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"AMS" 2007 Obituary


AMSLER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-07-26 published
It is with great sadness that the family announces the passing of Ernst "Ernie" AMSLER at Southlake Hospital on Tuesday, July 24, 2007, with his devoted wife and twin sister at his side. Ernie leaves behind his wife, Pia, a woman who filled his life with love and companionship, and sons Daniel and Roland. His loving memory will live on forever in the hearts of his sister Erika and her husband Tomas WINIKER, nephews Thomas and Michael, niece Christin; brother Kurt and family; sister Erna and family, including sister Palmina, Daniela and Mischa and families, in Switzerland. Ernie will be greatly missed by all his Friends and the entire staff and management at Angus Glen Golf Club, who are greatly saddened by the loss of their head Greens Keeper and Director of Agronomy. Ernie's hard work and efforts in the growing and maintenance of the grounds at Angus Glen have helped to make it the success it is today, including being voted the Best New Golf Courses (South and North first and second respectively) in Canada by Golf Digest, hosting of the 2001 Women's Canadian Open, the 2002 Telus Skins Game, the 2002 Canadian Open (South Course), and the 2007 Canadian Open (North Course). Although Ernie was unable to attend the Canadian Open, he was there in spirit and his staff continued to uphold the standards set by Ernie. Ernie could always be found somewhere on the golf course with his faithful canine companion, Chip. Ernie was loyal and true, and all his Friends feel blessed to have known him. He will be dearly missed by all. Visitation will be held at Chapel Ridge Funeral Home, 8911 Woodbine Avenue (4 lights north of Hwy. 7), Markham (905) 305-8508, on Friday, July 27th between 7-9 p.m. and on Saturday, July 28th from 2-4 p.m. The Funeral Service will be held at Angus Glen Clubhouse, 10080 Kennedy Road (north of Major Mackenzie Drive), Unionville, on Monday, July 30th at 1: 00 p.m. The family would appreciate donations in Ernie's memory to the Canadian Liver Foundation.

