Harry Harwood GARRISON


Harry Harwood, devoted father of Marshall Harwood Garrison, loving brother of Nancy Manolis (Deane) and Lois Young (Timothy), beloved son of the late James Harwood Garrison and Dahlia B. (nee Johnson) Garrison, also survived by nieces, nephews, cousins, other extended family and many friends.

Passed away, Thursday, September 19, 2013. Age 77 Years.

Sole proprietor of the Player Piano Shop, enthusiast & restorer of all variety of automated musical instruments, life-time entertainer performing magic acts & smoke-ring blowing, including an appearance on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Featured in local television & national media, selected one of Cincy Magazine's Most Interesting People of 2010.

Raconteur, gourmand, fine-arts supporter & lover of music, particularly traditional & Dixieland jazz, boogie-woogie piano, blues, bluegrass, & opera. Historian of Hamilton County, Cincinnati, Westwood, & Colerain Township; craftsman, traveler, latter-day renaissance man, noted by many friends & colleagues for having a remarkable memory & his ability to recall detail. An unforgettable character, he will be sorely missed.

The family is particularly grateful to Tom Eggers & Harry's "2nd family" of Caregivers Health Network staff who have done so much to maintain his quality of life in recent years, especially Darlene Givens & Mary Allen.

Visitation Friday from 6:00 PM until 8:00 PM at the Westwood United Methodist Church, 3460 Epworth Ave., Cincinnati 45211, where a Western Hills-Cheviot Lodge #140 F&AM service will be held Friday at 7:00 PM. Visitation Saturday from 10:00 AM until 11:00 AM at the Westwood United Methodist Church, where funeral services will be held Saturday at 11:00 AM.

Memorials may be directed to the Westwood United Methodist Church or the American Diabetes Association.

Bolton & Lunsford Funeral Home serving the family.

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Published by The Cincinnati Enquirer on Sep. 22, 2013.
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69 Entries
The years go by, but you are always remembered Harry. And remembered with a smile.
Julie Malvase Randall
September 16, 2021
My daughter met Harry, and Marshall, trick or treating, around 2008 let's say. They opened the door with a wide welcome. Invited in, we stayed a good hour learning a thing or two about Cincinnati history, vaudeville, collectable music machines, Harry and his family. As we all know, an hour with Harry barely scratches the surface, but leaves an impression that lasts a life time. There were a few times later I came down the street just to spend some time with Harry, pondering this or that, as his last few years were upon us. What I recall most vividly was the giant boisterous laugh. Something magical, and musical. Very fitting.
Don Inman
November 11, 2019
I had a blast working full time for Harry from 1976 to 1979. Harry was a very generous guy and always very interesting. I learned many important skills from him. I maintained a working relationship and friendship with Harry through the end of his life. HG was an important figure in my life.

Pat Kelly
September 16, 2019
I'll always remember Harry. A most interesting and entertaining man. We shared a love of music...particularly opera and dixieland. Best of all, we had a lasting friendship.

~~Julie Malvase Randall
September 16, 2019
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't remember my good friend and mentor.He was and still is an inspiration to me and our "fireside chats" are precious to my memory.
February 28, 2019
Harry might be the single most interesting person anyone could ever meet... my parents Amy and Walt Burton knew him my whole life... last time I saw him we ate dinner together with my mom and he was as fascinating and charming as ever.... keep people like this alive with our thoughts and actions... they deserve it
Jason Burton
February 26, 2019
I will likely notlikely forget Harry, especially on this date. On this day, I would call to remind him of a certain event that occurred every year on September 19th, and being of interest to both, we'd embark on a discussion of the subject...remembering Harry, regards to all...
E. Breitburg
September 19, 2015
Father of one of my closest friends, his son Marshall. Mr garrison was very classy and a true gentleman. Marshall and I were classmates at Howe Military School. I am staying at Mr Garrisons home tonite while I attend a continuing education course. I miss him. Thanks to mr eggers and Marshall for the hospitality.
Larry Gamby
November 14, 2014
Customer: "Mr Garrison, do you play piano?"

