Nanaimo philanthropist Sidney Sharman dies at age 92

NANAIMO – Philanthropist Sidney Sharman donated hundreds of thousands of dollars toward health care.

Nanaimo philanthropist Sidney Sharman has died.

Sharman, who owned Sharman Mobile Park in north Nanaimo, died on Friday at 92 years of age, following a long illness.

The local businessman was a benevolent contributor and one of the most generous donors for the city in recent times, according to Mayor John Ruttan, who called his death a sad loss for the community.

Sharman donated to a number of causes, from the restoration of the city’s iconic Bastion to Vancouver Island University’s nursing department and St. John Ambulance. He stood up and got behind projects, Ruttan said.

“I think that was really one of the most significant contributions he made, not only the money he contributed, but the causes he supported. He’d look at those he particularly respected and wanted to promote and really got behind them,” Ruttan said. “A lot of the projects probably wouldn’t have happened without his significant contributions that in many cases [were] the deciding amounts that made these things possible.”

Among his contributions, Sharman donated hundreds of thousands of dollars toward health care including $1 million to St. John Ambulance to help volunteers attend post-secondary school for health-related careers. He also donated $1 million to Vancouver Island University’s nursing department to support annual scholarships for fourth-year students and $350,000 for a new state-of-the-art simulation lab in 2012. In a press release two years ago, he had said if he could help ensure Vancouver Island had some of the best trained nurses, it’d be an excellent investment.

“I think there’s no better profession to support than nursing,” he said then. “After all, everyone needs a nurse, from the minute they’re born, to the minute they die.”

Sharman is survived by his wife, Gladys.