The kids that play soccer today in London, my son included, owe a thank you to Max Gauss and others in the city who set the foundation for London to be a soccer powerhouse.
Max Gauss, 83, died Saturday at Parkwood.
Max started the London City soccer club in 1974 with his son Harry. It would become the longest running pro soccer franchise in Canada. Max was inducted into the London Sports Hall of Fame for his service to the sport.
I covered that team for many years, spending Friday nights in the summer down at Cove Road field and enjoying the schnitzel always served in the press box.
Max never missed a game, sitting in his corner of the press box, always happy to be watching a match, any match.
The team was passed on to his grandson Ryan and by then I would take my boys to the Friday night games. Max continued to be at the games, through poor health.
He would smile whenever he saw a child and he shared his snacks with my kids each week.
On a couple of occasions, Max and his son Reinhart, would meet us for coffee or lunch.
I brought Max and Reinhart to one of my son’s soccer games and Max was completely in his element.
Max would call me on my birthday and I looked forward to hearing from him.
But tragedy struck the Gauss family, too often in the last few years.
Both his son Harry and grandson Paul died too early from brain tumours. Paul was only 19.
Max was never the same after their losses and the death of his wife Magdelene.
His grandson Sean, 29, died in a car crash last month, leaving behind two young children.
And then, Saturday night, Max passed on as well, peacefully, after struggling with illness and a broken heart.
May the eternal pitch be forever green Max. We will miss you down here.