Augustus's Story

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Gus was a successful entrepreneur and businessman but more than that - he was a multi-talented human being who loved people and with his ready sense of humor was great fun to be with. He was born in Madawaska, Maine up on the Canadian border to Augustus P. Gregory, Sr. and Laura Lemieux Gregory.

Gus was proud of his heritage. His family migrated to Canada from Orleans, France and was part of the original eleven families to settle in Quebec. The house of Roy has its own plaque with the date of 1725. Gus visited this home just two years ago. The Gregoire family migrated to the USA by wagon trail in the early 1800's settling in Fairfield and Waterville, Maine.

Gus' father moved his family to Bucksport, Maine where he became chief chemist for a newly built paper mill. Gus grew up in Bucksport graduating from the local high school, Kents Hill Jr. College, and the University of Maine. Wanting some adventure, he then joined the US Air Force and graduated from the USAF Cadet Program 53A. He became a jet fighter pilot and served 3 1/2 years in the Pacific Theatre - Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan earning 5 area ribbons, 2 combat ribbons and the "Badge of Honor" presented at his home by two members of the Taiwanese State Department.

He decided to leave the Air Force and join Bethlehem Steel in New England where he became responsible for the nuclear components of two large ships under construction. His success led to other managerial and executive positions at industrial companies in New England. He married and fathered three children: Mark, Pamela, and Andrea.

He moved his family to Boca Raton, Florida where he became administrator of the large hospital in Boynton Beach. He was an active member of the community and founded needed organizations including Boca Raton Academy. He was honored with the Presidents' Award from the Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce for his service. He also formed a real estate company as well as becoming President of one of the two Florida Real Estate appraisers groups.

Divorced in 1981, he met Joyce Wrenn in December of 1982 in a Boca Raton home building store one Saturday morning. She was looking for house numbers for her new home and he stepped up and offered to help. Some weeks later, when he proposed marriage she told him she didn't come alone, she came with Santa Cruz. They were married in February of 1985. His special wedding gift to her was a song which he com- posed, both words and music, called Our Life. It was sung at the ceremony by a fellow he brought down to Florida from Maine. And it was played at the reception for their opening dance.

Her job took her to San Francisco, Dallas, and Omaha and Gus initially commuted but decided to sell his Florida business and join her full time. Gus continued to work in business ventures and then retired to spend more time on philanthropic interests and write books.

One of his most significant achievements was establishing the 10,000 sq. ft. Rand Community Center in Missouri Valley, Iowa. He took it from initial vision through funding, building, and ongoing operation. It serves today as a hub for the many community activities, including the children's Christmas Party, Seniors' meetings and food service, and emergency housing for severe weather events.

In 2000, Gus and Joyce left Omaha and Missouri Valley and drove west to Santa Cruz. Gus taught Joyce to fish and together they traveled the world for adventure, insight, and fishing. An annual trip to Alaska produced enough fish for the freezer to last a whole year. One of the most exciting fishing trips was to a remote cabin in upper Scandinavia where there were many moose along the trails and signs warning to 'Watch for Muskoxen'.

In Santa Cruz, Gus continued to write books. He co-authored with photographer Dave Clark a coffee table book, " Reflections of the Santa Cruz Harbor, a Portal to Monterey Bay". All proceeds went to the O'Neill Sea Odyssey. He republished a book for children he had written in Florida called "Animals and Things". He also collected the poems he had written and added a few other favorites in a book, "Poetry, American Humor, and a Few Dirty Jokes". He had been called so many times by people around the country asking how he produced the Rand Community Center that he wrote "The Money Tree", a how to for those wishing to do the same.

Gus died peacefully at his home here in Santa Cruz and is survived by his 'wingman', Joyce Wrenn of Santa Cruz, his three children, Mark Gregory, Pamela Gregory John and husband Robert John, Andrea Gregory Pooley and husband Thomas Pooley, and his step-daughter, Brie Wrenn and husband Jerry Sweetland and Gus's grandchildren Jake and Kate Sweetland.

A celebration with fond reflections of Gus's life will be shared at the Santa Cruz Yacht Club (244 4th Ave.) in Santa Cruz on August 3rd at 12 noon. A private committal at sea will take place the following morning. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Gus's memory to the O'Neill Sea Odyssey at oneillseaodyssey.org or to PANDAS, a children's disease research and education program, at pandasnetwork.org.
Published on  July 27, 2016
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