Anyone who knew Gary Lautens knew that he was Hamilton. He spent his formative years in Hamilton and loved the town. He regularly mentioned it in his Toronto Star columns. He drew smiles nearly every day of his 40-year newspaper career with his down-to-earth columns on sports, daily life, and especially, his family.
Gary began his lifelong love of the newspaper business early. He went to work at the Spectator at age 13, after school and during the summers. He graduated from Central Collegiate, then from McMaster, with a Bachelor's degree in History, at which time he was editor of the McMaster Silhouette. The year he was editor, the Silhouette won, for the first time, the prestigious Jacques Bureau trophy, an award for small circulation newspapers. He joined the Spectator in 1950 and worked there for twelve years, having various assignments such as police reporter, sports writer and columnist. He won numerous Western Ontario Newspaper Awards for journalism.
He joined the Toronto Star in 1962, and won many awards and accolades over his thirty years at the Star, including a National Newspaper Award in sports writing in 1965. He was named Executive Managing Editor in 1982 and later editor emeritus. Gary published four books in his lifetime, twice winning the Stephen Leacock Award for Humour (Take my family... Please! and No Sex Please... We're Married). He maintained his McMaster ties by serving on numerous committees for the university, was made an honourary member of the Lettermen's Association and presented with a Lifetime Leadership Achievement Award.
Gary had that human quality in his writing that created a bond with his readers. He died much too young at age 63. The Star set up a memorial book in their lobby for people to sign and were overwhelmed when people lined up for three days and signed over seven books of condolence.
He was a very human, joyful, thoughtful, gifted man. All this came through in his writings.