Saturday, September 30th marked a celebration of Maury East, founder of Killarney Mountain Lodge.
To many including myself, Maury was an inspiration, a model for entrepreneurs and tourism operators, and a champion for Northern Ontario.
Gougeon Insurance Brokers was honoured to have him as our client for over 20 of the 53 years that he ran the lodge.
Working with Maury over the years as his supplier also gave us the opportunity to work with his lovely wife, Annabelle, and two of his children, Jennifer and Ted.
My first encounter with Maury was in June 1996, while on an insurance renewal visit with my father, Riki. I was so nervous for the visit because I was new to my craft and to be honest, a little intimidated. This feeling quickly dissipated once I met Maury. He was inviting, friendly, straightforward, and treated me like an equal even though I was still in training. He playfully teased my father upon first meeting, but when we “got down to business”, Maury was knowledgeable, thorough, and passionate. Since that first meeting, Maury remained a loyal client who always told it to you straight, which I always appreciated.
I remember how well he spoke of his employees and commitment to his lodge. I sensed that he lived and breathed his work. Over the 20 years working with him, this feeling was continuously reaffirmed. Then and over the years, I was inspired by Maury to put everything into what I do—live it and enjoy it—and to always communicate to my employees that they are an integral part of the company. Maury taught me that.
One of his prize possessions was a boat, “Stormy night”. That boat…that boat… that boat! What was a prize possession to him was a point of grievance for us. That boat always presented us at Gougeon with problems from our insurers. It couldn’t have had a more appropriate name!
I remember in the late 90s when Maury took the boat into the US. Again, it presented us with challenges with the insurance placement. My father simply told me: “To make it happen. We are not going back to Maury with anything but a good solution on this”. At the time, it caused a significant amount of turmoil and stress, but as I had learned from Maury, we had to put everything into it. And so, we made it happen in the end.
However, for a long while, there was an inside joke at Gougeon: “How did it go placing that insurance?” “It was stormy, let me tell you!”
One of our Account Executives, Greg Holmes, worked with Maury supplying any insurance needs prior to the sale of Killarney Mountain Lodge.
Greg had this to share about Maury:
“He was so passionate about the lodge. He would take the time and show me around and update me to what was happening. He had these huge magnifying glasses to look at the paperwork, and we’d spend the time to go through all the details to get the insurance correct. I sometimes also got the pleasure of hearing his stories of when he was a pilot in WWII, which was special as I’m a big history fan”.
In 2013, seventeen years after my first encounter with Maury, Gougeon held a staff retreat at Killarney Mountain Lodge. This staff retreat was even more special as we were able to appreciate and thank our employees for all their hard work that year, in a place that held their own employees in such high regard.
To put it simply, we are honoured to have had such an amazing client and role model.
Thank you, Maury, for all you have taught us and for all you have done for Northern Ontario.
Read the aptly titled newspaper article by Sudbury.com, click: Remembering Maury East, who helped put Killarney on the map and keep it there.