A Tribute to Uncle Gus

When I was informed of Uncle Gus passing away, I was deeply saddened and at a true loss for words. Uncle Gus was an important presence among so many people, and I feel humbled to have had the honor of having him in my life. His affability and kindness made him a stand out personality to so many. And although his list of friends and acquaintances spanned the globe, he managed to play a personal role in each of me and my brothers’ lives. And this is but one of many things that made him special, the fact that someone so important in his community and in the lives of so many others made time to talk with you about your life, take interest in everything you did, and listen to you with such an open and compassionate ear.

On a recent trip to NYC, I parked near Morningside Gardens- Uncles Gus and Elmer’s old apartment complex. I thought of how my brothers and I would marvel at Uncle Gus’s celebrity-like status within the apartments. From a child’s perspective, It would seem at times as if all of Manhattan knew Gus and Elmer. Looking back, this would not have surprised me at all, as it was in their nature to be personable and amiable to anyone who had the pleasure to cross paths with them. Their apartment in Morningside was unique in design and location, and I remember countless nights as a child sitting at their dining room table, looking out over the northern portion of Manhattan while listening to Uncle Gus and Elmer talk to other family members so deeply and intently that my brothers and I would often fall asleep before the conversation ended. It was always a thrill for us as children to go there, as we would be within the veritable museum of antiques and collectibles that was their apartment.

So much about Uncle Gus was fascinating. His travels, his perspectives, his life, all of which create nothing short of a remarkable story. He was a sharp-dresser, attentive to every detail, and even in old age, held an amazing memory. Years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Uncle Gus for school about his life and our family’s history, and with a perfect memory and precise tone, he was able to recount events throughout the range of his life that were remarkable in their richness and importance.

It is still hard to even think that Uncle Gus has left. For so many of his friends and family, he seemed to be omnipresent. Whether it was on the front page of the Metro Section in the New York Times, around the table at the holidays, or at one of the many spots he and Elmer would bring friends and family to in New York when visiting, Gus graced every corner of our lives. Because of this, it seems impossible to believe that such a remarkable person is gone. In his passing, Uncle Gus has left us the true honor of knowing someone who lived life and loved everyone around him. While it is hard to think he is no longer with us, it warms me to think of the gifts Uncle Gus gave us in his life.

“To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.”

We’ll miss you always, Uncle Gus


Charlie, Matt, and Nick

1 Comment

  1. December 8, 2012  2:04 pm by Christina Dean Reply

    Charlie, I loved reading this. It is heart warming to know Uncle Gus inspired so many in our family. He was very proud of you & your brothers & loved you all.

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