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Update: Gary Silva, prominent Columbus Realtor and wrestling referee, dies

Gary Silva, a well-known real estate agent and high school wrestling referee, died suddenly today.

Silva, 49, suffered a massive heart attack after his morning run, his office confirmed.

Dawn Dunnigan, office manager at Weichert Realtors, Silva and Associates, said Silva was well known in the real estate community and was very active in his church and in the community.

“He was always doing things for others. He was an amazing person who will absolutely be missed,” said Dunnigan, who had known Silva for seven years. “He always did whatever he needed to do to make clients happy.”

A former wrestler at Baker High School, Silva also refereed high school matches. Tommy Sanders, wrestling coach for Smith Station High School, said the wrestlers called him “Super Ref,” because at the end of a match he would fall on the mat dramatically, instead of just tapping it.

“Gary was a great guy. He was always very concerned about the kids,” Sanders said. “He will be missed in the wrestling community.”

Larry Morgan, head wrestling coach at Columbus High, said Silva had good relationship with the kids he refereed.

"The kids all liked him because he was flashy on pin calls," he said.

Brothers Jeff and Dennis Anderson grew up across the street from Silva.

“He was the best friend I ever had,” Dennis said. He and Silva were managers at the same restaurant for nine years and went to real-estate school together.

He said Silva was dedicated to his church, Lighthouse Baptist, and had been on mission trips with the church to Taiwan, Argentina and Peru.

Jeff remembered Silva as someone who was always in a good mood.

“He was like a ray of sunshine all the time,” he said. “Just a good solid family man.”

Silva is survived by his wife, Delaine, and his three children, Sophie, Breanna and Chase. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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