, Salem, MA

November 4, 2013

Letter: Remembering John 'Mr. G' Gattis

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

My mother was famous for saying, “Be thankful for everything you have.” That meant having a roof over your head, clothes on your back, food on the table, and people who love and support you. I put John Galaris in the people-who-love-and-support-you category. I am thankful for all the time I spent with John and Mary Ellen, affectionately known as Mr. and Mrs. G. When I transferred to Salem State in the early ’80s, Mr. and Mrs. G. were two of the first to welcome me to Salem.

I spent a lot of time in the O’Keefe Center. If I wasn’t in the gym, I was in John’s office. I remember the many conversations with Mr. G. From my first conversation as a skinny (no jokes, please) college kid trying to get acclimated to a new environment, to his tips on playing the game of basketball. Not sure if you’re aware, but John was not-to-shabby of a basketball player. In fact, an argument can be made that when John would practice with the basketball team, he was the best player on the court; he in his 40s and we in our late teens/early 20s. He made me a better player and more importantly, a better man.

There were many a time sitting in his office or in their living room just listening (and listening and listening and listening) to his sage advice. I’m thankful for them entrusting me to stay in their home when they went away on vacation; giving me the keys to the Cadillac to drive to the beach, oops, I meant bring to the car wash; Mrs. G’s delicious pasta dinners; to John’s calming influence when Joy (my wife) and I were anxious and nervous about the possibility of being able to afford a house. John knew his finances. Give John a couple of hours in D.C. and there wouldn’t be a debt crisis or a government shutdown.

The world would be a much better place if there were more Mr. G’s in the world.

Nate Bryant