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Remembering Guelph's volunteer 'AV guy'

Mike Woof, who volunteered with several local organizations, passed away on July 19
Jeannie and Michael Woof

Happiness is found in helping others.

For Guelph's Michael Woof, giving always felt better than receiving.

On July 19, Woof passed away peacefully at Hospice Wellington at the age of 70.

Woof spent a lifetime actively involved in his community. His many contributions included serving as a volunteer firefighter, event security officer and Scouts leader.

He was a proud supporter of the Elora Festival and for many years, Woof was a volunteer and board member at the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association.

“My dad always enjoyed helping others,” says Woof’s son, Cameron Woof.

“When he was younger, he was a volunteer firefighter. He was a scout leader even before I became a scout. I went through Scouts until the very end. And my dad loved to help with jamborees, event security and special events.”

Woof was known as a technological go-to person and was always willing to use his skills in helping others.

At the Evergreen Seniors Centre in Guelph, Woof was the sound technician.

“My dad was a techy guy. He loved working with the security radios. For the Wellington Seniors Association, he worked with their audio visual and sound systems. That’s how he became involved with the association,” Cameron said.

Brian Smith, president of the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association (GWSA) says that it is evident that Woof is woven into much of the fabric of the GWSA and that he will be missed and remembered by all.

“It was with great sadness that the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association learned that Mike Woof recently passed away. Mike has been a prominent member of the GWSA for many years, involved in supporting multiple events and activities. He was especially well known through the professional skills he contributed to lighting and sound production for major events including the Variety Show, the Remembrance Day Assembly, and other large gatherings,” Smith said.

“His generous donation of time and talent also assisted many GWSA activity groups including the Silvertones Choir and the line dancing group. Most recently, Mike initiated plans to help prioritize future technological needs for the organization. Mike has also been serving on the GWSA Governance Committee. We extend out heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends.”

For many years, Cameron says his father also supported community theatre and that he was always ready to offer his audiovisual skills where he could.

At home, there was no shortage of toys to tinker with either.

“There were so many gadgets at home. My mom has no idea what they are. I’m sure I will inherit a few,” Cameron said.

“Dad was always tinkering around and placing orders with Amazon. When a box from Amazon would show up at his door, he would practically knock down a chair to get to that box. He was so excited.”

Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Michael, was the son of Harry and Margaret Woof.

After marrying his wife Jeannie, the couple spent 40 years building their lives together in Guelph.

A graduate of the engineering program at Mohawk College, Woof was employed as a design engineer for many years with Hammond Manufacturing Co. Ltd. in Guelph. He later went on to work as a transit operator for the City of Guelph Transit until he retired.

“In the five years that I have been at Guelph Transit, Michael Woof was known to be a professional and dedicated transit operator who loved his customers and worked well with fellow employees. Michael always looked sharp in his transit uniform and understood the value of good customer service,” says Robin Gerus, general manager of Transit Operations Public Service at Guelph Transit.

“He would often drop by the offices to say hello and chat with the management team and offer up great suggestions on how to make transit better. In his later years, he would never hesitate to assist our management team in performing additional duties towards making transit successful.”

John Mather, data coordinator, Transit Planning and Scheduling at the City of Guelph, had much in common with Woof.

“Like him, I was older and retired from my previous career. We had both decided that it wasn’t quite time to fully retire and had happily become transit operators,” Mather says.

“I will always remember Mike fondly for the way in which he helped another ‘old guy’ get used to a new and very different career. He took the time to help me learn the routes, ‘the ropes’ and a hundred other things I would have had to experience on my own. His patience and knowledge were invaluable. The nicest part was that I didn’t need to ask him for help; he just willingly volunteered it.”

Woof wanted Mather to fit right in.

“Uniforms are issued to Transit operators on a set schedule, so new drivers are not fully outfitted immediately upon completing their training. Shortly after I was driving fare service routes, Mike left a bag for my attention. He had taken the time to bring me all of the required uniform pieces from his own collection. He said, “We’re the same size, a result of being born in the 1950’s I guess,” Mather said.

“The kindness Mike showed me was also given to all those with whom he worked and the passengers he serviced. He could be counted on to be respectful, positive, funny, and sincerely committed to customer service. Many Guelph Transit passengers have expressed their sadness over his passing.”

Woof was a proud father to his son Cameron, and cherished grandfather of three grandchildren, Benjamin, Elijah, and Eden. He will be missed by his daughter-in-law Christy, his brother Craig and many nieces and nephews.

Woof instilled in his son, a love for the great outdoors.

“We did lots of camping and canoeing. He loved the outdoors. Today, I still go on camping trips with my wife and kids. We love camping.” Cameron says.

Woof had a passion for travel and a good barbecue. He and his wife Jeannie always looked forward to a Sunday drive together.

“My mom and dad were very social. They were always busy. And my dad loved to tell jokes. Whether we got together for a roast beef dinner, or any special occasion, my dad loved his family, and he was so proud of his grandkids,” Cameron said.

Gerus from Guelph Transit says Woof always had a smile on his face.

“Michael Woof left a positive mark on transit and on the City of Guelph,” Gerus said.

“It’s a better place today due to the dedication and professional efforts of Michael Woof. He will be missed by family, customers and friends.”