Harry: "Not by hand."
Pat Kelly
September 20, 2014
On this day,lingering thoughts of Harry remain...godspeed...
Emanuel Breitburg
September 19, 2014
miss you Harry
May 21, 2014
I just learned of Harry's death last September. I met Harry in 1955 in a class we both attended at the University of Cincinnati. We dated and became good friends. We lost track of each other over the years, but got back in touch a few years ago. I still have the beautiful Edison gramophone Harry gave me for my 21st birthday. I will always remember this interesting and talented man. It has been a privilege to know him. Rest in peace, Harry.
Julie Malvase Randall
April 12, 2014
Time flies its been a month since harry's passing.I was his driver for the passed few years. He hung in there for as long as he could. Harry Garrison was a Great man he helped a lot of people.I learned a lot from harry and he gave me good advice.Harry was always there for me when I needed help.I miss him and our conversations around the fireplace We became great close friends. Harry Garrison will always be number one in my book. Tom Eggers
October 22, 2013
51 before me, it is time to add my thoughts and memories. I believe there are others who have known Harry longer as I only met him in Cub Scouts. Of those I saw in Cincinnati Ron Conradi and Herb Biegel are candidates from Westwood School. We went on to Boy Scouts and Sea Scouts, no seas nearby but the Ohio River served well for Doc Jones' house boat. Not sure why Doc trusted the bunch of us alone for a week at Boonesboro, KY on the KY River while he went home to practice dentistry. We survived. Then followed the Delts, Delta Tau Delta Fraternity at UC. We pledges survived our visit to Devou Park once we untied ourselves from trees and hitch hiked to the Delt House in unusual atire. We had earned that by the Cherry Bomb and tear gas attack on the actives sleeping in the dorm. Perhaps others recall those younger days. As Delt Treasurer I had the expert guidance of Harry's father, continuing the family connection started by our mothers. My experiences then began to merge with others. There was the Moon Landing party in Obrienvile and many evenings listening to Monte Tabert and the QCJB. it was an unexpected reminiscence to see Roy Tate at Harry's services. He was Monte's trumpet man. Then, as many others mentioned came the evenings at The Urwiler house a libation and cigar with the long conversations. thanks to all the family, Nancy, Lois, Marshal and all the rest for making me so comfortable and permitting me to get to truly know you. Marshal, already well known, I know you even more and expect opportunity to build on that. Your efforts to remember your father were as he would have wished and allowed us all to relive our happy times together.
Lin Manning
October 10, 2013