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AMSLER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-08-09 published
First to show and last to go, he was king of the course at Angus Glen
head groundskeeper at the site of the 2007 Canadian Open believed the maintenance of a golf course was about three things: drainage, drainage and drainage -- that and hard work
By Lorne RUBENSTEIN, Page S8
Ernie AMSLER loved the outdoors and could take apart and repair any machine, anywhere. He couldn't have found a more suitable job than looking after golf courses, where it's crucial to understand grass and machinery. He spent his days, and many of his nights, tending to both with abiding care.
Where Mr. AMSLER grew grass, golf courses and golfers always benefited. The Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham, Ontario, which hosted the Canadian Open on its North course last month, was no exception. As director of agronomy, he was responsible for the care and maintenance of the North and the South course, which was the site of the 2002 Canadian Open.
In 1991, he was right there for the formidable task of turning a former horse farm into Angus Glen. Every year, golfers play 90,000 rounds at the club's two courses, which became popular during Mr. AMSLER's tenure for daily-fee play and corporate tournaments. He and his staff kept the courses up and running and in immaculate condition even while golfers were playing, which he managed by staggering the maintenance work so that scarcely a stroke was disturbed. Mr. AMSLER was on the property most days by 4 a.m., three hours before he expected his staff to arrive. He was the first to show up and usually the last to leave.
Mr. AMSLER loved nothing better than to get up on a bulldozer or some other piece of machinery to do the hard work of construction and grunt work that a good course demands. Course maintenance is all about three things: drainage, drainage and drainage. Whenever it rained, Mr. AMSLER had to restrain himself from immediately getting on a machine and digging a ditch. When the South course needed a couple of new teeing areas before the 2002 Canadian Open, he built them himself. Just before this year's Canadian Open, he realized that a large hill on the North course's 18th hole made a cart path there dangerous. He fired up the bulldozer, scraped off the hill and laid down asphalt. Presto, he had made a hazardous area safe. Over the years, his willingness and ability to do the hard work saved the club hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Ernie AMSLER grew up in Schoenenwerd, a small town halfway between Zurich and Basel in northwestern Switzerland. One of his first jobs as a youngster was helping to deliver groceries by truck. He had been fascinated by cars since an early age, and soon became an expert at repairing them. He was particularly taken by Volkswagens. His interest in cars broadened after he came to Canada in 1966, and eventually he was buying and restoring such automobiles as Mini Coopers and Mercedes.
Mr. AMSLER first lived in the Toronto area with his sister Erika, who had preceded him to Canada. He'd enjoyed skiing in Switzerland and soon took to Canada's vast spaces and the idea of making an impression on the landscape. His first job was in landscaping, where he learned to wield the heavy machinery that became the instruments of his craftsmanship. He subsequently worked at various golf clubs in southern and south-central Ontario, including Windmills Golf Club, Port Carling Golf Club, the Mandarin Golf and Country Club in Markham, and, finally, Angus Glen.
"He could do anything with machinery," said Gordon STOLLERY, the owner of Angus Glen. "It didn't matter if it was a bulldozer, a back hoe or an aerator -- he knew how to work it. Ernie was also a true gentleman, by which I mean a gentle man."
Notwithstanding his courtly manner, Mr. AMSLER was as demanding of his staff as he was of himself. Angus Glen employees knew he monitored them to make sure they carried out his orders. At the same time, he was willing to admit when he made a mistake. A stickler for keeping the equipment in top shape, he took particular care that his staff cleaned the machinery at the end of each working day. It was important, for example, to make sure that gaskets were dry; otherwise, a fire might start.
So it was that one day Mr. AMSLER, in his take-charge way, used one of the bigger machines to cut the high fescue bordering the fairways. At the end of the day, he parked the machine in a back barn and, somehow, a fire broke out. Mr. AMSLER had neglected to do the proper cleaning. He told his staff, "You see, this is what can happen when we don't do the proper cleaning."
Another time, Mr. AMSLER was on a machine called a Bobcat when it hit a gas line. Everybody in the vicinity withdrew, fearing for their safety. He calmly fixed the line, and was soon asking where everyone had gone.
As much as Mr. AMSLER expected to be in charge of everything on the course, it wasn't always possible to exert the same kind of control off the course. In December of 1999, his son Daniel, who was born with cerebral palsy that affected one side of his body, was in a serious car accident. He was driving on Highway 403 when a ladder fell from a transport truck ahead of him. He swerved to avoid the truck and his car flipped twice. Daniel's right leg was mangled, and he spent the next 2½ weeks in a Mississauga hospital. Mr. AMSLER visited his son every day.
Meanwhile, he continued to put in long days and evenings at Angus Glen. With Chip, his border collie, on the seat beside him, Mr. AMSLER made his rounds driving a golf cart as if at a speedway.
Five weeks before this year's Canadian Open, Mr. AMSLER became ill and was admitted to hospital where he was visited, among others, by Kevin THISTLE, president of Angus Glen. After undergoing some tests, Mr. AMSLER was discharged, but he wasn't expected back at work. Inevitably, he showed up at the club. Mr. THISTLE asked him what he was doing there, and got the expected shrug, as if Mr. AMSLER were saying, "This is where I belong." It was clear, however, that he was ill and Mr. THISTLE later insisted that he go home. "I almost had to issue a restraining order."
Even so, Mr. AMSLER did manage to prepare some fields for a temporary pavilion needed for the Canadian Open, and rode a bulldozer for three days in 38-degree heat.
Before long, he was readmitted to hospital, unhappy to be away as the Canadian Open drew near. Nor did he like being away from a new facility he was building for Mr. STOLLERY in nearby Goodwood. Yet, in a way, he never did leave his work. From his hospital bed, he placed orders for sand for the new golf course.
"Ernie loved being outside," Mr. THISTLE said. "That's where he most wanted to be. You'd see him at night, driving around the property, and in the morning, he'd meet the same guys for coffee before he'd come to the club. I lived right beside his office when I first came to Angus Glen. He'd come in at four in the morning and honk his horn to wake me up."
The 2007 Open went on without Mr. AMSLER, although much of the credit for its success went to him. At the end of every tournament, the Professional Golfers' Association Tour issues a report on the host course. In advance of the tournament, Professional Golfers' Association Tour agronomist Jon Scott evaluated the work done at Angus Glen's North course to prepare for the Canadian Open and gave credit to "one of the greatest grass growers I've met in the business, head superintendent Ernie AMSLER."
Ernst AMSLER was born December 4, 1940, in Schoenenwerd, Switzerland. He died of complications from a liver-related condition at Southlake Hospital in Newmarket, Ontario, on July 24, 2007. He was 66. He is survived by his wife, Pia, and by his sons Daniel and Roland from an earlier marriage to Therese LEDREW, with whom he remained a close friend. He also leaves his sisters Erika and Erna, and his brother Kurt.

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AMSLER o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2007-09-10 published
I would like to thank family, Friends and neighbours for the caring thoughts and memories during this difficult time of my husband's passing, and to express my deep appreciation for all those whose affections and concerns have comforted me in this time. Thank you to all those who sent cards, flowers, prayers and donations to The Canadian Liver Foundation in Ernie's memory. I would especially like to thank Gordon STOLLERY for his generosity and support, Kevin THISTLE and all the people at Angus Glen for all their kindness, caring and thoughtfulness and giving Ernie such a beautiful funeral service and tribute to his career at Angus Glen, and Don McINTYRE, without whom I could never have gotten through these difficult times. There are angels among us, and God bless each and every one of you.
Thank You - Pia AMSLER

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