Gary Richrath
1949 - 2015
Remmert Funeral Home
521 East Washington Street
East Peoria, IL

EAST PEORIA - Gary Dean Richrath, 65, of California, formerly of East Peoria, passed away Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015.

He was born Oct. 18, 1949, in Peoria, Ill., to Curtis and Eunice Richrath.

His parents; his sister, Sheri; and brother, Dennis, preceded him in death.

Surviving are his beloved wife, Justine; children, Eric (Jen) Richrath, Bryan Richrath and Nicole Van Tine; his brother, Wade (Dawn) Richrath; nephews, Alex (Jenny) Richrath, Aron (Kira) LoCoco and Cody (Samantha Kent) Richrath; and niece, Holly (Terry) Tatum.

Gary was born to entertain, and his unique style made him a true one of a kind. He loved his fans like family . . . and his friends and family above all. His smile could light up a room, and it will stay with us always, to comfort us in his absence. His spirit lives on in the hearts of so many through his music.

The family will hold a private memorial service.

To honor Gary's memory, the family suggests memorial contributions to MusiCares, which provides a safety net of critical assistance for music people in times of need. Donations may be made through or by mail to MusiCares, attn: Annual Giving, 3030 Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90404.

Published by Peoria Journal Star from Sep. 20 to Sep. 21, 2015.
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Funeral services provided by:
Remmert Funeral Home
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838 Entries
Amanda J Johnson
November 8, 2021
I grew up with Gary Richrath since we were both very young. His sister, Sherri, what's a friend and we went to kindergarten together. I also knew Dennis hi, Wade an especially they're wonderful, beautiful mother Eunice. She really backed Gary in his career. Before the garage bands, we played world war II around the neighborhood. Life was so good back then. All of us had this huge neighborhood where everybody knew everybody else. When the garage band started, that was what we did all the time. Gary taught me how to play the guitar. Some neighbors complained when the band went "electric" but my wonderful dad would yell out over the ravine that's separated our homes, "come on Gary. I can't hear you!" I went to U of I in 1970 and it was a joyful continuation I'm watching REO continue in greatness. I miss Gary so much. Knowing him my whole life. Thank you for making a commemoration of a real star musician. Connie Pilon ( Streeper )
Connie Streeper Pilon
November 7, 2021
October 16, 2021
From a very young age I knew he was special...the sounds that only he could make....incredible!! You are a hottie! Keep rockin wherever you are and keep smilin down on us while we listen to your playing.....I play Turkey Trot every Thanksgiving.....miss and love you lots
Lisa Christensen
September 20, 2021
I am very very sorry for your family's loss. Even at a very young age I knew he was an amazing guitar player....he made sounds noone can do or duplicate....I really loved listening to him play.....and of course as a young girl I thought he was a hottie.....his photos on my walls ....keep on rockin up there....that's when your happiest
Lisa Christensen
September 14, 2021
Gary was the best of the best! He put his heart and soul in his music and guitar playing, I have seen none better, rock on in Paradise Gary! You are so loved and missed, never forgotten!
Debra Pope
September 14, 2021
This man really knew how to make that LesPaul tell you a story! God bless him and his family!
John E Rox
September 12, 2021
Since 1980 when I first heard REO´s High Infidelity I realized in a heartbeat that although there are many guitarists out there, none compared to Gary. He had it all and it came through in his playing. Also a gifted songwriter with a great voice and a larger-than-life stage presence and smile. But mostly what I´ll remember about Gary was his ability to capture the heart and soul of what music really is and be that guy that so many aspire to be. I´ll never forget him or the music that also greatly changed my life, starting in high school that continues to deliver that magic even today. Gary got his wings but he already had them and now play on brother in the house of The Lord. Psalms 100:1-100:5
Tina K.
August 16, 2021
I saw you in `71. I had no idea who you or your band were. You made quite an impression, as here it is 50 yrs later and nearly 6 years after your passing and I still think about that concert from time to time. I have yet to discover anyone who makes it look as easy and fun as you did. You were an awesome musician and the best damned guitar player I ever saw. You, sir, are missed.
Eddie Martin
August 8, 2021
Saw reo in pgh pa back in early 80s . We were on floor of civic arena like 10 rows back. Awesome show. RIP Gary.
July 5, 2021
Words can't describe the hole and pain in my heart and soul knowing that you are gone. Thank you Gary for the blessing of having you on this Earth for the time that we did! You're talent, your artistry and your looks will keep you in the heart and minds of millions for decades to come. You are and always will be the blood and soul of REO, they aren't even close to being the band they were with you and your guitar! Rest in Paradise sweet man, hoping to meet you when I get there!
Debra Pope
June 12, 2021