Harry Garrison was everyone's favorite - doing his magic tricks- at birthday parties for young and old. Lib Stone
October 5, 2013
(note my previous message that I failed to sign)
Joe Rosenberger
October 4, 2013
I sadly learned just now of his passing, so where do I begin? I met Harry back in the 'seventies and over the years he'd amazed and amused me, a young ragtime player. I was honored to be a friend, a guest at his home, a consumer of his food and drink, a beneficiary of his kindness (he gave me the key to the showroom so I could practice on world-class pianos), an audience at his performances (they were continual) and a witness to his larger-than-life persona. The prime rib dinners in Chicago after NAMM, the postprandial smoke ring routine, the long drive to the Rice Hotel to deliver a piano--the memories all flood back. Having left Cincinnati for Silicon Valley in 2000, it's years since I'd seen him, yet I carried him around in my head. On a number of occasions I ran into people here in San Francisco who had their Harry stories! He was funny, loud, outlandish, generous, talented, fearless, political, sophisticated, surprising, educated, opinionated, sentimental, observant, and utterly singular. I'm still somehow amazed that he has left us, as though he could have turned death away merely by his powers of oratory. His passing affects me deeply, and I offer my condolences to Marshall and the entire PPS community.
October 4, 2013
We laid to rest my dearest friend,Harry Garrison last Saturday.It was a wonderful service and I know Harry would have been pleased.The funeral service staff did a perfect job of mixing traditional and "New Orleans"styles.Rest in peace my beloved brother!Nathan(Skip)Woodhull
October 1, 2013
We are so sorry to hear about Harry. It's been a while since we have seen him but have found memories of him. We send our prayers to his family and friends. Holly and Phil Dickinson
September 30, 2013
My brief time with Mr Garrison was a eventful learning experience that I will never forget . He took me to some very educational and different places. I will always remember the look on his face when he was listening to his Jazz music, it was pure melancholy delight. God Bless you and your family. It was my pleasure and honor to help take care of such a great man.
Sarah Turvey
September 28, 2013
I was blessed to know you. It was more than fun, and a pleasure sharing your company at Hector's (Prof. Currie) cook outs. Enjoyed your stories, especially your escapades on the Johnny Carson Show.
It was a pleasure to experience your wonderful collection of music boxes as a guest at your home. This experience I will never miss, as the recollection of you will forever linger in our memory.
Mr. Robin Marshall and Family
September 28, 2013
I grew up a few blocks from The Player Piano Shop and was awed at an early age by player pianos and the man who could fix them. We got one and I would sit mesmerized as Mom would crank out the songs. That was in the early '60's.
Andrew Stone
September 27, 2013
G'bye, Harry. We'll miss ya.
Westwood Historical Society
September 27, 2013
May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived. While it has been years since the last time I saw "Horrible" Harry, I still have one of his coffee mugs from the Main Street store on my desk. I remember the magic tricks he would awe me with when I was a young child and he was at our house for a dinner party with my parents. I'm going to have to have a nice bourbon with a good cigar and blow a few smoke rings toward heaven. RIP Harry.
Jamie Griffith
September 27, 2013
So many memories of "The Great Garrison!" At the St. Louis Ragtime Festival in the 60's and 70's regaling us with wonderful stories. And these weren't jokes -- just Harry's take on life. He could tell you just about getting up in the morning and going thru his day, and you'd be on the floor laughing. And the time he drove up on my front lawn with a player piano in the truck that I had admired in hi shop. He said he had to come to Chicago with a delivery and "still had some room in the truck." He sold it to me for what I thought was a song and best of all, took my old beat up player in trade. And his incredible hospitality whenever I found myself in Cincinnati on business. A bed, fabulous meals by his wonderful old cook, and a cigar or two of the highest quality after dinner -- complete with his giant smoke rings, of course. I could go on and on. Rest well up there, dear friend. And give my best to Frank Powers.
Mike Schwimmer
September 27, 2013
Harry, rest in peace. We had many happt times together.
Ron Maifeld
September 27, 2013
September 27, 2013
May God be with your family as you deal with this loss you experienced (Psalms 55:16).
September 27, 2013
Using a quote I learned from HARRY, " I am trying desperately and failing miserably " to come to terms with Harry's passing. I met Harry when I was 36 and for 25 years he was my GREAT friend. Words are not enough to say what HARRY meant to me. My condolences to Marshall and the entire Garrison Family.
Eve Harper
September 27, 2013
I met Harry years ago and we had a fine steak dinner together in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Magical Masonic KonKlave he treated me like a king.... wonderful man and friend, we will miss you Harry and be so glad to see you again when the time comes. In the meantime, blow some smoke rings in the clouds, brother.....
Tom Crecelius
September 26, 2013
Rest well Brother.

