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Article updated: 6/28/2013 5:50 PM

Fundraiser Saturday for Sleepy Hollow wood carver

Well-known wood carver Bob Guge, 60, of Sleepy Hollow, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer last fall. A fundraiser will be held for Guge Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Elgin.

Well-known wood carver Bob Guge, 60, of Sleepy Hollow, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer last fall. A fundraiser will be held for Guge Saturday at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Elgin.


Courtesy of Josh Guge

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A fundraiser will be held Saturday in Elgin for well-known wood carver Bob Guge, who was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in November.

Guge, 60, of Sleepy Hollow, runs the Guge Institute of Wildlife Art in Gilberts with his son Josh Guge.


Bob Guge is currently a patient of the rehabilitation unit at Presence St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, but kept on carving and teaching students until about six weeks ago.

He said he got the doctors' OK to attend the fundraiser, which he called "really heartwarming." In fact, he feels so much better that he's planning to go back to work, albeit teaching shorter classes, he said.

"I have a little nausea here and there. Other than that, I feel good," he said. "I can't wait to get behind my wood bench and start working on something. I'm more looking forward to that than anything right now."

Doctors found a tumor the size of a golf ball three days before Thanksgiving, Josh Guge said. Surgery took place the next day at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, followed by six weeks of chemotherapy and radiation.

The tumor, however, has grown back to the size of a small egg, said Bob Guge, who will now start getting chemo five days a month for the next year. Doctors gave him less than two years to live, he said.

Bob Guge said he started carving when he was a senior in high school, and has taught at least 800 to 900 students over the decades. He's taught seminars all over the country, and as far as Canada and Japan.

Josh Guge said his father earned the "best in the world" title for his miniature birds five times at the Ward World Championships Wildfowl Carving Competition in Maryland.

"Everyone loves him. I hear it from people all the time, everywhere I go," Josh Guge said. "He just kind of has a magnetic personality. He's a really good teacher and a nice guy."

Among Bob Guge's most faithful students is wood carver Enzo Floreani, of Sudbury, Ontario, who first met Bob Guge about 15 years ago. Floreani will attend the fundraiser in Elgin.

For a few years, Floreani made the 15-hour drive from Canada once a year, then started coming twice a year.

"I consider him my best friend," he said. "He's quite laid back, he doesn't rush. He never, ever gets upset."

The fundraiser is from 6 to 9 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 2700 W. Highland Ave. in Elgin. Tickets at the door are $10 per person, or $20 per family. There will be live and silent auctions featuring some of Bob Guge's pieces and pieces donated by his students, along with a raffle, food and refreshments.

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