Volume 12 Week 5

Friday, March 24


 

Posted March 17

Posted Feb. 16

Posted Feb. 17

polls

Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney



 

 

 


(Posted 10 a.m., Jan. 19)
Orléans advocate hangs up his robes for the final time

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Gerry Dust (right) accepts the Orléans Chamber of Commerce Champions Award from former Chamber president Marc Thibault at the 2009 People's Choice Business Awards. File photo

Gerry Dust is calling it a day. After a 38-year career practising law in Orléans, the long time community advocate has retired from his practice to concentrate on his personal life including spending more time with his five grandchildren.

As he begins the next phase of his life, Dust can look back on a tremendously successful career during which he helped many local organizations by providing his services pro bono.

Born and raised in London, Ontario, Dust was working for the federal government as a young man in Ottawa when he decided to pursue a law career.

With the blessing of his wife Lise, who he has been married to for the past 40 years, he sent applications to the University of Toronto, Queen’s University and Osgoode Hall. The day before heading off on a month-long vacation to Europe, he received a letter of acceptance from Queen’s.

“It was really perfect timing because I had 10 days to respond and if I hadn’t checked the mail, or if we had already left, I would have missed the opportunity,” recalls Dust.

After graduating from Queen’s in 1976, Dust was called to the bar in 1978. After 18 months working for a downtown law firm, he and Lise made the fateful decision to move to Orléans where he established his first practice in the newly-opened Place d’Òrléans with partner Les MacDonald.

“There were only 19,000 people living in Orléans back then. Champlain Street was just a dirt road,” says Dust.
The partnership with MacDonald lasted six months.

After a stint as a sole practitioner, he teamed up with Craig Bater under the name “Dust& Bater”. Some years later, the two men merged their firm with Beament Green, which operated in Orléans under the name “Dust Bater Beament Green” and then “Beament Green Dust”.

Bater had moved on by the time the larger firm dissolved, after which Dust and Brad Evans, another east-ender, took back the Orléans office under the “Dust Evans Lawyers/ Avocats” banner.

Despite the various iterations of the Orléans firm over the years, one constant throughout Dust’s career has been his commitment to the community.

He first got his feet wet in the late ’70s as a member of the Chatelaine Village Community Association and as a director of the original Orléans Chamber of Commerce.

Later, he had a hand in incorporating the Cumberland Chamber of Commerce which would later morph into the present day Orléans Chamber.

It was during this period that Dust began getting involved in local political issues, most notably the fight to unite Orléans as a separate municipality.

Prior to the amalgamation of Ottawa-Carleton in 2001, half of Orléans was in the former municipality of Gloucester and half of the community was in Cumberland with the border running right through the middle of Place d’Orléans.

Dust was the driving force behind Orléans 89, a group of local businessmen and like-minded residents who wanted to create a unified Orléans.

Dust looks back on the effort with pride, but also with a twinge of regret.

“In hindsight we should have pushed to have all of Orléans come under one municipality or the other, preferably the Town-ship of Cumberland, rather than try to form a third municipality,” Dust offers on reflection.

Among his many other endeavours, Dust served on the Cumberland Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development in the 1990s One of the Task Force’s recommendations was the construction of an east end interprovincial bridge.

At various times over the years he was also the chair of the fundraising committee for the Community Caring Club of the former Cumberland Community Resource Centre; he co-chaired the fundraising committee to build the original Orléans YMCA-YWCA and later helped in the fundraising efforts for its expansion in 2009-2010; and he was a member of the public advisory committee on the revitalization of St. Joseph Blvd.

He’s provided pro bono counsel for a litany of local organizations including but not limited to the Orleans Young Players Theatre School; the Orléans Legion; Orléans Little League Baseball; the Navan Community Association and the Navan Curling Club.

He and Brad Evans have also been proud supporters of the local arts scene. They were patrons of Concerts Cumberland for 10 years and they sponsored the Dust Evans Pottery Gallery in the Shenkman Arts Centre.

For his efforts, Dust has received coutless awards and citations including the Queen’s Jubilee Medal in 2013; the Orléans Chamber Champion Award for lifetime service in 2009; and the Abe Feinstein Award from the County of Carleton Law Association for service to the Association , the legal profession, and the community at large.

Dust credits his long history of community involvement to his early mentors while he was with the original Orléans Chamber of Commerce. Men like Vincent Barsona Roch Chatelain, Royal Torangeau and Ken Christie.

“They took me under their wings and showed me the ropes,” says Dust. “And that’s when I really started to take an interest in the community and community affairs."

Looking forward, Dust plans to maintain his affiliation with the County of Carleton Lawyers Association, but his main focus will be on his five grandchildren, all of whom live in Ottawa.

“I think it’s time to take a break from everything and spend more time with the grandkids,” says Dust. “I’ve done a lot of really interesting things over the years. I’d like to think I’ve helped make my community a better place to live, but now it’s time for a little more ‘me time’."

And if anyone is deserving of a little more me time, it’s definitely Gerry Dust.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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