Gary R. Tirey
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Tirey Gary R. Tirey, age 76, of Bexley, died Saturday, April 1, 2017 at home with family by his side. He was a native of Anna, Ohio, son of the late Dr. James and Flora (Jordan) Tirey. Gary was the Professor Emeritus of Tuba and Director of Instrumental Music at Otterbein University where he had served for 38 years. He will be dearly missed by his wife of 53 years, Gretchen (Kessler) Tirey; his daughter and son-in-law, Paige and Tony Zilincik; his son and daughter-in-law, Josh and Danielle Tirey; beloved grandchildren, Rachael, Sophia and Declan. Also survived by a brother, James Tirey; several nieces and nephews; other relatives and many friends and students. Besides his parents, Gary was preceded in death by his sisters Linda Cook, Margaret Ammon and brother, Joseph Tirey. He received a Bachelor's degree from Capital University and his Master's degree from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, IL. Gary was also named an honorary alumnus of Otterbein University. Gary was the choir director at Church of the Master United Methodist in Westerville for 44 years. He was an active member of the Columbus Federation of Musicians, the Ohio Music Educators Association (OMEA), and MENC: the National Association for Music Education. Gary held several leadership positions within the OMEA, has served as regional student advisor to MENC, and was a Past President of Phi Beta Mu, an honorary fraternity for band directors. In 1982, he was named by Governor James Rhodes as chairman of "Merry Tuba Christmas Columbus," an event he conducted which features an annual all tuba and euphonium Christmas concert. An original member of the Brass Band of Columbus, Gary also performed with the Columbus Symphony and faculty brass quintets and was a member of the TubaShop Quartet. Gary loved to travel, especially with family, reading and spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. Friends may call 2-4 and 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at SCHOEDINGER MIDTOWN CHAPEL, 229 East State St., Columbus, OH 43215. Then from 10- 11 a.m. Thursday, April 6, 2017 at Christ Lutheran Church, 2314 E. Main St., Bexley, OH 43209, where funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Thursday. Rev Tim Iseringhausen officiating. Private interment. Contributions in Gary R. Tirey's memory may be made to Otterbein University Music Department Gary R. Tirey Endowment Fund, Attn: Candace Brady, c/o Otterbein University, 1 South Grove St., Westerville, OH 43081 or to the Chancel Choir, Church of the Master United Methodist, 24 North Grove St., Westerville, OH 43081 or to the Organ Fund of Christ Lutheran Church, Please visit www.schoedinger.com to share a favorite memory of Gary R. Tirey.



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Published in The Columbus Dispatch from Apr. 1 to Apr. 3, 2017.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
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Calling hours
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Funeral service
11:00 AM
Memories & Condolences
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45 entries
March 26, 2021
Gary is one of the first people I met when I moved to Ohio.
He was an immensely dedicated and talented band director, and a wonderful friend.
Barbara Zuck Spriggs
Friend
March 26, 2019
I've known Gary most of my professional life, and I think of him OFTEN and miss him tremendously...especially in December, when thoughts of "Tuba Christmas" and Columbus, my home town, bubble to the surface. God bless you, Maestro Gary!
Carl Chevallard
Friend
April 23, 2017
I am grateful to be a student of Gary Tirey. Because of his encouragement, direction and sometimes correction, I am the the success that I am today. I'm not monitarily rich by any stretch of the imaginination, but I know the importance of family and friends and how to draw them closer through music. This is how I am rich, how GRT enriched me. Thank you Gretchen for sharing Gary with the Otterbein Community.

