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Former MP Gus Mitges dies at 90

Former member of Parliament and Owen Sound alderman Dr. Gus Mitges died Sunday at Guelph General Hospital.

D r. Constantine (Gus) Mitges, a veterinarian by profession, was born Feb. 5, 1919, in Psili Vrisi, Greece, came to Canada at the age of six and was raised in Guelph. Before spending more than 20 years as an MP, Dr. Mitges served as a city school board member in Owen Sound in the early 1960s, then became an alderman in 1966.

He served on city council until 1972, the year he was elected Progressive Conservative MP in the riding of Grey- Simcoe, which included Collingwood. He was re-elected in the riding in 1974, 1979, 1980, 1984 and was elected in 1988 in Bruce-Grey after federal ridings were changed. He retired from federal politics in 1993 and did not seek reelection that year.

Owen Sound City-county councillor Arlene Wright, who was both a friend and served as Dr. Mitges' campaign manager the last two times he ran for office, said he was a people person.

"We used to kid him and say, 'You have been on there long enough. Is it not time to be a cabinet minister?'" said Wright. "He would say, 'No, I am much happier when I am helping out my constituents.' That's what he was. He was a constituency man and he did not care for the other stuff."

During his time as the federal representative with Collingwood in the early 1980s, he worked with local officials to prevent the shutdown of the Collingwood Shipyards.

He was married to Yolanda (Odorico) and was predeceased by his first wife, Velma (Martin). His children include George, Angela, Kent and Gwen and step-children Santina and Yolanda.

Dr. Mitges was also involved in amateur theatre. He served as president of the Owen Sound Little Theatre for 1960- 62 and again for 1969-70 and was involved in the Western Ontario Drama League. He was also a director of Theatre Ontario in 1971.

He also was a Mason and member of the Oddfellows.

He received one of Greece's top civilian awards in 1995, when he was made a Commander of the Order of the Phoenix for his work as president of the Greece Parliamentary Association.

Dr. Mitges was predeceased by his first wife, Velma. His children include George, Angela, Kent and Gwen and step-children Santina and Yolanda.

A funeral service was be held at St. George's Anglican Church in Owen Sound on Thursday before interment in Greenwood Cemetery.

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