Dad was quite a guy.
After his sudden death in February, 1992 the family received literally thousands of notes and letters from his fans. Many said the same thing: "He was the best friend I never met."
Dad touched many lives over his long career in journalism, which included his column - which appeared first in the Hamilton Spectator and then in the Toronto Star - a National Newspaper Award for sports writing, a stint as Managing Editor of the Toronto Star, plus his TV and radio work. I've put together a brief biography here.
I get a lot of requests for copies of his books. They are all out of print now, but you can go to www.abebooks.com and type "Gary Lautens" in as author and find a couple hundred second hand copies at great prices (even a few autographed ones!).
We have one final volume of his family columns ready to go, but the Canadian publishing industry being what it is (don't get me started), we have yet to find a hard copy publisher for it. Well... the internet to the recue! The family is now in the process of assembling Dad's last book of columns as an eBook, for the new generation of iPad, Kindle, Kobo and NOOKbook readers. Watch this space for details.
We've set up a scholarship at McMaster University in his memory, and yes, they accept donations from the public.
The Lautens family donated his private papers - including his original drafts of columns, correspondence and personal memorabilia - to McMaster University. It is available for research purposes on the lower level of Mills Library.
Dad was one of those rare people who was the same in person as he was in public. And for someone who made his living in such a public way, he was a very shy and private person.
Through his columns his readers got to know our family, and we have been happy to share our favourites again. We reprinted his two Leacock Award-winning books, Take My Family Please and No Sex Please, We're Married in a single volume called The Best of Gary Lautens. Some of his last (and I think best) columns were published under the title Peace, Mrs. Packard and the Meaning of Life.
In the meantime, for those of you who miss your daily walk with Dad, I've reprinted here two of his most requested columns, called Advice from the Groom's Dad about my wedding, and another called A Country Called Canada.
I hope you like them.
I've also recently digitized a couple of radio interviews my father did and you can now listen to (MP3 format files). Here is dad talking with another great Toronto columnist, Gary Dunford in 1989. In 1983 dad was out promoting "Take My Family Please" and spoke with Stan Keroo in this radio clip. In 1983 he also spoke with the late Tom Fulton in this interview.
An interview with the family is on YouTube, recorded in 1995 with CTV's Sandi Rinaldo.