I truly LOVED his guitar playing, and the band REO Speedwagon
Debbie Hunt
May 7, 2021
REO was my first concert in the 7th grade. Gary was my idol. I had “I love Gary”stickers all over my bedroom walls and my trapper keeper lol. He was and still is a guitar legend.
Kyong Gallagher
March 18, 2021
REO was my first concert in the 7th grade. Gary was my idol. I had “I love Gary”stickers all over my bedroom walls and my trapper keeper lol. He was and still is a guitar legend.
Kyong Gallagher
March 18, 2021
I was just watching some old videos on YouTube. I was in high school in central Illinois in the mid-80's and Gary was everything to me. He was the living embodiment of cool. Everything that he did, every way that he moved on stage...he was always the best, always the coolest. Off the stage perhaps the greatest songwriter of a decade. A decade of rock and roll. Thanks Gary, for all of those great years and even always be there on my playlist.
Gregory G Grunloh
December 5, 2020
Thank you Gary for your energetic driving in your Guitar playing and precision without any pedals o tricks
Just your fingers and souls LEGEND ❤
Anders Golgeson
November 21, 2020
October 29, 2020
I can’t believe it’s been 5 years since his passing. I was in middle school when you get what you play for came out. I of course was in love with Gary. Had the biggest crush on him. I always noticed his one and only style of how he he’d play from the heart and I think his talent Made Reo who they were. He was one of the all time best guitarist ever. Rip Gary and prayers for your loss to your family. Someday I’d like to travel and get a pic on that bench they made in memoriam to you in Peoria. I think that’s where. Prayers to you family and friends of the Great Gary Richrath
Lisa C
October 4, 2020
He was the HEART of REO!
October 3, 2020
REO was my 2nd concert ever & I just fell in love with Gary! his stage presence & guitar playing was amazing. not to mention he was very easy on the eyes, he has owned a piece of my heart ever since!! I Love You Gary, keep rockin in heaven with all the Greats that went before you, RIP Sweet Gary,
Angela Jones
September 14, 2020
I will nevwr forget your incredible performance at the 1978 World Music Festival. You always inspure me to this day brother. Rest in peace.
Brian Christopher
September 5, 2020
Gary's music never fails to bring a smile to my face. He will forever have a piece of my heart. "Gary thank you for so many wonderful memories".
Sandra Sylvis
August 18, 2020
You will be Forever in my ,You will be my favorite guitar hero always,.....if only I could of met you.....
Karen DeLegge
August 13, 2020
I saw R.E.O. about eight times at the Indianapolis Convention Center. They were like our house band. I loved every show. I went to Ball State at that time and let me tell you, Gary was a guitar God to everyone I knew. RIP, Gary the Great.
Jim Ellis
August 7, 2020
I saw R.E.O. about eight times at the Indianapolis Convention Center. They were like our house band. I loved every show. I went to Ball State at that time and let me tell you, Gary was a guitar God to every knew. RIP, Gary the Great.
Jim Ellis
August 7, 2020
carol d
August 5, 2020
regina McDaniel
May 12, 2020
regina McDaniel
May 12, 2020
I grew up listening to Gary. Loved REO. Gary was the greatest guitar player ever. Loved him. So sorry and sad to hear of his passing. Will always miss him.
Carl Schermerhorn
May 1, 2020
You are missed and loved as much as the day you passed through Heaven's gates. Thank you for the legacy you left us! <3 Marie
Marie Gortney
April 16, 2020
Watching Gary doing a guitar solo right now on YouTube. You Get What You Play For is my all-time favorite album. If there's a rock-n-roll heaven, you know they got a hell of a band.
Lori Turner
March 6, 2020
Still missing you!
Joe Lascon
February 9, 2020
One of the greatest guitarists ever! Rock on Gary, you are missed!
D. Bailey
November 25, 2019
Ray Alfano
November 20, 2019
Gary was not only a great guitarist but he had a great stage presense God Bless You and keep you for eternity Jim Moses Fla
Jim Moses
October 19, 2019
MY HEART HAS BEEN CRUSHED I Skipped school to get tickets because of GARY RICHRATH. Over night campouts at The CHECKERDOME,St. Louis. Skipped school the day after an REO concert.
So many times Lost count.
Lori McFarland
September 24, 2019
Hope you knew how much you were loved and appreciated while here on earth... Gary's clean guitar shreds were amazing! We will NEVER grow tired of "Roll With The Changes"! Thanks for the great music Gary!
Dominic Vara
September 19, 2019
Keeping your memory alive, sweet man. Love you always - Susanna
September 14, 2019
Keeping your memory alive, sweet man. Love you always - Susanna
September 14, 2019
Year four Gary, still remembering you. Today Mahoney joins you... on the same day you left us. God Bless you both forever. Love and miss you.
Maureen Dauphinee
September 13, 2019

Rest in peace my friend. Wish I could tell you how much you mean to me, your music, your guitar work, your energetic stage presence.
Dawn Clark
August 26, 2019
Very influential musician still greatly missed
Bubby Notte
July 27, 2019
Loved every note you played, jammed many of night to that screaming guitar. I love what Kevin Cronin said about you " I got to watch the Gary Richrath show every night". He was a lucky guy to have known you.

