Monday, March 03, 2008

Gary Jude Anderson

There are people who drift in and out of your life and the good ones are always as welcome as those first days of spring. They just make you feel good to see them. I've known Gary Jude for well over 20 years, and although we didn't hang out on a regular basis when our paths did cross I welcomed the chance to chat and catch up.

When Gary's mom called me on Friday, I knew instantly that the news was not going to be good. He had suffered a stroke a few years back which took it's toll. We were all shocked when he showed up at the Elvis show needing a cane to walk and obviously still recovering. Gary was all about the show - he wasn't going to let this setback slow him down at all. His performance was inspirational to say the least. Over the last two years his health was improving - he no longer needed the cane, his speech was much better and he was driving again. He was singing with the Northport Choral and was in great spirits, laughing and telling stories at the rehearsals for this year's show.

Those of you who knew Gary know what a unique individual he truly was. He was always Gary. He was not a slave to any fashion or trend. He had his own sense of style and stuck with it. He was passionate about music and loved to talk about it as much as he obviously enjoyed being on stage. I worked with Gary in the New Bohemians, the group that eventually became The Scofflaws. Gary's performances, whether it be his near channeling of James Brown to his spaghetti eating during our version of "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly," were sublime. He was always a welcome guest at Purple Gang gigs and he had been with The Elvis Show from the very beginning - a favorite of both the fans and the performers.

Gary suffered a massive stroke that took his life after a couple of days in the hospital. I was thankful that we did touch base this year - at the last minute - so he was able to take part in this year's show. He did a great job as usual and he was able spend time with some old friends. I know that on whatever journey he is on now, he making new ones.

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