Jerry '87
Jerry Berry
April 10, 2017
Mr. Tirey inspired me to do what I wasn't sure that I could do. That was a gift that I have tried to remember throughout my life. And what a great sense of humor......who else would put a violin in the marching band !!! So glad I had a chance to know him.
April 10, 2017
It was such an honor to know and work with Gary during all of our years together with the OPCICA honors bands. Every once in awhile we are lucky enough to connect with someone who touches our hearts and soul from the first moment we meet. I always looked forward to our times together either at the festival weekend, or at the OMEA State Convention. I will always remember his gentle, sensitive manner and his positive outlook on life and music. We shared the same passion for bands, music, education and travel, which made for many wonderful and passionate discussions. It is folks like Gary that make the profession of music so special. We will all miss you every day.
Gary Ciepluch
April 6, 2017
MERE WORDS CANNOT START TO DESCRIBE HOW IMPORTANT GRT WAS IN SHAPING ME AS A MUSICIAN, HUMAN BEING AND AS A MAN. HE WILL BE MISSED. GODSPEED.
tony clements
April 6, 2017
What a delightful man to have known. I smile thinking about his laughter, kindness, intellect and grace. Thank you Gary!
Willie Franklin
April 5, 2017
Gary was my advisor while I was at OC in the 70's. He was always approachable and respectful. I flourished under his wing. The repertoire Gary chose for his performing groups was just right for Otterbein; it was challenging, yet attainable. I have returned to Otterbein for numerous alumni music events, and I always looked forward to saying hi to Gary, long after I graduated.

My dad also knew Gary, as they sang together for various church performances, and always spoke highly of Gary.
Cathy Stettner Shinaberry
April 5, 2017
My daughter Julie (class of 1999) was a big fan of Mr. Tirey. She was always included in many of the music programs at Otterbein even with having to make accommodations for her physical limitations. I'm sure he is directing beautiful music with all those angels we know and love.
Carmen Bagley
April 5, 2017
My thoughts and prayers go out to your family. What a sweet man, so honored to have known him. May he rest in piece.

Warmly,

Wendy Hall
Wendy Hall
April 4, 2017
Mr. Tirey,
YOU will always be Otterbein to me. Your enthusiasm for students and music will always be appreciated by the countless people your life touched.
Rest In Peace,
Deborah E. Doan Davis
Davis Zoo
PA Branch
Deborah Davis
April 4, 2017
Gretchen, Paige, Josh:
You have lost a husband and father, we have lost a great friend of some 40 plus years--40 years of Bexley 4th of July parades and Christmas and New Years parties; 40 years of road trips with Al Miler and Ray Eubanks to Cincinnati for Opening Day with the Reds, and more infrequently, frigid days with the Bengals [How many racks of ribs at the Montgomery Inn and bowls of Jambalaya at De Felice's does that add up to?]; 40 joyous and anxious years watching two little girls become young women and then young mothers and career women. [In fact, I believe the only argument I ever had with Gary was when I took Jennifer and Paige sailing at Hoover in the days before cell phones and became becalmed for hours in the remotest section of the lake. I think Gary's expectations were that I should have swum to shore towing the boat and girls behind.]
Most of Gary's friends were musicians. I was decidedly, if not tone deaf, not a musician. But as an educator, Gary was one of the first to see the potential benefits of forging a partnership between Otterbein and Columbus State, the new school in town, for the good of students at both institutions. That partnership became a model for public-private college partnerships throughout Ohio, and hundreds of students have benefited from it.
Gary, best of friends and colleague, we miss you.
David Hockenbery
April 4, 2017
Mr. Tirey was my first tuba teacher and instilled knowledge and values that I've used in my career, 20 years later. Thank you Mr. Tirey!
Chris Blaha
April 4, 2017
Mr. Tirey was such a fixture of Otterbein! He helped me be a better musician and person. I will miss GRT! Prayers of love and peace to all of his family.
LAURA Wehner COLLINS
April 4, 2017
Gary was a classmate of my father's while they were at Capital. Who would have guessed that two Capital grads would have conspired to bring me to Otterbein! I remained a communications major throughout my four years but never once stopped playing in Concert Band and Wind Ensemble (and Jazz band and Pit Orchestra). The impressive quality of the entire music program that relies so heavily on non-music majors is forever a lasting tribute to Gary's deep commitment to each individual student. He changed the face of Otterbein and will be profoundly missed.
Deepest Sympathies,

