Since 1988, Avenidas has been honoring community members for the contributions they make to the community with the Avenidas Lifetimes of Achievement Awards. In 2019, a pair of Palo Alto Rotarians - Gloria Hom and Ginny Lear - are being honored. Congrats to both! And last year Dick Mansfield, and his wife Ellie were honored.
Avenidas Lifetime of Achievement honorees unveiled
May garden party will honor notable seniors, fund support programs
by Palo Alto Weekly Staff    / Palo Alto Weekly
The 2019 Avenidas Lifetimes of Achievement honorees, from left moving clockwise, Mary Paine, Mike Turbow, Ellen Turbow, Ginny Lear, Robert Kelly, Ward Paine and Gloria Hom. Photo by Veronica Weber.

From launching a theater company with national reach, to advocating for legislation and programs for those facing end-of-life choices, to preserving tens of thousands of acres of Peninsula hills, baylands and coastside as open space, the people honored with this year's Avenidas Lifetimes of Achievement Award have engaged in meaningful and creative efforts to create change in their local communities and beyond.
The recipients of the annual award are Gloria Hom, Robert Kelley, Ginny Lear, Ward and Mary Paine and Mike and Ellen Turbow.
The honorees were announced at an evening reception on Thursday at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Palo Alto. They will be formally celebrated at an afternoon garden party on May 19, the main annual fundraiser for Avenidas, a Palo Alto-based nonprofit organization that offers tools for positive aging to seniors and their families on the Midpeninsula.
"Avenidas believes it is critical to tell the stories of those who have gone before us and paved the way," Avenidas President and CEO Amy Andonian stated in a press release. "Our area is so rich with intelligent and innovative people who go out of their way to give back, and it is truly heartwarming."
Hom has worn many hats throughout her life — including those of an economist, professor, businesswoman and civic leader — as she's promoted quality of life in her community. As an educator, the Palo Alto native taught generations of students over a 35-year span. She was named "Outstanding Educator of America" and trustee emeritus for the California State University system and received the Seal of California in recognition of her years as a member of the California state Board of Education. Outside the classroom, she attended every Republican National Convention from 1980 through 2008. President Ronald Reagan appointed her to serve on the Advisory Council of the White House Conference on Library and Information Services, and President George H.W. Bush appointed her to the Sallie Mae Board of Directors.
Lear has spent most of her life volunteering for organizations, including the Rotary Clubs of Los Altos and Palo Alto, the Foothill College Foundation Commission and the El Camino Hospital Auxiliary. The longtime Los Altos resident co-founded the Los Altos Community Foundation's "LEAD" program to encourage residents to become better involved in their town. While on the Foothill College Foundation Commission, she helped raise more than $100,000 in one night to support innovation projects. And as fundraising co-chair for the new Los Altos History Museum, she helped raise nearly half of the initial the $3.5 million needed to get the project off the ground. Lear said that from an early age, her parents instilled the values of hard work, simple values and modesty — always with a sense of humor included.
Portola Valley duo Ward and Mary Paine have been key players in preserving large swaths of Peninsula hills, baylands and coastside as permanent open space for public health and enjoyment.