The Invisible Lodge will miss you.
Robert Marquis
September 26, 2013
Harry Garrison -- his hearty laughter is what comes to mind, Harry loved life and it shone in his resonant voice and laughter. To know Harry was to share with him his joy at being alive, at being with friends and sharing with them the simple joy of being together. Thank you Harry. Dear friend: I will always remember the fun we shared at every cookout you attended at my humble abode. It would have flopped without you. And the Christmas party we shared at you home, you touched every life you encountered. Your hearty love of life was contagious. We shall never forget your loving spirit. It was, and is, an inspiration to us all.
I wouldn't replace a minute of life in your unique company; memories I shall treasure with fond smiles and laughter.
Prof. R. Hector Currie, U. of Cincinnati
September 26, 2013
May you have peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
September 26, 2013
Harry was a friend of many years. His love of music was never ending. He will be missed.
Bennet Leedy
September 26, 2013
Met Harry on Main Street. Went in the shop and three hours latter came out with so much Cincinnati history. Then a mutual friend, Paul Coppersmith suggested we all go to dinner. What a fabulous time. I always enjoyed Harry's antics. Latter after moving to Colerain's township, I learned that the property behind my house was in his family. We talked about the history. Just loved this man
Priscilla Oehlschlaeger
September 25, 2013
We will cherish the memories of the wonderful record "spins" in your room with the small group of devotees. Your generous spirit and rollicking stories framed those moments. Your dream of bringing a player piano to the Indy Bash was realized, and a huge treat for us all. Our sincere sympathy to your family.

Mick and Sally Fee, Novi, Michigan
September 25, 2013
Harry Garrison was the only magician from Cincinnati to ever make it to the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. The magic community in Cincinnati was always very proud of The Smoke Ring King.
Ron Calhoun
September 25, 2013
Harry and my wonderful late Mother were friends. My thoughts are with his family. Celebrations will continue in heaven...
Robin Martin
September 25, 2013
Harry and my Mother Nancy Schoenling were classmates who grew up together going to Westwood School back in the 40's, Everyone enjoyed his magic shows he did for our birthday parties back in the early 70's. I took my son to his house to meet him about 15 years ago and I'm glad I did. Harry was truly a great guy and I'll never forget him. I'll be getting out my vcr tape of him on Johnny Carson we recorded when he attempted to do his smoke ring trick that didn't work out so well but was quite entertaining. May you rest in peace my friend.
Lance Bakemeier
September 25, 2013
September 25, 2013
September 25, 2013
September 25, 2013
As a proud owner of three players from Harry, all delivered by Harry to Virginia, with magic shows thrown in, I have followed Harry and will miss is optimism and stories even as he fought diabetes. My two Steinway Duo-Arts are silent and draped in black this week. Thanks, Marshall for your care in these last sad years. Bob and Faye Howard, Hampton, VA
September 25, 2013
Well Harry, I know you will be pumping your much loved player piano rolls for our master, and enjoying a fine Steinway Duo-Art. My true friend and supporter of my work for 40 years, I will greatly miss you. I must say your finest achievement, Marshall,a good person like yourself!
Ron Wehmeier
September 25, 2013
Harry and my late husband, David Cole, were close friends for nearly 50 years. When I came to visit David in January of 2005, the very first thing on David's list of "must do" was for me to meet "The Great Garrison." That visit with David became a lifetime commitment. We were married at Harry's lovely home, and when David died, his funeral was at Harry's hone as well. It was the perfect place for both occasions. Harry had been David's best friend and cohort in many adventures. And oh, Harry!! All the good times inbetween my first meeting you and this sad goodbye. As so many others have said, there just isn't anyone as memorable as you, and memorable in so many ways. I'm proud and grateful to have known you and to have called you my friend. My deepest sympathy to Marshall and to Nancy and Lois. Marshall, I join your mother in thanking for everything you did to make Harry's life easier during these last few years of illness. He loved you so. God bless us all, everyone. The world is indeed better because he was with us, and the world is great deal quieter now that he's gone. Others have said to rest in peace. I suspect he's already gathered a crowd of old and new friends and is regaling them with stories, and passing around fine cigars.
Susan Cole
September 25, 2013
Harry came into my life in 1972 and literally rescued me from getting out of the player-piano business.His trust and loyalty have kept me going all these years by providing wisdom and kindness beyond measure.He was truly my hero!Nathan(Skip)Woodhull,Lima,Ohio
September 24, 2013
I met Harry 48 years ago on a summer night in O'Brianville. He was singing the Society page with gusto to his player piano, wine glass held high. Such great fun, unique, interested, interesting, exuberant and bright.

