Servas Canada is sad to inform you of the passing of Gary Sealey, a dedicated member of Servas Canada for decades. I first met him when he attended a Servas Canada Board meeting in Montreal in late 2002, interested in strengthening Servas’ presence at the United Nations. Less than 2 years later at the 2004 Servas International General Assembly (SI GA) near Barcelona Spain, Gary was elected SI Peace Secretary, and went ahead to significantly enhance our United Nations presence.
An extraordinary SI GA was necessary in 2006, and Gary spent a huge amount of energy planning for it. His skill at delegating, identifying strong contributors and his general vision were invaluable. The meeting was a big success, and Gary was elected SI President, and again at the 2009 GA.
During his tenure as SI President, Gary dealt with some challenging situations, with strength and diplomacy. He also had the strong vision of an online presence for Servas from the moment he got involved at the international level, and moved our organization along towards that goal.
Under Gary’s leadership, the SI GAs became professional and carefully planned, much in the way they run today.
Julie Cormack, Servas Canada National Secretary, wrote of Gary’s passing “Although I never met Gary, I spoke with him on email and on the phone numerous times – he was deeply committed and passionate to the ideals of the global human community.”
Mirek Wasilewski, former SI Treasurer, wrote “I remember Gary’s special, unusual and rare managerial skills, his approach to organizing the work of a team and his energy when he was solving difficult situations in our organization.”
Michael Johnson, past National Secretary of Servas Canada, relates his personal relationship with Gary:
“I met, befriended, hosted and stayed with Gary Sealey in the past 14 years. I urged him to run for SI President, which he did successfully. During two “tours of Canada” that I arranged in 2013, I brought Servas friends to his home overnight. He took me and Marisa Contini of Uruguay on a tour of Ottawa including on the Ottawa River, then served us rack of lamb for dinner. He was always inviting people to his home including a Servas pool party at his large backyard pool. Many of us will really miss Mr. Hospitality. A truly wonderful human being who gave many years of service to Servas.”
Gary personified a real leader and amazing volunteer. He accepted, or even enjoyed, being challenged on his ideas, and remained respectful always. The world has been a better place because of his presence.
Servas Canada National Secretary 2002 – 2009
SI General Secretary 2009-2012 and 2015-2018