August George “Gus” Cifelli

October 10, 1955  ~  October 31, 2021


Image of August George “Gus” Cifelli

August George “Gus” Cifelli

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever.” This was Gus’s favorite movie quote and summarized how he lived his life. Gus spent no time wasting his talents or zest for life.

Born in Port Richmond near Philadelphia to George and Rita (nee Centofanti) Cifelli, Gus’s early years were spent with family and friends from the neighborhood, MDG Parish School, Maternity BVM and Archbishop Ryan High. Once Gus made a friend, they remained so for life. He loved making WWII model airplanes, hiding out with buddies in their fort, the “S.S. Mess”, launching rockets with his dad, Steely Dan, boxing, Tastykakes and Tootsie Rolls. He was an Eagle Scout, ran cross-country and starred in school plays. His favorite part was that of “Stewpot” in South Pacific, a role that suited his witty personality. He loved making people laugh. Gus was one of the first guides on the Philadelphia Tour Trolley and was the recipient of the Philadelphia Union League Award.

Gus was a “double-domer” at the University of Notre Dame where he earned his undergraduate and JD degrees. He served 2 terms as president of the Student Bar Association. He was the primary organizer of the extremely popular Annual Law School Talent Show. Gus’s love for his alma mater never waned. He hosted an annual picnic for incoming students each summer and returned to teach a popular law school seminar for many years.

Gus had a successful career as an attorney for 35+ years in the Seattle area, was awarded Super Lawyer multiple years, was a pro-tem judge and served on the faculty of NITA. He was a friend and mentor to many.

He was dedicated to community service. He was Santa for the cancer ward at Children’s Hospital and served 20+ years as a dedicated  ommittee member for the Eastside Division.

Two of Gus’s greatest passions were cars and flying. He spent endless hours tinkering on his antique cars including his cherished “Banana”. He earned his pilot’s license and was thrilled to travel to Russia to pilot an authentic MIG at the speed of sound. In recent years, he was honored to be a docent for the Heritage Flight Collection and was especially proud of his well-researched presentation on the Night Witches/Women Aces.

Gus is survived by his loving wife, Christa (nee Ralston), his children, Augustine George and Angeline Patrice, sisters Marguerite Genesio (Flemming Godiksen) and Andrea Mangold (Robert), seven nieces and nephews, in-laws William Gary and Patricia Ann Ralston, and brother-in-law J. Scott Ralston.

Gus’s bucket list included having a chance to see the Northern Lights. He did not get that chance in life but, perhaps now, he’ll be part of them.

14 Responses to “August George “Gus” Cifelli”

  • Virginia A McGowan says:

    Our deepest, heartfelt condolences on the loss of a wonderful man, our ND `77 classmate, Gus. We share happy memories of his joyful smile and positive spirit while students at the University of Notre Dame. May he rest now in God’s loving care, and may loving memories comfort his beloved family. ND Class of `77, Ginger McGowan Bishop, ND `77 Class Secretary.

  • James Quinn says:

    I knew Gus through the Bengal Bouts Boxing program at Notre Dame. He seemed to always have a smile and a positive word.

  • Mark Janko says:

    Gus was a great roommate. He was fun and full of live. I feel blessed to know him

  • Andrew Panelli says:

    I boxed with Gus and he was one of my favorite people at ND. Family ties go way back. My dad played ball with his uncle Gus, who was also one of my favorite people. We’re very sorry to hear of his passing. Our deepest condolences to the family.

  • Mike Ploszek says:

    Gus was terrific guy…a classmate at Notre Dame…an all around positive spirit. Despite not seeing him since we graduated, the memory of the fun we had and the friendship we shared burns brightly to this day. RIP Gus, I’m glad our paths crossed. May the Lord’s blessing and peace be with him and his family.

  • John Rom says:

    Gus and I were good friends for our first two years. We were supposed to be roommates before he left for a brief time. He was a tremendous guy. May he Rest In Peace.

  • Ed Curtis says:

    Gus was an ND classmate (‘77) and fellow Seattleite. While our paths didn’t cross often enough, I would bump into him downtown from time to time and he always made me laugh. I remember him at ND as the “cool guy”. I came to South Bend from Fargo, North Dakota and, to a guy from the prairies, Gus seemed so at ease with the women … and everything else for that matter. I was in awe. He carried that persona into his later life: funny, at ease and “cool”. I know he’s in a good place.

  • Wally Hall says:

    Wonderful guy. Lots of fun and always upbeat.
    Great supporter of the Notre Dame Club of Seattle.

  • Jim Hossack says:

    Gus and I were neighbors and shared a common sense of humor and some hobbies. We shared a laugh when I dropped by his house with a pet goat in the back of my pickup truck. We were in very different fields; he in his law practice and me in physics. We had little understanding of the other’s field, but we connected and will always have that connection. Rest in peace, Gus.

  • Chuck Velte says:

    Gus is gone too soon! He is missed. He was a delightful, positive & caring guy. He gave so much of his time and efforts to the students and parents of Notre Dame. Gus got me involved in the ND Parents group and he was very supportive of my daughter Lisa Kosek BA 03 and JD 07, in pursuit of her career path. We were both very saddened to learn of Gus’s passing. May his Soul Rest In Peace; and, from one former pilot to another, May you have clear sky’s and visibility unlimited.

  • Paul Centofanti says:

    My Nephew Gus was always a pleasant person, even as a child growing up in Philadelphia, Pa. Very respectful of he parents and other family members. He seem to light up the room once he entered it. High spirited person. Was proud of his sisters and his family. Always with a joke and kind words.went out of his way to help his Mom in her later years. We all meet spewcial people during our lives, he was one of them

    Uncle Paul Centofanti

  • Mac Elliott says:

    Just heard that Gus passed. We knew each other in law school. Always a positive presence. God bless Gus and his family.

    R. McKinley (Mac) Elliott
    ND Law ’82

  • Michele Cosmo-Cassel says:

    I am so sad to find out quite by accident of Gus’s passing. He was a very exceptional human being and I was blessed to know him. My condolences to his other friends and family at this late date.

  • Bob Rothstein says:

    It’s been a little over two years since Gus’s death and I find myself thinking of him and missing him.

    We initially met decades ago when he brought me in as an expert witness for a case that he quickly convinced me was of great importance to him.

    When I heard why it was important, I understood its significance to Gus.

    Then, I came to learn through subsequent projects we worked on together, every case was of great importance to him.

    Gus cared.

    Gus cared about people and he demonstrated his care through his intellect, drive, his understanding of the mechanics of law, and his competitive nature.

    He can be remembered for caring about those who came to him for help, advice, ideas and friendship.

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