Opinion » Alta States

Alta States

Stand up and be counted - a tribute to Greg Lee



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Rumours abound about the Lee's Toronto household and Greg's early years there. This is what former national team skier Edith Rosza was told about that era: "As I understand it," she says, "Greg had several siblings and I think his father raised them himself. If they were quarrelling, dad would clear out the living room of furniture, and they would have a full-on fight. The deal was that as long as his Dad could beat them all, he was still the boss of the house. Now that's simple and practical parenting!"

Apocryphal? Maybe. But life was never boring when you were around Greg. "He was one year ahead of me at Milneford Jr. High School 1966-68," remembers Dr John Cowdrey. "Even back then he was larger than life and someone I aspired to emulate. The four things I recall about Greg: Teaching me how to jump out the second floor window at school to escape class, his beautiful sister, his patience in teaching me some of the ropes of skiing at the Don Valley Ski Centre, and his genuine warmth in a brief meeting a couple of years ago."

Clearly Greg had a joie-de-vivre that was infectious. And few who spent time in his company over the years were immune to his charms. "Greg, Glen Lynskey, Shelley Sorensen, Roger Moxley and I lived together in West Vancouver when we were in our 20s," writes Shelly Adams from Nelson. "Of course each day was hilarious. Greg would often start the day with Bruce Springsteen playing Thunder Road (and he'd point at me and turn down the music at the point where Bruce sings 'you ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright!) and that was somehow a compliment and I knew it. He'd also be wearing a pink downhill suit and cowboy boots while scrambling his dozen eggs for breakfast claiming he could see his stomach better in a downhill suit while eating... He wore that same outfit when he and I went to see the Village People live one night because he loved that one song 'Young man, I was once in your shoes....'"

But when the lights went on, Sumo's party just kept rolling along. "We drove home in his Cadillac," says Shelley, "with him still wearing that pink suit and honking the horn the whole way home to the tune of "Young Man...!!!"