My former colleagues in the broadcast equipment sales business are thinking this week about Gary Crowder.
Gary died last week, according to an obituary in the Salt Lake Tribune, at the age of 75. A viewing is planned for tomorrow evening.
For me, Gary was the face of equipment manufacturer Gentner Communications. Although I did not work for Gentner, my employers sold its gear or even competed against it. Gary was a supportive presence for me at a time when I knew little about broadcast equipment and felt overwhelmed at my early NAB conventions or at times found myself trying to figure out just what mix-minus was. When people talk about how radio broadcast equipment sales is a small world, one with a family feel, I think of people like him.
Others will remember Gary for his work for Bill Bingham at dealer Northeast Broadcast Lab. In fact he wore many hats in broadcast; according to the obituary, he worked at one time or another as a DJ, engineer, station manager and owner. He also served the country in the Navy.
Rich Redmond, now of Harris, worked with Gary in various roles; they were co-workers at Northeast Broadcast. “Gary and his wife Ellen were just great people, always friendly, helpful, and truly caring,” Rich told me by email this morning. “Often Gary would open his house to all and host an evening of dinner and entertainment, ranging from his massive movie collection and home theater to playing his Hammond organ, to just great radio stories. Gary was so excited about the home theater and the sound that he would often jump from movie to move to just the right scene so your could experience being ‘in’ the movie.” (Interestingly, I just learned in Gary's obituary that his dad had been backlot supervisor at Paramount Studios in Hollywood when Gary was a kid.)
Rich shares my perceptions about Gary: “I was always amazed when we would travel to see customers, or at a show, just how many people Gary would know and or worked for him at one point or another. He would always ask about their family, and truly knew something about each of them.” Indeed, just a few weeks ago Rich came across a YouTube video, now 25 years old, revealing the warmth people felt for Gary as he left a station in Massachusetts.
I like and respect many people in our industry, and for many reasons. But the ones who truly touch me are the ones who are kind. Gary was kind. Given his supportive personality, it does not surprise me to learn now in his obituary that at one time early in life he had thought of becoming a man of the cloth.
Thanks, Gary, for being part of my own personal radio world. Your industry friends miss you.
The Salt Lake Tribune article is here. Post comments about Gary below.