Brian Few '97 (trombone)
April 3, 2017
I have been looking for Gary and Gretchen since I got out of the navy. He gave me a job teaching his woodwind students private lessons when I was 18 and a student at Capital. He also let me use his Nash Rambler for a date. Believed in me when few people did! He was a rare and unique individual. The world is worse for his loss!
Ted Hopkins
April 3, 2017
To the Family of Mr. Tirey,

In 1976 to 1980 I attended Otterbein College as a Physical Education major but I took private Harp Lessons from a family friend while I attended Otterbein. It was Mr. Tirey who gave me the confidence to play in the band and travel with the concert band on it's Spring Tours and play the best I could at the time.

I have thought of Mr. Tirey very much these past four years as I have returned to Otterbein as my daughter will graduate this spring.

Mr. Tirey will truly be missed deeply by your family but also by people who you do not even know that he touched our lives with courage, patience, love and the gift of music.

Sending you my Deepest Sympathy and in my heart I truly believe that Mr. Tirey is now conducting God's Music in heaven.

Jan Gillman Bremer - 80'
Janet Gillman-Bremer
April 3, 2017
My heart is broken and my sympathies are extended to the Tirey family for we have all lost a truly caring family member, musician and forever friend. After having no Otterbein marching band my freshman year, the arrival of Gary Tirey my sophomore year was a gift from heaven that kept on giving. His energy, vision and talent created a musical family where music majors and non-majors were all allowed to excel and his caring for every student extended far beyond graduation. That 100+ member Cardinal Marching Band was the highlight of my college years and his confidence in my ability to play the coveted baritone sax in Symphony of Winds was an opportunity I will always cherish. Band Camp every year was truly Boot Camp but the Man with the Megaphone made the extra effort, long hours and the journey so worthwhile you forgot the pain and remembered the pride. I will truly miss his smile and hearty hello but I will never ever forget the warm memories created by that special arrangement of Old Man River and Slaughter on Tenth Avenue that drew a standing ovation at the first football game in 1968. The echoes ring in my ears and tears well up in my eyes. Thank You, Mr T for blessing my life and inspiring me to always strive for my best.
Barbara Bibbee
April 3, 2017
Gary was my dear friend, trusted colleague, and an inspiring leader and exquisite musician. The joy he brought to the podium, and to the orchestra pit, warms my heart and always will. Thanks, Maestro. God bless you.
2
Carl Chevallard
April 3, 2017
While Gary's passing is a significant loss to Central Ohio, his life, his talent, his passion, and his character will forever be great gifts to Columbus and to all who knew him. Gary has been an inspiration in the music profession as a performer, as an administrator, as a a promoter, and, always ... always, as a teacher. Our heartfelt sympathies go out to Gary's family, students, friends, and colleagues ... he will always be remembered as a remarkable and positive presence throughout our community. Please know you are in our prayers.
Rick Blatti, Professor Emeritus and Former Director
The Ohio State University School of Music
Richard Blatti
April 3, 2017
I am so sorry to hear of this loss ... my condolences to Gary's wife and family at this time .... Gary Tirey was the kindest and most supportive person of me my entire college life ... I will miss him deeply ! He and Marvin will be playing the most beautiful music from heaven ! With much love ,Terre Blair Hamlisch
Terre Blair
April 3, 2017
We have known Gary and Gretchen since Gary started teaching at Otterbein in the late 1960s when we also came to Otterbein. We remember Gary directing Otterbein's Marching Band and Pep Band for so many years as a man of seemingly endless energy. We saw the family at many Otterbein events, and they were contributing members to the high quality of the Westerville and Bexley communities. He will be missed by many people including us.
Bob and Mary Place
April 3, 2017
Gary was a great musician, a great teacher, a great man and a great friend. He will be missed by many of us whom he touched over the years. Deepest sympathies from myself and my family to Gretchen and the entire Tirey family. Gary's life was a blessing to all.
