In Memory of Gilbert plaw
This page is dedicated to the memory of Gilbert Plaw, our beloved teacher, Department Head, and Director of the High School.
Gilbert absolutely adored St. George’s. He dedicated much of his life’s work to our school and, as a result, touched so many of us in the St. George’s Community directly and helped make this school the amazing place it is today. He served our school for 27 years:
English Teacher 1973
English Department Head 1975-1990
Director of High School 1990-2000
There are no better words to describe Mr. Plaw than those used to define the Gilbert Plaw Fund: “Great teachers are long remembered for their remarkable contributions to the students, their peers, and to the institutions themselves.” We, at St. George’s, are touched that Mr. Plaw’s family has requested that donations in his memory go to the St. George’s Gilbert Plaw Fund. It is most fitting that his final gift goes to our students.
We invite all members of our St. George’s School Community to share your memories of Mr. Plaw in the area to the right of this page. Entries will be posted below. You can also share your thoughts and connect with other alumni on our St. George's Alumni Facebook page.
Mr. Plaw hung in through my sometimes unfair antics to nurture my passion for literature and learning. He did everything, even chastising, with a twinkling grin, guiding his students to whatever greatness each could achieve.
Greg Jackson-Davis (Davis)
My condolences to the family. It's hard to belief a man as lively as the boisterous Gilbert Plaw could ever stop being here...
I knew Sara as a St. G classmate, Josh best as my Kanawana camper when I was a CIT, & Avery mostly when he returned to hone his basketball skills Saturday AMs as an alum.... You are all amazing people & wish you healing with time. Not easy, but it slowly comes.
Gilbert made me feel like a star---he even told me I was...& years later again. Just words--but how often do you get feedback like that? Maybe he knew through my bravado that I actually needed to hear it or that my ego wouldn't blow-up too big, but it helped me & made me feel stronger. They say you won't remember what teachers teach you, but the way they made you feel. Gilbert is a perfect example of this. If he needed to put you in your place, he was very capable of doing it (healthy fear of one's teachers is not a bad thing!), but he could make you feel like you were special, like he truly cared about you. Whether it was in English class, for the bball team, on the court Saturday AMs or even when Kenny & I smashed a hole in the wall of Mr. Hope's classroom while wrestling & he hunted us down, I felt the love, whether his words were humorous, complimentary or appropriately sharp.
I'm a mid-career teacher & coach now, & hope I carry a little of Gilbert's game in mine.
Gilbert--It looks like I'm not alone in my admiration of all you were. I still plan on writing that retrospective St. G basketball article; only sorry I missed my window to co-write it with you. Peace, Mr. Plaw...
Gilbert Plaw was a force of nature. Every encounter with him was fresh and authentic as he brought his total presence to every situation. He was a remarkable teacher, leader, and colleague, as he pushed us all to read between the lines, work a little harder, and think a little deeper. Gil enjoyed chastising the English Department for not doing enough to draw out the salacious innuendo in the texts we read with our students. I miss Gilbert dearly, and send my thoughts and prayers to his beloved family.
One of my first memories of Gilbert is being the Santa Claus at the Christmas party for the children of faculty and staff. I can still hear that jovial HO, HO, HO!
I was privileged to teach both Sara and Josh so I had the opportunity to see Gilbert as a most loving and proud parent. Gilbert was also my teaching colleague, a most supportive fellow administrator, my mentor and a wonderful friend.
Gilbert exuded the philosophy of St. George's. He walked his talk. He was loved and respected by students, peers and parents.
I will always remember Gilbert as passionate, personable, warm, authentic and a man with a wonderful sense of humour who frequently made fun of himself.
When that special person becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure. Let us all treasure those wonderful memories we have of Gilbert. RIP my dear friend.....you will be missed.
One of the most frequently asked questions I receive regarding alumni reunions is “Will Mr. Plaw be there?” Happily, my answer was always “yes” as Mr. Plaw loved attending these alumni gatherings and rarely missed them. His interest and genuine pride in his former students continued long after they graduated. He would often call me sharing updates on the success of our alums. I’ve known Gilbert for 25 years and will miss him dearly especially at alumni reunions.
Avery, Sara and Josh, please know that St. George's School is grieving with you.
A friendship that started 40 years ago! Maybe, at the beginning, because of the same passion we had for fishing. Every single year, for 40 years, a group of friends, John, Jacques, Bruce, Jim, among others, would go to his country place on the St-Lawrence River in search of the elusive ''muskie" but, in reality, to be among friends and, no, we never caught this elusive monster but what a great time did we have. Gil was such a great person, warm, generous, funny, sarcastic, unconventional, etc, that it was difficult not to like him. I was blessed to have such a friend in my life and, I hope that if a fisherman's heaven does exist, he will finally catch our elusive monster...I know I will keep on trying.
