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Family mourns death of Stan Zurcas

The former owner of Shepparton's Sherbourne Terrace, Stan Zurcas, has been remembered for his hospitable nature.

DARREN LINTON March 4, 2014 4:31am

Stanley Vasillious Zurcas.

Stan Zurcas was the epitome of a gracious host.

He loved hospitality, revelled in the banter and the mischief in the main bars he ran, loved Shepparton and adored his family and his adopted country.

Nick Zurcas said his father would roam the Sherbourne Terrace in his latter years in an endless round of friendly conversations, laughter and goodwill.

It was the same by day as Stan wandered the streets of Shepparton, dropping into coffee shops, chatting with people he knew and the many he had nurtured and helped through the years.

‘‘He loved hospitality, he loved people,’’ Nick said.

‘‘The fruit game wasn’t his forte, he loved hospitality, pubs, the accommodation side. When he came into the bar his eyes would light up.’’

It was part of his nature to embrace and enjoy life, perhaps shaped by his experience of World War II that he spent with his mother in Proti, a small village in northern Greece while his father and grandfather carved out a new life for them in Australia.

When 10-year-old Stanley stepped off a plane at Melbourne’s Essendon Airport, he saw his father for the first time.

The family settled at the ‘‘depot’’ in what became Shepparton’s Zurcas Lane and he worked the orchard when not at school.

In his early 20s, because his English was better, Stan often had to play father figure and meet with the principal.

He demonstrated he was straight and fair when to his cousins’ dismay he once sided with the principal and encouraged ‘‘harsh punishment without hesitation’’ for them mucking up.

While a dedicated worker on the orchards, Stan found his true calling when his uncle Tom bought the GV Hotel in 1963.

‘‘Dad ran the GV with his uncle Tom, they were the first two family members to actually run the hotel,’’ son Sam Zurcas said.

‘‘As the kids got older they all jumped in and helped.’’

In 1978 he went out on his own, buying the then Inlander Hotel Motel on Wyndham St that would become the Sherbourne, where he would continue to work with his sons and grandsons until his death on February 11.

Every Friday night the bar would rejoice when Stanley walked in and announced it was his shout, because it was usually preceded by an extended game of cat-and-mouse with the patrons.

Stan might have been a filmmaker, but it was discouraged by his elders.

He had 16mm and 8mm film cameras and would capture family events — he could often be seen at the studios of television station GMV6 discussing production.

A patron of Shepparton Football Club and many other sporting teams, his biggest kick was driving the grandchildren to soccer training.

Family members describe him above all a gentleman who was kind, loving and honourable and in turn loved by the wider community.

They are also immensely proud of what Stan achieved as one of the early Greek immigrants to Shepparton, not only building his family and a successful business, but also helping others to get a new start in life.

Stan is survived by his wife Molly, sons Sam, Nick and Peter and their partners Liz, Melanie and Maria, eight grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

Nick and Sam said it was fitting that only days before their father’s death another great-grandson was born and named Lucas Stanley Zurcas.

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