LONDON, Ont. - Bob Gage was known across the country as the dean of Canada's amateur-sports reporters and a man of unflagging character and enthusiasm.
Gage, who retired in 1982 after a storied 33-year career with the London Free Press, died Sunday in hospital.
He was 89.
Gage, who broke a hip in a fall last Tuesday and then contracted pneumonia, often said it was a labour of love to work at the Free Press and cover amateur sports, particularly high school and university athletics.
Gage is in every major University of Western Ontario sports hall of fame. That includes the football wall of champions, the basketball wall of honour, track and field, and the men's athletic alumni hall, known as the W Club.
The weight room in the Michael Kirkley Mustang Training Centre in TD Waterhouse Stadium is named after him.
He was a member of the W Club, elected in 1989 in the builder category. He was also a member of its advisory board and, for years, edited its newsletter.
Gage was born Jan. 1, 1920 in Smithville, near St. Catharines. After graduating from high school in Burlington, Gage attended Assumption College in Windsor, then a Western affiliate.
After serving in the Canadian military during the Second World War, Gage joined the Free Press in 1949.
Ted Hessel, a retired London high school teacher and past W Club president, became Gage's close friend in recent years.
"He was just a super, super person," Hessel said.
"You know, they loved him at Kensington Village (Gage's northwest London nursing home). The nurses loved him. He would dance with them, yup, just up and start dancing with them."Former Western men's basketball coach Jerry Gonser said Gage was a "delight to be around and a true champion of amateur sport."
"He loved track, he had a good feel for it. It was hard to get him to choose between sports, but I think track was his favourite," Gonser said.
"He was respected in all circles, and he loved to boost up-and-coming athletes in all sports. He never varied from that."
Gage's love of track and field is epitomized by an annual award in his honour, presented to the top graduating male and female athletes in the Thames Valley Region Athletic Association.
Gage, nicknamed Scoop, attended six Olympic Games: Rome in 1960, Tokyo in '64, Mexico City in '68, Munich in '72, Montreal in '76 and Seoul in 1988. He was there to work at all but Seoul.
A funeral is set for Wednesday at 10 a.m. at St. Mary's Church, at Lyle and York streets, in London. A tribute will follow in the church hall at 11 a.m.