August Albert “Gus” Vitkus of Sadds Mill Road in Ellington, Connecticut, son of the late Frank A. Vitkus and Lena Rose Vitkus of Hartford, Connecticut, passed peacefully May 1, 2020 at home with family. He was 89 years old.
Born on June 12, 1930 in Hartford and raised during the Great Depression, Gus grew up with a strong mind and body, and an even stronger will to live through what were very hard times in America. That inner strength not only helped him through the Depression, but with every challenge he faced throughout a long and full life, beginning at a very young age.
When he was 9, an accidental fall through a skylight left him with devastating injuries to both legs, so severe doctors told him he would likely never walk again, but he was determined to prove them wrong. During a hospital stay of nearly a year, Gus rehabilitated himself, getting out of bed each night and struggling alone to use his badly-damaged legs again. Gus defiantly beat the odds – proudly walking out of the hospital on the day of his release.
His indomitable willingness to face and fight any challenge served him well throughout his life. In his younger days, he took it into the boxing ring as an amateur boxer, fighting under the name of Augie Brett. It carried him through many years of demanding, strenuous jobs in construction and manufacturing. With his most important and successful career move – creating and providing for a large, close-knit family – he dominated not only with strength, but also a never-ending supply of fierce devotion and love.
Besides a life-long interest in professional boxing, Gus loved to spend his free time at the horse and dog race tracks, metal-detecting, fishing and going to tag sales. He loved to play bingo, Yahtzee, the lottery and the penny slot machines at the state’s casinos.
He is predeceased by his loving wife of 52 years and life-long parenting, bingo, tag sale, and casino partner, Colleen (Finn) Vitkus. He is also predeceased by siblings Viola, Eddie, Pauline, Billie and Frannie.
He leaves behind children – Paul Frazier of California, Kathy and Bill Gudauskas of South Windsor, Pamela and Keith Hovland of East Windsor, Frank and Lisa Vitkus of Manchester and Tammy and Glenn Waterman of Ellington, with whom he resided; his grandchildren – Lisa and husband Bob, Matthew and wife Holly, Isaiah and wife Sarah, Amber and husband Nik, Ashly and husband Jesse, Kyle and fiancée Molly, Ariel, Jennifer, Allison, Tyler and wife Cari; and great-grandchildren – Colton, Aislyn, Brandon, Teresa, Niko, Nolan, Nash, Autumn and Jace. He also leaves two devoted sisters, Elizabeth Cantafi of Connecticut and Leona Savoie of Ivoryton. There are no calling hours. A private funeral will be held.
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