It was because Gordon Stollery loved life that he became larger than life when he was in a room, always laughing, always jovial and usually with time for everybody around Angus Glen. That’s how I will always remember him after the shocking news of his passing yesterday.
When I worked at Angus Glen, I would meet people who would tell me, `Hey, I met Gordon Stollery,’ which wasn’t surprising since he would meet golfers, sit down with them and truly enjoy the experience.
Even though he was a successful businessman, he had time for everybody, including me. The Stollery family gave me a chance to run a huge operation when I was only 30 and they were always great to my family. What more could I ask?
I was hired at Angus Glen in 1993, before it even opened. My kids were born when we were living at the farmhouse out by the range. Gordon and his sister Laurie McLaughlin, took Angus Glen from 18 to 36 holes and, of course, he built Goodwood, near Uxbridge, Ont.
However, it was more than a successful business. It was a family business that was so inclusive for me, my wife Heather and our two kids.
Look at all the people who have stayed at Angus Glen for 10 to 15 years, many who have been there from the beginning. Very few people left because of the family environment — the Stollerys were good to us and, hopefully, we were good to the Stollerys.
It was that attitude that got everybody behind Gordon and his family as Angus Glen hosted Canadian Opens, an LPGA event and a Telus Skins Game over the years.
It was bold and the Stollery family had to be OK with hosting such high-profile events and take a financial risk to pull it off, but the staff rallied around them.
Angus Glen was recognized as No. 1 in customer service for about 10 consecutive years and the reason for that was the staff. So often we hear the word team, but it really was at Angus Glen because people would go the extra mile for the golf club and the Stollerys.
I walk in there to this day and there are about 30 people who have been there 10 to 15 years. It’s amazing. When I was at Angus Glen, I never applied for a job. I was happy and I thought I would retire there.
When I did leave Angus Glen for Coppinwood, it was because a lot of friends were there and it was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass over, but it didn’t make it any easier to leave the family environment that Gordon and his family inspired.
I’m sad today and I feel for his wife Judy and his seven daughters, but I will always remember Gordon Stollery as larger than life.