RICHARD EARL OAKLEY, 82, passed away on July 11, 2011 after a short illness. He was known as “The Senile Sorcerer” and his last business card stated “I Only Cheat a Little”. Richard was born November 1, 1928 in Memphis, TN and attended local Catholic schools. Richard was a self-taught musician who could not read music but could play most anything on the piano or organ after “listening’ a few times. He played his Hammond organ at local night spots from the Thunderbird Lounge, to Holiday Inns, to Shakey’s Pizza Parlor. For several years after the Malco Theater became “The Orpheum ”, he played the Orpheum’s pipe organ weekly before the Summer Film Series. Richard was interested in Magic since boyhood and has personally sparked the ‘magic bug’ in thousands of young and not-so young magicians. Early in his career he was an accomplished ventriloquist, whose favorite ventriloquist was ‘Rudy”. He traveled with the Royal American Shows carnival as a magician, performing at state fairs across the country. He worked at ‘The Fun Shop’, a local magic stop at locations downtown and after the move to Poplar Plaza and even at its present location on Highland near the University of Memphis. He was also the resident magician at ‘Trick or Treat’ on Perkins for several years. He leaves several cousins, Pat Michell, Nathan McGee, Leah Pleasants and Annette Buffalo of Memphis as well as Catherine Skinner of Oakland, TN as well as a host of friends. Family Funeral Care 901-761-8000 www.familyfuneralmemphis.com
Published by The Commercial Appeal on Jul. 13, 2011.