Chuck Few
April 3, 2017
As an Otterbein student from 1971-75, I remember fondly my association with Mr. Tirey in both the marching and concert bands. As an immature 18-year old, I found a "home" in the Otterbein band and with Mr. Tirey at a crucial point in my life. He was encouraging to me to be involved in band as a non-music major who found the "family" atmosphere that he fostered in the band to be just what I needed at that point in my life. My favorite memory of Mr. Tirey was his leadership in a summer band tour of the British Isles in 1973. I will always be grateful for his friendship, his leadership, his humor and his encouragement.
Tom Heil
April 3, 2017
Gary was one of the finest gentlemen I have known in my lifetime. I lived in Pickerington in the early 90s and was associated with him at Tubachristmas and playing at German Village. Some very great memories!! His passing leaves a big hole in my heart. My deepest condolences to his entire family and our tuba community.
Bart Collins
April 3, 2017
Recalling fond memories of Gary and thinking of good Capital times. Love and prayers.
Mel and Maureen Wygant
April 3, 2017
I am so very sorry to learn of Gary's death. He was a good, supportive friend and a fellow colleague who championed music education. The first Merry Tuba Christmas I attended was in Chicago, with my late husband Bob Wachtel. What a wonderful time that was. Gary did so many things to promote music education and the tuba. Our community will be considerably diminished with his loss. My sincere condolences are extended to his wife and daughter.
Linda Mercer
April 2, 2017
Mr. Tirey has touched thousands of lives and I extend much sympathy to all his family. He will live on in the hearts of many. His influence on my son was immeasurable. Growing up in rural Ohio, it was a big step for Robbie to go off to college. Mom was nervous as was he but Mr. Tirey was there for him as an advisor and as a tuba instructor but as so much more. As he got to know each student, he truly cared and it wasn't just a job for him but a calling. He would tease Robbie and say, "you can take Robbie out of Caldwell but you can't take the Caldwell out of Robbie!" We will never forget!!
Stacey Lucas
April 2, 2017
Mr. Tirey in 1977, 1978, or 1979. I playe
Susan Abraham Nguyen
April 2, 2017
I have so many memories of Gary during the 34 years that I taught the flute and flute ensembles at Otterbein College during his tenure. But the one memory that stands out is walking by his studio, and if he wasn't teaching, his office door was always open, and he would be sitting at his desk and give a big smile and invite us in to catch up on the latest with our students or the band. His enthusiasm for the instrumental music program at Otterbein was contagious. I always appreciated his encouragement for the work of all the adjunct faculty and our work.
Phyllis Hester
April 2, 2017
My heart goes out to his family. As my son, Christian Bush, begins his college career in music education next year, we will be forever grateful for Gary's guidance, support and encouragement for Christian. We hope Christian will carry on with Gary's love of music and sharing his talents and gifts with others as Gary did. Rest in peace, Gary.
Nancy Stohs
April 2, 2017
The passing of Gary Tirey as a husband, father and family man is a tremendous loss. It is also a great loss to the Ohio Music Education Association. Gary's service to music education provides the standard for all music teachers to strive to attain in their careers. I personally benefited from the Bill Moffit marching band clinics Gary organized and led during his years at Otterbein College. Those clinics provided positive, practical information and advice gratefully appreciated by young and experienced directors alike. I express my sincere condolences to Gary's wife and family. He was a great one.
Respectfully, Steve Strider, Indian Hill High School Band Director (retired)
Steve Strider
April 2, 2017
Simply stated, Gary has been the hero and champion for many of us.
Eric Aho
April 2, 2017
My father and I loved this man who was gentle and caring. We worked out w him at grant fitness center for the past 20 years and foinnd his presence comforting and gentle.
April 2, 2017
I will always remember the tuba lessons with Gary and playing in Grove City Winds. So glad to have had his friendship and encouragement.
My heart-felt sympathy to Gretchen and the entire family.

