate a private physical therapy practice in Port Townsend, Washington.

Photo courtesy of Evelyn Embleton

Ladies Art Committee

Ladies Art CommitteeThe Ladies Art Committee, or Kitchener Art Committee, was a group of four art enthusiasts who lived in Berlin (now Kitchener) in the early 1900s.

Sarah Williams, Geneva Jackson, Florence Sims, and Ida Cram endeavoured to create an art gallery within the city. Though they were unsuccessful in creating a bricks-and-mortar facility, their dedication and hard work provided the foundation for the later development of a gallery.

Geneva Jackson was the aunt of Group of Seven painter, A.Y. Jackson, and, in 1921, the Ladies Art Committee mounted one of the first art exhibitions to feature their work. Over the next 22 years, the Committee arranged lectures and exhibitions for local residents.

The Committee purchased five paintings by Group of Seven members and one by Tom Thomson with the proceeds of the lectures. These paintings were intended to be the core collection for the permanent art gallery. Another four paintings were added to the collection and were displayed in different venues throughout Kitchener until 1943.

By this time, Ida and Florence had passed away and plans for the art gallery had not progressed. The controversial decision was made to donate the paintings to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa.

The Ladies Art Committee members’ dream was eventually realized in 1956 with the opening of the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery.

Photo: Geneva Jackson (right side); Florence Sims, Sarah Williams, and Ida Cram (left side, top to bottom)

Photo courtesy of University of Waterloo Library, Special Collections and Archives. Clement & Bowlby family fonds, and George DeKay 

Donald McKee
Donald McKeeDonald “Don” McKee spent 34 years working for what is now the Waterloo Region District School Board, as a teacher, physical education consultant, curriculum superintendent, and principal.

In 1964, Don began to volunteer with the Kitchener Minor Hockey Association, coaching junior hockey teams in Kitchener, Cambridge, and Guelph while maintaining his full-time job as an educator.

Don co-founded the Kitchener Hockey School in 1974, which ran every summer for six weeks until 2004. The school offered high performance hockey instruction from coaches with a teaching and playing background.

From 1985 to 1998, Don served as Head Coach of the University of Waterloo Men’s Varsity Hockey Team. He guided the Warriors to 13 winning seasons, 2 Ontario University Athletic Association (OUAA) West Championships, and 1 Queen’s Cup Championship. In 2006, Don was inducted into the Waterloo Warriors Athletics Hall of Fame.

Since 2010, Don has volunteered as Head Coach with the Canadian Deaf Ice Hockey Federation. In addition to coaching, Don spearheaded fundraising programs to help send men’s deaf teams to competitions around the world.

Don’s accomplishments have been recognized by numerous awards, including: Coach of the Year – Ontario University Athletic Association (1989), Father Kehoe Memorial Trophy (1989), 3M Coaching Canada Award (1997), Gordon Jukes Award (1998), Coach of the Year – Central Professional Hockey League (2001 & 2002), and Volunteer of the Year – Canada Deaf Sports Association (2013).

Photo courtesy of University of Waterloo Library, Special Collections & Archives. Kitchener-Waterloo Record Photographic Negative Collection

Wilhelm Eduard Nassau
Wilhelm Eduard NassauDr. Wilhelm “Willi” Nassau was born in Austria, where he studied fine arts and photography. He worked on various feature film projects in Austria prior to immigrating to Canada in 1959. Here, Willi worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and the CTV network.

In 1969, Willi became the founding director of Audio-Visual Resources at Waterloo Lutheran University, now Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU). He taught media related courses at the university and was a co-founder of TELECOLLEGE, one of the first applications of television used in distance education.

Willi was also a key person in the production of WLU’s promotional 16mm film I Chose Laurier, which won a silver medal at the International Film and Television Festival of New York in 1978.

In addition, Willi created a vast collection of historic photographic and technical media equipment, including 500 cameras, while at WLU. The collection is now shared by Ingenium (former Canada Science and Technology Museum), Ryerson University, and Niagara College.

Willi has been an enthusiastic member of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers, the Society of Film and Television Engineers, and a charter member of the Photographic Historical Society of Canada.

In honour of the outstanding contributions he has made to WLU and the wider community over more than 60 years, Willi was awarded an honorary doctorate from Wilfrid Laurier University in 1991.

Photo courtesy of Photographic Historical Society of Canada/Robert E. Lansdale

John W. Tibbits
John W. TibbitsSince 1987, Dr. John Tibbits has been the President and Chief Executive Officer of Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning. He is currently the longest serving president of an Ontario college.

Under his leadership, Conestoga College has been transformed from a small school of 2,000 students into a leading polytechnic post-secondary institution serving 23,000 full-time and 38,000 part-time students across eight campuses.

John’s vision for growth and development has enabled Conestoga to offer career-focused education and training programs that support the local and regional workforce, and contribute to the well-being of the community. Graduates from the college have reinvested in Waterloo Region creating more than 3,500 businesses locally, and more than 5,000 across Ontario.

In addition, John has held voluntary board positions with many local, provincial, and national industry and community organizations including Grand River Hospital, Polytechnics Canada, Communitech, Skills Canada - Ontario, and the March of Dimes.

He has been recognized with numerous honours and awards, including Business Leader of the Year Award from the K-W Chamber of Commerce (2000), a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce (2011), and a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). John was also inducted into the Skills Canada – Ontario Klaus Woerner Hall of Fame in 2009 and was named a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International in 2011.

Photo courtesy of Conestoga College

Patricia Colleen Wagner (1930-2018)
Patricia Colleen WagnerPatricia “Pat” Wagner was a tireless researcher and avid champion for the preservation of historical landmarks in Waterloo Region.

A volunteer with local heritage committees, including Friends of Doon Heritage Crossroads, Heritage Kitchener, Friends of Joseph Schneider Haus, and North Waterloo Branch Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, testified to Pat’s interest in and advocacy for heritage properties and institutions.

She co-authored the Guide to Historical Resources in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo in 1989. Pat also made a major contribution to the Regional Heritage Planning Advisory Committee’s study of historical bridges. The study played a key role in refurbishing rather than replacing several bridges including the Hartman Bridge in New Hamburg and the Freeport Bridge in Kitchener.

Pat was an early advocate for the preservation of the Governor’s House and Gaol in downtown Kitchener. Along with her fellow activists, Pat helped protect the buildings from demolition, and promoted their re-use. She also took part in the creation of the Walled Garden in the former exercise yard of the gaol.

For her achievements, Pat was presented with the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation Award of Excellence (2003), Ontario Senior of the Year for Waterloo Region (2009), and the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement (2012). In 2019, the Mike & Pat Wagner Heritage Award, part of the City of Kitchener Great Places Awards, was created.

Photo courtesy of Tony Wagner