Valley Lives - John Plaskacz

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the July 13, 2016 issue. Reprinted with permission.

Saying goodbye to the man in the tux

by Tess Allen

Known for his ambitious spirit, his competitive streak, and - of course - that unforgettable tux, it goes without saying that longstanding real estate broker John Plaskacz left an impression on the Gatineau Hills. On July 3, Plaskacz died of cancer at the age of 64.

Plaskacz spent roughly 38 years working in Hills real estate, having gotten his license in 1978. In 2014, he sold his real estate franchise, Remax Outaouais, but stayed on as a broker with Danny Sivyer under the new moniker Remax Direct. Sivyer remembers a man who "couldn't sit still" and was "always on the go."

John Plaskacz
John Plaskacz, seen here in his signature look, is described by those who knew him as a man who was "always on the go" and who "couldn't sit still." He believed above all else in professionalism, and took this philosophy to work every day for 38 years. FIle photo.

"He was one of those guys with his fingers in many pies... I think he worked 20 hours a day," said Sivyer, who believes Plaskacz, a Montreal native, was the longest serving realtor in the Gatineau Hills.

First and foremost, added Sivyer, Plaskacz cared about professionalism - hence the dapper appearance in all his advertisements.

"He was the classic real estate guy with the suit and tie and everything. That was his style, to look and be professional."

look and be professional." Plaskacz was passionate about helping people move from one stage in their lives to the next, said Sivyer, and this passion helped to drive him. "[He] felt great seeing the buyers finally realize their dreams, and at the same time he was happy to help vendors move on after selling their houses," said Sivyer, who recalls the motivational meetings Plaskacz would often hold at the office.

But Plaskacz was far from just a colleague to Sivyer, who said his friend of 40 years was always good for advice and even taught him how to horseback ride.

"He and I were each other's [sounding] boards," said Sivyer. "He had so much information at the tip of his tongue and would help people in many ways."

Real estate broker Jean Pierre Gauvin of Gauvin Realty, who worked with Plaskacz through the early 1990s, was one of those people. Gauvin said Plaskacz taught him everything he knew about the business.

"He was my mentor... He taught me everything I needed to know to succeed in real estate," said Gauvin. "He was very nice, very ambitious, worked really hard, and he was also a good friend. We had a lot of fun."

Gauvin recalls snowmobiling and horseback riding with Plaskacz in their spare time. At one point, Plaskacz even helped Gauvin lose 30 pounds by recommending a special fitness program.

"He taught me how to eat healthy," said Gauvin. "He did some good stuff for me."

Along with his commitment to the real estate world, Plaskacz will also be remembered for his involvement in the Ottawa basketball community and Chelsea old timers' soccer. He leaves behind his wife Ilze Kaulins-Plaskacz, children Natasha Plaskacz and Gerrit Plaskacz, sisters Irene Kaulins and Catherine Szabo, and brother Todd Plaskacz.

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