The Art of Being a Gentleman

Posted on November 12, 2016 under Storytelling with 10 comments


Sandy Ross 1920-2016 : a man who treats other people in a proper and polite way

( Source : Merriam- Webster Dictionary )

There should be an asterisk besides this definition. It should include the name of Sandy Ross.

Sandy and Rita were part of the old gang that called Hillcrest Street home. For most of their married life, this beautiful couple would start their day by walking up past Mount Saint Bernard  and around the corner to St. Ninian’s Cathedral to attend mass at 7:00 a.m. And then it was down the hill and on to the Main to the Bergengren Credit Union for Sandy ,where he and his good pal and confidant, P.D. MacDonald,  toiled for oh so many years. These two quiet and unassuming men, took the Credit Union from humble beginnings and turned it into a tour de force.

Many words have been used to describe Sandy, none better than those of Iain Boyd,  an old family friend. “ Upon hearing of Sandy’s death, the following thoughts came quickly to mind: a true gentleman – they don’t come any better; a smart, kind and thoughtful fellow; respectful, a quick wit. He was debonair, shrewd, a faithful Catholic, a loving husband and father. A person you aspired to be. And a baker’s helper.”

Sandy had a keen interest in so many things, in no small part because of his voracious appetite for reading. He consumed the Globe and Mail and the New York Times long before it became fashionable. Although he would never admit it, Sandy was quite sophisticated and urbane. He could carry on a conversation with anyone, at any time on virtually any subject. When he retired and had more time for leisure, he would stop you on the street to find out what was going on in your world. And more often than not, he would tell you a funny story.

 “ Sandy was the best dressed man in Antigonish. He was always impeccably turned out, with crisp shirts and lovely silk ties, shoes always polished and sharp creases in his trousers,” according to Boyd.

He had a passion for many things but nothing would get Sandy’s attention quicker than a discussion on sports. His memory of statistics for hockey and baseball was legendary. You could ask him about almost any player from his era and he could give you an answer just as quick as a Google search. As the years went by, he no longer watched most sports on television fearing for his health, such was the passion he had for athletics.

He worshipped Patsy and Allan and any time you met him, their names would inevitably come up in conversation.

In his final years, he resided , first at the Sylvan Valley Apartments followed by Green Meadows. The residents of both places had great admiration for Sandy.  His mind stayed sharp right up until the end. One thing that most people would not know is that Sandy had a lovely voice. Whether at mass or at one of the sing songs at Green Meadows, he added harmonies that were subtle and sweet.

And no one can ever remember him uttering a disparaging word about anybody … but he came close when queried about Donald Trump!

When you book a first class ticket on an airplane, you get the best of everything. When you are a first class person, the best is expected. Sandy never disappointed.


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10 Responses to The Art of Being a Gentleman

  1. Good job Len!…Sandy was a true gentleman in every sense of the word!

  2. Paula Lowe says:

    Well done, Len! You hit the nail on the head. HUGS

  3. Beth Hodder says:

    Sandy was everything you said and he will be missed

  4. Sandy MacEachern says:

    Excellent overview of Mr. Sandy Ross. I enjoyed discussing the history of Main St with Sandy a few times recently. As a student at ‘X’I would meet him most mornings on my way to an early class, as he headed to the Credit Union with a smile and perhaps a little side story.
    GREAT gentleman and Antigonisher.

  5. Donna van Rossum says:

    What a wonderful tribute to Sandy, Len!! I cut Sandy & Rita’s hair for most of my hairdressing career & they were much more than clients to me….we developed a wonderful friendship & they enjoyed our little shitzu, Jesse so much! The feeling was mutual, as Jesse would sit very close to whichever one was waiting for the other to have their hair done! (Always rewarded with a good back rub!) Sandy was very witty indeed…..One of his quotes (that I happen to use often) was “There is nothing worse than people!”…..he said to our little fur baby on one occasion !!! I share his love for chocolate & we would sometimes share a bite or two! I feel honoured to have been a part of this true gentleman’s life! Thanks for sharing your thoughts…..very well said! As, Allan said to me at his wake, “Big shoes to fill!” 🙂

  6. A real gentleman and a pleasure to have known and worked with

  7. Allan Roberts says:

    I first met Sandy when I was going the St.F.X. During the summers I would earn a little spending money, which I put in the Credit Union.I always admired Sandy’s penmanship.At that time, Sandy and P.D.MacDonald were Bergengren Credit Union. It is largely due to these men, that the Credit Union is what it is today. Allan Roberts

  8. Debbie Archibald says:

    Well said! I had the privilege of working with Sandy at Bergengren many years ago. It was my first job out of school and he took me (as he did so many others)under his wing. He was a true gentleman and very well respected.

  9. Marjorie MacHattie says:

    Sandy was everything that you said he was Len, and more. I was very fond of him.

    My daughter -in-law, Dauphine has made sure that I have all of your books. Some day I will have you autop-graph them for me. I value them highly.


  10. Cathy MacDonald says:

    Sandy was my mentor when I joined the credit union staff in 1976! I enjoyed his old fashionedness and desire for perfection “to the cent”! He was not only a relative but a good friend. It was a pleasure to visit he and Rita at Hillcrest, Sylvan Valley and at Green Meadows. I was so saddened by his death and miss him dearly.

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