Hamilton philanthropist Margaret Juravinski, who left major health-care legacy, dies at 91

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Published May 11, 2023 at 3:12 pm

High-profile philanthropist and lifelong Hamiltonian Margaret Juravinski, who was known for her enormous commitment to supporting health research and the health-care system, has died at age 91.

“Our community has benefitted greatly from the Juravinskis’ incredible generosity, and thanks to the #JuravinskiLegacy gift, #HamOnt and beyond will benefit from health research in perpetuity,” The Research Institute of St. Joe’s Hamilton tweeted in response to the announcement of her death Thursday, May 11.

Juravinski, who left a “transformational philanthropic legacy in Hamilton,” died May 9 in Hamilton, the Juravinski Research Institute announced in a press release.

Over more than two decades, Margaret and her husband Charles donated more than $68.8 million to Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. Their generosity resulted in the naming of Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre at Hamilton Health Sciences, the Juravinski Innovation Tower at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton’s Charlton Campus, the Margaret & Charles Juravinski Centre for Integrated Healthcare at St. Joseph’s West 5th Campus and Margaret’s Place Hospice at St. Joseph’s Villa.

“The passing of a pillar of our community can leave a tremendous void in our hearts, but Margaret left us an incredible legacy that will live on. Because of Margaret and her late husband Charles, our city is home to world-class healthcare facilities that bear their names, and we are at the epicenter of health research thanks to the work underway by the Juravinski Research Institute,” Melissa Farrell, president at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, said in a statement.

Margaret was raised in East Hamilton during the Great Depression. Her mantra was “sharing is caring,” according to the release.

“It’s what we want to do for the community because we care for this community … caring and sharing is the general idea we hope other people would pick up on,” Margaret said in a 2019 interview.

She and her husband Charles were married for more than 65 years. Charles, who saw his wife as his top adviser and partner, died Feb. 16, 2022, at 92.

“While Charles may have been the more vocal of the pair, both he and Margaret made it clear time and time again that the success of their 65-year-plus marriage relied heavily on the fact that they were partners: in business, in marriage and in life,” the release said.

Margaret met Charles Juravinski while working at the Woolworth’s counter, making sandwiches following the war. She helped her husband manage Flamboro Downs for 30 years until it was sold in 2003.

“Today, we mourn the loss of a true champion for the health and prosperity of Hamilton. Margaret Juravinski and her husband, Charlie, embodied the spirit of philanthropy. Selfless to her core, Margaret sought to make Hamilton a better place by improving the quality of health care for patients at all stages of life. Giving was part of her DNA, having spent much of her golden years inspiring others to make gifts to causes close to their hearts,” Dr. Julian Dobranowski, chair of Juravinski Research Institute Steering & Scientific Committees, said in a statement.

Over the last four years, Charles and Margaret made new gifts totalling $16.5 million through their foundation to support research on child and youth health, integrated care, burn research, macular degeneration, health system transformation, COVID-19 and brain health, according to the release.

“Margaret never minced words – she was deeply and genuinely committed to improving the lives of all patients. Margaret and Charles Juravinski were a force to be reckoned with in our community, and great friends of Hamilton Health Sciences. We are forever grateful for their compassion and endless generosity,” said Rob MacIsaac, president and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences, in the release.

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