Sincerely,

David Steele
David Steele
April 2, 2017
Gary was a fine musician but also a wonderful human being. He was very affirming and helpful to my son who for a season taught at Otterbein and played in the Brass Band of Columbus. I knew him also and he was always friendly and easy to talk to. I was glad to call him a friend and fellow brass player. He will be missed. May God Bless the family and give them peace.
Michael DiCuirci
April 2, 2017
RIP Mr. Tirey. Condolences to the Tirey family. I often think back to my time as a member of Otterbein bands with great fondness, largely because of him. I'll never forget his wonderful sense of humor and commitment to music and students.
Tim Bullis
April 2, 2017
After a year at Ohio State as a music major, I made the decision to leave college and pursue a career. Like so many young folks in that situation, my instrument spent the next two years in a closet collecting dust. My job put me in contact with Gary as we worked on a record album of the Otterbein Bands. He casually invited me to sit in with the band even though I wasn't attending school there. One thing led to another, and I soon found myself playing with several groups at the college as my fulltime job allowed. As I've read accounts from other folks reflecting on their relationships with Mr. Tirey, I see a common thread in so many of the stories: He never gave up on us...even though we may have given up on ourselves. I have Gary to thank for re-igniting the fire within me musically that has resulted in countless opportunities over the last 40 years.
John Bierley
April 2, 2017
My first great mentor in music and in life. From the summer of 7th grade through the end of high school, Gary Tirey took care of and guided me on my journey to becoming a professional musician. The challenges he gave me from weekly lessons, summer bands, Otterbein College Bands as well as T.U.B.A. conferences at the time, tuba ensembles, Interlochen, getting to know my future teacher, Harvey Phillips and innumerable other opportunities helped me to grow and prepare for my life as a professional. He always had my best interests in mind and I will always remember him with the utmost respect, loyalty, and love. I will always carry your memory and example until the end of my time.
Eric Strohecker
April 2, 2017
Fond memories of Gary. Prayers for his family...
Becky Miller
April 2, 2017
Tony and family, We are so sorry to learn of your loss. He was a wonderful person and I always enjoyed seeing him play and conduct at TubaChristmas in Columbus and Circleville. His influence on many people is obvious and he will certainly be remembered and missed by many people whose lives he touched over many years.

There is a wonderful and personal interview on line from 3/25/2000 by Carole Nowicke in which Gary tells his biography (until 2000) and has many great stories about his musical life, his friends, and education. (Harvey, Bill Bell, etc.) and friends. It is a transcript of a taped interview and can be found on line by putting his name and "Windsong Press."

Brent and Judy Stobbs
Brent Stobbs
April 2, 2017
I'm so very sad to hear this. Gary Tirey was a good guy and the real deal. He always put the needs of his students first and was an inspiration to so many others. He was not only a good hang, everyone that knew him only had good things to say about him. He will be missed. RIP Gary.
David Roth
April 2, 2017
I'm so very sad to hear this. Gary Tirey was a good guy and the real deal. He always put the needs of his students first and was an inspiration to so many others. He was not only a good hang, everyone that knew him only had good things to say about him. He will be missed. RIP Gary.
David Roth
April 1, 2017
Gary was one of the first people I met when I moved to Ohio. He and his family opened their hearts and their home to me.
His impact on Otterbein cannot be overstated. Neither can his role in popularizing and growing the audience for band music.
I haven't seen the Tireys in a long time. Our paths diverged some time ago. I send my deepest sympathy to his beautiful wife and daughter. Gary is unforgettable. His personality was larger than life and his generosity knew no bounds. May he rest in much deserved peace.
Barbara Zuck
April 1, 2017
We met in Budapest and lived blocks apart...something we always knew was fate! What fun the four of us have had these last 10 years. Our hearts are full of memories and love. We wish you peace our friend!
Mark and Lynn Byington
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