My first recollection of meeting Gus was back in 2004. Gus was already a seasoned ambassador for the OTA and I remember him showing up in Morgan Park with his big green van all decked out in OTA logos. I had asked the OTA to help us with our club's Pathways event during the Markham Music Festival in June. I guess I was expecting a crew of people to set up all the equipment, but instead, Gus arrived by himself and single handedly unloaded a smash cage and large tent and proceeded to assemble them all on his own, insisting that he had done this countless times before and was fine doing it himself. At that end of the day, Gus returned to take down everything and load it into his van for another day. Gus never said much, but before he left, he made a point of handing over to me a nice bottle of his home-made red wine (the first of many I received since then I might add!)
As my involvement with the OTA and officiating grew, so did my encounters with Gus. Another fond memory I have of Gus was at the Junior Outdoor Provincials held at Kew Gardens Tennis Club. I was officiating at the time and would always arrive early at 7am to get one of the first parking spots on the street. Gus was always there ahead of me and had already attached the scorecards to all the net posts and was high on top a ladder attaching OTA signage to the front fence. Then he would assemble the pop-up OTA tent for the tournament desk and fill a bowl with his favourite candies for all the kids and parents to enjoy throughout the week.
Gus was always so generous with his time, whether he was driving juniors to and from the indoor nationals at Mayfair Parkway, treating them to a nice buffet at Frankie Tomatoes, or driving our Davis Cup team between the Halifax Marriott hotel and the Metro Centre for matches, Gus was always there giving in some way and never asking for anything in return.
Gus was a quiet man, but once you really got to know him, he would share something special with you; perhaps sausages on his BBQ, complemented with his home-made wine, and maybe, if he was in the right mood, Gus the jokester would emerge with one of his humorous one-liners.
I remember visiting Gus at Sunnybrook Hospital on Sep 26, 2014. Still recovering from a heart attack he had experienced a week earlier and looking quite frail, the only thing he wanted was to walk out of the hospital and carry on with his commitments to the tennis community. He had no desire for further tests and procedures. He needed to be active and out there, helping in some way, for the kids.
This last encounter really sums up what Gus was all about. Giving instead of receiving, and that's why we have all been blessed by his presence on this Earth. And now it's time for Gus to receive. Get some rest my friend, enjoy your favourite fishing hole, play a little tennis, and treat yourself. You deserve it.
Proud to have known you
Scott Fraser, President, OTA
To view Gus' full obituary, visit The Toronto Star website