Dear Harry, I shall miss you terribly! Thank you, dear friend, for high spirited dinners, epic adventures, wonderful chats, magic shows for my kids, my player piano and your unfailing talent for lighting up anyone's life who was lucky enough to experience you! God Speed!
Melanie Morrison
September 24, 2013
What an extraordinary man Harry was. Will always remember him as a very good and kind friend. We were always happy to share our love of mechanical music and antiques with him. He will be missed by many. Our sympathy to Marshall and other family members.
Hayes and Lois McClaran
September 24, 2013
terry parrish
September 24, 2013
Harry was a friend and staunch supporter of the ragtime cause. I last saw him in Indianapolis two years ago this January when he gave a presentation on the player piano. He asked me to play a rag and I obliged him...he had the biggest smile on his face. He autographed a piano roll which said, "to Terry, You are the Greatest". God bless ya Harry, I know you are telling your stories to the throngs up above....
Terry Parrish
September 24, 2013
Harry was a wonderful friend to me, my late husband Jim, and my three kids who adored 'Horrible HArry, the Bearded Piano Wizard' ...don't remember where the 'horrible' came from, there was nothing horrible about him! He always had a trick up his Uncle Sam ouft fit for them. So many wonderful memories of time spent with Harry. The highlight was the solemn 'service' we held on Old Fountain Square on UN Day for the 'Death of Uncle Sam'. Truly memorable! Ran old Dorothy right off the Squaare, we did! He will be missed by so many old friends.
Margery Griffith
September 24, 2013
It is with great sadness I read of Harry's demise. A friend, and an endless source of information and entertainment over the forty years I have known him. From the Player Piano Shop, Garrison's Groto, and the organ rallys, if the word Cincinnati is mentione--Harry imediaterly comes to my mind. RIP Old Friend !!!
September 24, 2013
I first met Harry in late 1969 when his shop was out on Madison Road. I found him to always be generous with his time. I still have my coffee cup he gave me years ago when he visited Chicago and I gave him a tour of the Sanfilippo Collection and then we enjoyed a marvelous dinner afterward. Harry filled the evening with anecdotes and humor. As a previous post said, we shall never meet another man like Harry Garrison. My condolences to the family.
Robert Ridgeway
September 24, 2013
Where do I start? I met Harry over 50 years ago. Ask me where? I don't know. We attended concerts, nightclubs, restaurants, coffee houses just to name a few places. The Barn restaurant downtown, Valerio's Italian restaurant downtown, The Windsor Cafe downtown, The Rib Restaurant (next to the Windsor and below Valerio's)and many more similar establishments. Harry was one of a kind. There will NEVER be another Harry Garrison. Getting together at his home. Big Joe Duskin playing the piano. I remember taking my son when he was a "young man" in his formative years. I told him, "Jake you must meet Harry Garrison." He is an American Classic.
Harry thank you for being my friend. I am the one that is thankful that an introduction was made by the late Frank Powers. You two can meet again at the big music studio in the sky.
Harry I loved ya. May Harry's memory be for a blessing.

