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Garry Zentil, partner at Eagles Nest, passes away

Garry Zentil

Garry Zentil

In recent months I’ve written too many quick obits on this blog for people I’ve known or dealt with through the game of golf. I’m sorry to add to that list.

Garry Zentil was one of four partners behind Eagles Nest GC in Vaughan. Along with Jim DeGasperis, Garry was one of the two forces behind the course’s creation. I worked with him in creating a book to commemorate the development of the club. The intent was to do it while it was still fresh in the minds of those involved. I never imagined that is was necessary at the time. The book came out in late 2010, and now Garry is gone suddenly.

The Zentils are one of the great entreprenuerial success stories in Toronto and own, among other things, the Mayfair sports and fitness clubs. I met Garry there for lunch a number of times. He often contacted me when he came across interesting materials relating to biographical writing. I last saw him at Eagles Nest on the driving range last summer. I hadn’t seen him since the book came out and he pulled me aside and told me how much he enjoyed it and that I was always welcome at the club. I shook his hand and he took off to play, with a big smile across his face.

He’ll be missed.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

21 CommentsLeave a comment

  • Garry passed away far to young and will be greatly missed.
    Garry was truely one of the finest people you could ever meet.
    He touched everyone he met

  • Garry is a friend of mine and was always generous and welcoming. I just sent an e-mail to him yesterday with some funny golf commercials. He had a great sense of humour. This is very sad news and I will miss his big smile.

  • I have known Gary for about 25 years work related and Mayfair Clubs.
    He had a great sense of humour and was alway a pleasure to talk to.
    He will be greatly missed

  • I have kept in touch with Gary since our high school days over 40 yrs ago,
    He was a classy gentleman all the way . He changed very little over that time;
    A trait that is mostly absent in todays business world. He will be missed!

  • They is a saying the good die young!
    My prayers for Garry and his family. He was a generous benefactor to Northmount School several years ago.

  • I personally didn’t know Gary, but he seemed like a very humble man, I would see him many times in the mornings at Eagles Nest before I would tee off, a very polite man.
    You will be missed.

  • I have not seen Garry since our children stopped attending Crescent School a number of years ago. However, on the rare occasions that we did see each other my memory was always of his tremendously warm smile. He died too young and will be missed by many. I offer my condolences to his wife and family.

  • I’ve known Garry for well over 30 years. We were friends and business associates. I gave his company contracts as a project manager. I jokingly referred to him as my employment agency as he was responsible for two of only four of the carreer moves I made. How can he be gone? We travelled to New York city on weekend trips. He was my landlord on St. Regis for over 15 years. We chatted regularly, had lunch several times each year and played tennis at his club. How can he be gone? He was the most easy going, good natured, amiable gentleman that I’ve ever known. Always approachable, always accessible, always there to listen,…even when he had his own issues to deal with. How can he be gone? He was the ultimate positive person, upbeat, sensible and even keeled….someone you rarely heard complain. He was kind and considerate and was always there to lend a helping hand. How can he be gone? Garry always had a joke to brighten your day,…he invariably said yes when you needed a favour,…he always got back to you when you left a message. How can such a nice guy be gone? However, will we go on without him? The world has lost a genuine human being, a philanthropist, a father, a husband, a son, a sibling and a friend. It is an understatement to say that he will be forever missed. My condolences go out to his family and friends.

  • Garry Zentil is a wonderful person, a wonderful man and a wonderful boss.
    It touched my heart when I heard the news. You will be missed.
    Love and prayers to his loving wife Michelle and children, Joe, Paul and the whole family cirlce and friends.

  • Mayfair West will never be the same without GARRY ZENTIL .From me and my family the most felt condolences ,to Michele and family, Joe and family and Paul and family.

  • I got to know Garry many years ago. He was a mentor for me and I will never forget how he always said what he meant and meant what he said. Garry was always so much fun. Today was filled with memories of how Garry made people feel good about themselves. He was truly a man of character. He was so much fun to be around. Thank you Garry for encouraging me to go after my dreams. You will be missed as a friend and a leader.

  • Thanks Gary, had some fun times at your great course. Enjoyed playing with you and listening to Dean Martin in your cart. You were truly a positive force in many lives.

  • I have known Garry for over 20 years.
    MukiBaum was a tenant in his property on Loadstar from 1992 to 2008.
    he was the best landlord that one can ask for.
    Gary was generous and always willing to help.
    he supported me personally whenever i needed his help as a landlord and supported many of MukiBaum;s golf tournaments.

    i spoke with Gary a couple of weeks ago becaue, after so many years of wishing to do it we felt that this year we would be able to have our 2012 charity golf tournament at Eagle’s Nest.
    Gi spoke with Gary and because of him and his support he helped us make this a reality. For the first time MukiBaum will have its 18th Annual Charity Golf Classic on July 23rd, 2012 @ Eagles Nest, Maple.
    Thank you Gary for all these years. You will be in my heart for ever. you will be missed by all that knew you.
    nehama

  • I met Mr Joe Zentil At Mayfair West and joined a group of tennis lovers that he led. I admired him from the beginning and when I met his sons, I said to myself; what a great job Joe has done bringing up his two sons. Garry and Paul showed the same qualities that made his father the most respected members of Mayfair.
    I played double tennis with Joe and his group and sometimes singles with Garry. He always beat me until one day we ended a match in a tie, because I had to go back to work. Under any condition, Garry was always happy and friendly and always respectful of his father. I was impressed at the number of friends Garry had and they all respected him. He was never arrogant or distant. Always telling jokes and showing his brilliant personality. He made the spinning classes more pleasant with his timely remarks…. Garry is going to be missed by many for a long time.

  • Gary personified the true meaning of the word gentleman. He was warm, gracious and had a gentle soul…a real mensch.

    You will be missed by all who had the pleasure to know you.

  • I have known Garry for 31 years through Mayfair West. A gentle and kind man full of happiness and cheer. He was never just a Boss he was also a good friend.
    Lunches will not be the same. He will be missed.

    My deepest condolences to his wife Michele and children, his parents Joe and Wanda, his brother Paul and family, his sister Diane and family.

  • When I heard that Garry Zentil passed away, I had difficulty processing the news. Garry Zentil? Passed away? Something is wrong, this doesn’t sound right. I met Garry nearly thirty years ago. He gave me a job at Luxury Hardware. Garry inspired me, through his words and demeanor, to start my own business. He gave me work when I struck out on my own and trusted me on my word on many occassions. He helped me find confidence in myself, confidence that I still possess today. Meeting Garry had a positive effect on my life. I am convinced that knowing him altered my life for the better. I remember Garry as a considerate and generous person with a zest for life. As the years passed, I lost touch with Garry. Many times I told myself that I would drop in on him and say hello. With my busy schedule, I never could find the right time. I was going to see him last week but then told myself that he must be busy. I didn’t want to bother him. I now regret that decision. Although I have not seen Garry for a numbers of years, I thought of him as a friend. Garry will be missed. I offer my deepest condolences to all the Zentil family.

  • I just spoke to my dad Frank Ilavsky tonight who told me the news. He was very sad to hear about the death of Gary. Unfortunately, he was not able to make it to the funeral but was thinking about him and his loved ones.

  • First I would like to express my condolences to Gary’s family and his many many friends and colleagues. I had the pleasure of working with Gary as my landlord over the last ten years. Without a doubt he was my favouirite landlord and I would always look forward to meeting with him. We went out for lunch at one of his fitness centers, shared notes on diet and exercise and would have great discussions about many subjects.
    He will be missed.

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