Gilbert, my friend, mon ami, we will, family, friends, St. George's, miss you.
Mr. Gilbert Plaw was such a lovely, charismatic man. I remember meeting him for my first job interview fresh from graduating university. Mr. Plaw tried with all his might to be "serious" throughout, but his mischievous side kept shining through via his heart-warming smile and laugh. He immediately put me at ease. I am forever grateful to Gilbert for giving me the opportunity to join the wonderful St. G's community. I will always remember him fondly. My sincerest condolences to Sara, Josh and the extended family.
Gilbert Plaw provided many of us with a unique and solid understanding of many great works of literature. With his great sense of humour - also rather unique - he taught me to enjoy the humour in books and in life. We will miss him but he will not be forgotten.
I would like to offer my heartfelt condolences to his family and hope that they will take some comfort in knowing just how much he was loved and appreciated.
I was indeed saddened when I received the news of Gilbert's passing. May God spare you further sorrow. Please accept my condolences at your time of loss. I had both privilege and pleasure of working with him at St. George's School. He was the consummate teacher and administrator, and in a nanosecond could resolve both dilemma and issue. Despite his extremely busy schedule he found time to assist me with my passion, poetry. His wit and wisdom placated many and his skills in lexicostatistics was literally off the page. He, undoubtedly will be missed, but knowing Gilbert, he at this moment is teaching an English class to the angels.
When he retired, I wrote a tribute to him. Kindly read.
Tribute to Gilbert Plaw
Emanating sagacity to wet ears and keener minds on complexities not yet understood by yet untested minds.
The sage has elocuted on form and substance of the works of Masters and of those not yet dubbed
In his wisdom he placates the quick ill-tempered whose oft time rhyme and reason are, but vain glorious.
Solstice and Equinox pass with the assuredness of structured time. Yet he remains flexible like the wind-blown oak but paradoxically stiff as the archer's bow
We the group, bade him well.
May he be with us yet another fifty springs from now.
Gilbert Plaw was such a multi-faceted, spirited and unique individual. He understood how things were and how things should be. He was an inspired raconteur with endless stories that spoke to friendships and family; those things that truly matter in life. Gilbert had an amazing sense of humour, especially when he made himself the brunt of his many jokes. Gilbert never took himself nor others around him too seriously. When Board meetings were becoming a little too intense over some "tempest-in-a-teapot" issue, Gilbert would show up with his pink and blue argyle socks and a well-worn fishing sweater to remind us all to relax and take a deep breath. We were supposed to be talking about the important stuff – like kids and school for example. On a most personal level, I will be always grateful to Gilbert; for it was he that guided me through my early years as Principal of St. George's. I remember well our first meeting in his office where we sat beside one another on the friendly side of his Mussolini sized desk and spoke about our inspirations in life and the aspirations we had as educators. Our bond became immediate and forever. I will always be grateful that it was Gilbert Plaw, "Mr. St. George's", who was there to greet and receive me, some twenty-four years ago. I have lost a dear friend and a life long mentor – he will be truly missed by us all.
Gilbert Plaw was a great teacher, a wonderful colleague, and a generous mentor. Having known him for the better part of my life at St. George's, first as the parent of a classmate, then as my teacher, and finally as my colleague and mentor, the number of memories I have are too many to count. I was incredibly sad to learn of his passing and grateful that I didn't have to teach immediately after receiving the news, for the news had brought on tears. That is what a good teacher should do, even more than two decades later. Whether "Mr. Plaw" was gleefully tormenting a bus full of desperate teenagers with a litany of running water images as they were stuck trying to reach a museum in Boston (for two hours), or signalling spring's arrival with the wearing of his infamous pink pants, or insisting I face my fear of failure by writing the dreaded AP English exam, he was a wealth of humour and knowledge. And for all the teasing about his frugality, Gilbert's generous nature was evident in how often and how freely he shared a laugh or a compliment. He will be in my thoughts - and through his influence, in my classroom, forever.
Heather (Nielsen) Hunter
I have very fond memories of Gilbert. As Coordinator of the Studies Office from 1980-1985, I came to know him as an educator and a father who cared very deeply about both. I enjoyed his wit and intellect on a daily basis. I feel Gilbert is looking down upon us and thinking "a job well done".
My sincerest sympathies to his family. Gilbert made an everlasting positive contribution to the school and his students.
Mr. Plaw would always manage to make me tremble slightly in his presence. I strived to be better and do better when he was around, even if that meant during an exchange of a few words in the hallway. He spoke in a way that showcased his love affair with the English language, and on many occasions, I remember the delivery accompanied by a raised eyebrow, along with his rosy cheeks and unmistakable smile. The guy was having fun. Our AP English class was more like a seminar, and Mr. Plaw pushed us to go beyond our limits, seeing what we couldn't yet see. I, too, am among those who could only ever call him, Mr. Plaw.