Stuart Hodesh
Stuart Hodesh
September 24, 2013
Harry was my full-time employer for 3 years, 1976-1979, I accompanied him on multiple piano related trips to Chicago, Atlanta, and to his family cabin in Grand Rapids, MN. He taught me so much - not only about tools and craftsmanship - but also about enjoying life. He was generous and gracious, among his qualities. His vast knowledge, his sense of humor, his love of music - all have affected me deeply. And, as a jazz pianist, I have to say that listening to all of those piano rolls while working in the PPS gave me a different perspective, as well. Harry, I'll miss you. Say hi to Snooks, Skippy, Bill Dobbs, Frank Rodin and all of the other great departed characters I met while in your employ. Thanks for being a friend for 37 years.
Pat Kelly
September 23, 2013
Harry was a great friend and a wonderful support to me in my formative years of entertaining on the vintage jazz scene in Cincinnati. He introduced Diane and me to our favorite drink - Cafe a l'orange. We will never forget the good times, the big heart and the big laugh of this endearing and entertaining man. Our deepest condolences to Marshall, Lois, Nancy and all Harry's family. To Harry's memory we raise a Cafe a l'orange! Sincerely, Jazzou and Diane
Tom Jazzou Jones
September 23, 2013
Besides being a wonderful bright character in the city, Harry helped me tremendously when I went into labor. I didn't want to go to the hospital so he sent over a midwife friend of his who helped me a whole lot...and then we had our dear friend Yasou Sasaki(who was also a very special person in Cincinnati) drop by and finish the delivery of Zarleen. Harry meant a lot in our lives!
Caryn Watts
September 23, 2013
There will never be another like Harry! We met several years ago when he helped me purchase and restore my Mills Double Violano Virtuoso, anyone who knew Harry surely saw him entertain with that masterpiece! I never met a man who knew so much and so many people and covered so much of this Earth in such a short time. Laying on his belly in the ceiling of the old Field Auditorium to secretly record Louis Armstrong and his Jazz All Stars about 1952? Making the 5 favorite bloopers on Johnny Carsons last night of television, not a small accomplishment when you consider the hundreds of thousands of acts over 30 years! Many Saturday and Sundays i would wile away the hours listening to his stories of Cincinnati vaudeville, the famous magicians he knew, the funny stories about dynamiters, counterfeiters, flim flam men, the time he started parking his sports car on the sidewalk downtown when the police were out on strike with the blue flu, I knew this day was coming he has been so sick but he was like a cat with nine lives, lesser men left years earlier but he was a fighter and hung on til he squeezed his life fully dry. Ill never forget the kindness he showed me from the first phone call to him, he treated me like he knew me my whole life. We enjoyed many cuban cigars and Kentucky bourbon and he was a "true connoissuer of feminine pulchritude" I loved the pllow on his couch - "if they do not smoke cigars in Heaven i shall not go!" What a sade sad day for us
Michael Plummer
September 23, 2013
rest in peace Harry... he was truely one of the most generous kind and compassinate neighbor I had...I will sure miss our talks, but I so appreciate all the laughs and kindess you showed to me and my daughter.you always made us feel welcome. I was blessed to have known you!!
jacki darwish
September 23, 2013
I am glad to have known Harry, enjoyed lunches and listening to some great stories he told....he lived life to the fullest I would say...You will be missed....
Lawrie Carr
September 23, 2013
Rest in Peace,Harry. You enriched my life in earlier years. Thank you. Kathryn W. Spragens
September 22, 2013
Like any man, Harry was "only a man". It's the "only" part that's hard to define. So I won't. I am proud to tell you all, that I knew the Gentleman, for #40 year's. Harry , I will miss you dearly.
Jim Henninger
September 22, 2013
I will always remember listening to Harry's fabulous stories and recollections of his most interesting life. He will be missed by all.
Marilyn Siebrasse
September 22, 2013
Harry was a great friend.

Tom Kimble
September 22, 2013
Marshall, Nancy, and Lois~~Heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beloved father and brother. Harry was an extraordinarily gifted man, a virtuoso of many talents. He surely will be missed by many, but the fond memories our friendship, spanning more than four decades, will endure forever...
Emanuel Breitburg
September 22, 2013
I enjoyed listening and learning from Harry - God Bless Him - God Bless Us All
Jim "Doc Jazz" Loeffler
September 22, 2013
I'll never forget all the great times we had together.God bless you.
Jim Traynor
September 22, 2013
His spirit burns bright!
Karen Kelly
September 21, 2013
Sending love and prayers to all who knew and loved Harry. Thank you, Marshall, for your devotion and caring always. Love, Mom (Karen)
September 21, 2013
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