Longwood, FL – Nearly 600 family, friends and colleagues paid their last respects to Gary Sain, the president and CEO of Visit Orlando on Saturday, May 12, creating a sea of orange in the church where services were held. Sporting ties, scarves, shawls, sweaters and even stilettos in orange, they wore Gary’s favorite color which also symbolized the bright Orlando sunshine and reflected the tagline, “Orlando Makes Me Smile.”
In her eulogy, his wife Pam said, “Gary would have been surprised at the turnout. He would have chided me for not charging admission and donating the proceeds to the Boys & Girls Club, a charity he was very active in,” she quipped. His daughter Vanessa said she was always awestruck by her dad’s success and the number of people he touched throughout his career. “But when he was home, he was ‘Daddy’ and very attentive to his family.” She said he stressed the importance of mentors and told us to choose wisely. “Your destiny depends on it,” he often told his two daughters. “If you are going to do something, you may as well do it perfectly,” was another Garyism.
Alex Martins, president of the Orlando Magic and a board member of Visit Orlando, noted that Gary always looked on the bright side of things and made a huge difference to those who didn’t have it as good as the rest of us, such as by raising funds for the Boys and Girls Club. “He worked tirelessly to make central Florida a better place to work, play and visit,” said Martins. “He was truly a Renaissance Man, and a great ambassador for the tourism industry.” Martins noted Gary’s marketing acumen and joked that by now, Gary has put up a sign at the pearly gates, noting, “Welcome to Heaven, the Greatest Place in the World,” and said he would be wearing a button that says, “Heaven Makes Me Smile,” borrowing from Orlando’s tagline, “Orlando Makes Me Smile.”
His uncle Kenneth Sain noted that Gary didn’t have any unfinished business when he left this world but we will all continue to reap the benefits from the seeds he sowed. “If you see any billboards that say, ‘Next Destination: Heaven,’ you will know that Gary is at work.”