Barrhaven lost a true icon last week.
Clarence “Gus” Este passed away in his 92nd year, leaving behind a local legacy that is both unmatched and inspiring.
Gus Este was a Korean War Veteran who served 34 years with the Canadian Armed Forces. He first joined the Canada Post, Branch 79 of The Royal Canadian Legion (RCL) in Montreal in 1953. Since then, Mr. Este has been a member of various branches, including in Oromocto, Trenton, Nepean–now Westboro and Bells Corners. A charter and founding member of Barrhaven Branch 641, he was active since transferring from his previous location. Este has served as poppy chairman, service officer and branch chairman. In May 2011, he was elected president and held a longtime seat on the executive. Throughout his notable involvement with the RCL, Este made service to Veterans his top priority.
In 2016, Gus Este was presented with the Order of Ottawa.
In 2013, the park located at 26 Brookstone Street was named the Gus Este Park to recognize the local veteran on the 60th anniversary of the Korean War.
“I am very saddened to learn of the passing of my friend and hero Gus Este – a great Canadian, community leader and Korean War veteran,” Councillor Steve Desroches wrote on the X platform formerly known as Twitter. “Gus was a friend to many and admired and respected for his service to his country and for his steadfast support for veterans. Condolences to Olive and family.”
Fellow councillor Wilson Lo also paid tribute to Este on X.
“Remembering a respected community member today, who passed away recently. Gus Este was a Korean war veteran, founding member of the Royal Canadian Legion’s Barrhaven branch, and devoted so much time to #Nepean and Ottawa. Rest well, you’ll be missed.”
Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod knew Este well even before her six election victories to serve the community as the Member of Provincial Parliament.
“A hero left us last night,” MacLeod wrote on X. “Rest easy Gus Este. Our country and our community thank you for your service from the Korean War, to helping found the Barrhaven Lions Club to founding the Barrhaven Legion.”
In 2020, the Barrhaven Independent celebrated its 30th anniversary by running an award-winning series of features called “30 years, 30 people” to recognize 30 community builders and inspirational people over the past 30 years. The first person they featured was Gus Este, who was recognized for being a relentless volunteer, leader and builder with the Barrhaven Lions Club and the Barrhaven Legion. Este was also an employee of the Barrhaven Independent for many years before his retirement.
“I don’t think there is a person out there who has given more to his community as a volunteer than Gus Este has,” said Jeff Morris, Barrhaven Independent owner who was editor at the time. “Gus was about as heart-and-soul as it gets. It’s an honour to have known him and to have considered him a friend. The community of Barrhaven is blessed to enjoy the fruits of so many of his labours as a volunteer.”
Este was also instrumental in having the Barrhaven Cenotaph built at its current location in front of John McCrae Secondary School.