My sincere condolences go out to Avery, Sara, Josh, and their families. St. George's will never be the same.
Mr Plaw was one of my favorite teachers. I was also friends with his son Avery and he's a close family friend that was good friends with my parents. I honestly cannot imagine St. George's without Mr. Plaw. He was a larger than life english teacher that really cared about all of his students. He will be missed.
Jay Takefman – Class of 1993
Having started at St. George's in Pre-Kindergarten (1980-1981) with Mr. Plaw's son Josh, Mr. Plaw's presence loomed large throughout my academic life there (Class of 1993). To me, Mr. Plaw is the St. George's that I remember and with his passing a huge hole exists. To Josh and the rest of the Plaw family, please accept my family's sincerest condolences.
I could never call him Gil. Never. Even years after I graduated, back in the mid 80s, I could only ever call him Mr. Plaw. He would correct me, telling me that we were both adults now, and I should really just call him Gil. But I just couldn't. Gil was a name for a regular human man. And Mr. Plaw was no regular human. Mr. Plaw was formidable, larger than life, charismatic beyond belief and inspiring in ways that stick with me, even now. Mr. Plaw ignited in me and hundreds of other students a passion for literature, one that endures and enriches our lives every day and all these years later. Mr. Plaw was a Titan of a teacher and his passing is a loss for our entire St. G community. It's a cliche to say that someone's influence will be felt long after they've gone, but in the case of the great Mr. Plaw, it's the simple truth. Thank you for all you gave us, Mr. Plaw. It will never ever be forgotten.
When I think of Mr. Plaw, I see him with a mischievous grin. Even when he was talking to you about something serious his sardonic wit couldn't help but slip out. He went well beyond the duties of a regular teacher. He was a mentor - someone you could go to for life advice, and someone who advised me through some of my most important decisions IN life. I know I am not alone - which is really what made him so exceptional. I'll always miss him.
I knew Gilbert Plaw as the Director of the Elementary School 1987-1989. At the time he was a High School teacher, and his son, Josh was a student at our school. He was totally committed to St. George's, positive, caring and always working for every students. He brought a smile to his face whenever he thought about the students and teachers. He was a great mediator, and a great mentor to me as a new administrator at the school. He gave weekends, and many days off working to help me and our school.
PS I am suffering with liver cancer right now. I want all of Gilbert's family to know how much my wife, Elaine loved him.
Neal Neilinger – Class of 1981
Gilbert Plaw was the epitome of everything that modern day education represents. Teacher, mentor, role model, friend. When I look back at my days at St. George's and what it means to me today, I always gravitate towards my fond memories of Mr. Plaw and how he pushed me to succeed...not in an aggressive manner, but in a subtle and gentle way. He was always the type of teacher that you looked up to and that always had an encouraging thing to say. Everything was possible with Mr. Plaw at the helm. The last time I saw Mr. Plaw was at our 30 year reunion. 30 years later, he was still the same. Gilbert, rest in peace knowing that you were a tremendous influence on many generations of St. George's alumni and your memory will always remain with us. "O'captain, my captain", we will miss you..
I was a student during Mr. Plaw's heyday at St. George's during the 1980s. To me, in many ways Mr. Plaw WAS St. George's. He really cared about every single student who walked in that door. It's the end of an era.
Very sad to hear about Gilbert Plaw. A true mentor and leader. Gilbert believed in his students and bent the rules on more than one occasion to support them and their ideas. I clearly remember the day when I asked him if we could cancel classes for a day and divide the school into two teams. He laughed. And then said "ok if you think it is a great idea and will work. But if it doesn't work, you can forget all of your other crazy ideas." Of course he then helped in every way possible to make the day a success and a day I will never forget. Josh, my deepest sympathies to you and your family.
I attended St. George's from 1979 to 1983. I was fortunate enough to have Mr. Plaw as my English teacher and NAL teacher. We took a class trip to NYC and camped out at his sisters apartment. We laughed the whole time. He was a wonderful teacher and equally wonderful person. Over the years I have run into Mr. Plaw on the street and he always greeted me with a warm smile. RIP Mr. Plaw.
I'm so sad to hear of the passing of Mr. Plaw. He was one of the teachers at St. George's that I will never forget. He was instrumental in continually pushing us to strive to be better and made us WANT to learn more. I loved spending time with him. My condolences to Sara and the family.
He was a superb teacher and a wonderful human being. His real caring and empathy was frequently evident. His intelligent sense of humor was a gift to me when I was his student and remained his hallmark on those few occasions when I encountered him in later life.
My sympathies to his family members.
Mr. Plaw was simply the best teacher and a great person. Favorite memory is his story about shooting the gopher in his backyard with a pellet gun. My sympathies to the entire family and the St. George's community.
I am sorry for his passing. My thoughts go out to his family.