He's been battling cancer for quite a while now, but stayed active with the Uncle Sam Day Parade Committee, as well as helping out with the weekly 50/50 raffle at the Powers Park Concerts. Gus served on the parade committee since day one, and was active in making people remember, and advocating for the Korean War vets. If Gus happened to enter the concerts while I was on stage with a live microphone, I would always announce his entrance --sometimes telling people he was the last remaining Civil, or Spanish American War vet alive. He always took my insults for what they were--me just joking with a friend.
I used to tell Gus that when his time came, St. Peter would open up the pearly gates of Heaven for him quick so he could get away from Shirley faster. We had some incredible conversations over the 13 years I've been involved with the parade. I liked this man, I loved this man, and I respected this man. Like many veterans, Gus didn't like to get into details of certain aspects of war. But the stories he did share of his time overseas were fascinating, to say the least.
I would sometimes call him, 'Cotton Hill', from a character on the TV show, King of the Hill. He never knew what the heck I was talking about, but would laugh, and raise a fist in mock anger at me -cause he knew the remark was probably not a compliment! Gus and Shirley loved the attention I showered on them over the years, both from the Troy stages, and in this newspaper.
The parade certainly won't be the same without him -same for the concerts. To his 8 children, along with my friend Shirley, my heartfelt sympathies go out to each and every one of you -- his family. Gus was hero in my book. I'll miss him a great deal.