I learned today of the death from cancer of Gary Omphroy, a longtime volunteer DJ at Jazz90.1 (WGMC), the community jazz station in Rochester, NY. I served as station manager and afternoon DJ there from 2001-2004 and had a chance to work with Gary during that time.
Gary O, as he was known on the air, was one of those guys who seem like they can’t be real. Unfailingly nice, always ready with a smile and a kind word, always happy to be there. I looked forward to the one night each week when Gary would come in to relieve me on the air. He made people happy just by showing up.
He had great taste in music, too. As I remember, Gary was a big fan of Pat Metheny. I had a chance to give him some Metheny merchandise that came into the station once and I was very happy to give it to the one person at the station I knew would get the biggest kick out of it. I still associate Metheny’s music with Gary’s enthusiasm.
I can’t claim to have known Gary all that well or to have insight into his struggles with cancer. I’ve been away from Rochester for a long time and it’s been nearly a decade since I last saw him. But I treasure the time I got to spend with him and the part he played in making Jazz90.1 the station it was and is.
Thank you, Gary. You’ll be missed. I’m going to spin Bright Size Life tonight and think of you.