My deepest condolences to the family.
Mahlon Eblen
July 20, 2019
Your guitar will never know how much enjoyment your abilities have given to me. Gary, he plays the guitar, myself I sing you see...
Brad Frederick
June 28, 2019
Some of the best memories of my life are associated with your music. You were and always will be my guitar hero. Even though I was never fortunate enough to meet you, I was out in the crowd almost ever time you played in Charlotte, NC. I even saw you play in California one time! Thank you for the wonderful songs you gave us and your memory will always live on. You were a beautiful man with a smile that lit up a room. To your family I am so sorry for the loss of such an amazing man. Thank you for sharing Gary with the rest of us! I will always love you and the memories you gave me. Rest in Peace Gary.
Debbie Lambert
June 23, 2019
Rest in peace troubadour. You rocked millions and you are missed.
Craig Andersen
June 11, 2019
Love your music! Still can't believe your gone!
Dorinda Bailey
June 10, 2019
Gary, you are missed! May you rock n roll forever!!!
D Bailey
June 10, 2019
Loved you and your music
Sharon Warden
June 8, 2019
Thank you so much for playing lead on the soundtrack of my life. Think of you often. Still got your REO poster on my bedroom wall. Your talent and lyric style have and continue to. Many blessings to your family left behind. You rock!
Sallie Meine
June 2, 2019
just unbelievable musician.
doug williams
May 31, 2019
Sweet Gary - miss you more all the time. Love you so very much, and always will. Susanna xoxo
May 20, 2019
Gary, you were an inspiration to many fledgling guitarists. Your phrasing and expressiveness on that Les Paul were totally unique. I loved the 'Nine Lives' album-wore the grooves out on that LP. REO without you were not the same band. Peace, musical brother.
Mark Bailey
May 19, 2019
Gary, Your guitar solos are legendary! Your sweet smile made me smile. Your music lives on forever! Thank you!
Katie Peacock
Katie Peacock
May 19, 2019
Your music still moves me.
Brian Young
May 18, 2019
LOVE YOU FOREVER GARY!! You will always be in my heart for being such a phenomenal musician and humble human being. See ya on the other side...
Paul Wightman
May 13, 2019
The most underrated guitarist in the world. His playing reached inside you and touched your soul. No one could make a guitar come alive as Gary did. It was obvious that he always enjoyed what he was doing. Eventually, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame will recognize what he and REO accomplished and Gary will get his due reward.
Quentin Laymon
May 12, 2019

I know it has been a few years now man! Sad to hear of your passing. REO would never have gotten where they did without you. Such a great guitarist and stage performer. I love your music today as much as I ever did. So many great memories. So many fantastic guitar licks. "Golden Country" rock song ever!! I can play it over and over and never tire of it. Trying to learn it on my guitar. Keepin' it real.
God rest your soul.
Peter Manes
May 10, 2019
GREAT guitarist/songwriter
steven allen
April 18, 2019
Gary I have thought of you often over the years and was saddened to hear of your passing. I will always treasure your music. You were one of a kind. Thank you for the memories. You truly were a blessing. RIP ~ my condolences to your family
Cherie Huddlestun
April 13, 2019
Gary I have thought of you often over the years and was saddened to hear of your passing. I will always treasure your music. You were one of a kind. Thank you for the memories. You truly were a blessing. RIP ~ my condolences to your family
Cherie Huddlestun
April 13, 2019
Gary - you were one of my early favorite musicians. Loved your guitar magic. I put you up there as one of my favorites with Morrison, Chris Cornell, Cobain, Jerry Cantrell and George Harrison. Thanks for making my childhood a little more enjoyable. Your music meant a lot.
Dan Dubin
April 10, 2019
I'm so sad to hear of your passing even though I know it was awhile ago now.
I believe in my heart that without you Reo would not be where they are today. You were not only a great guitarist , but an awesome song writer as well.
Now only God gets to hear your great guitar riffs. I miss you so much.
April 8, 2019
I know it's been a while since you past and. I did not know or hear that you passed...busy life we get wrapped up in and forget about everything else...sad...RIP. Mr Richrath.
Richard terry
March 15, 2019
Thanks for for being such a wonderful musician. I have enjoyed your music and your guitar showmanship for decades. It's just as enjoyable today as it was when I was in high school so many years ago. So many great memories are attached to your music.
Kevin Allred
February 20, 2019
Miss your music. Grew up about an hour away from where the band started and got to see the band several times. In fact, I'm watching a 2010 performance on tv as I type this. Rip brother.
Randall Manar
February 11, 2019
I grew up on Gary and REO. Last month I got a turntable up and running. The first record I dug out and played was REO's "A Decade of Rock and Roll". I put on Roll With the Changes, maybe my all time favorite rock song. Played it for my 14-year old son. He wanted to hear it again. Thanks Gary. Sorry that we are now deprived of one of the greatest guitarists of all time.
Christopher Hall
February 6, 2019
Sorry this is late but Thank you so much for giving us one of the biggest parts of yourself - which was your presence in history as one of the greatest guitar players ever to grace a stage. I will always keep you with me by listening to your music. You are missed and the world lessened musically the day you left. RIP, Gary❤
Laura Miller
January 14, 2019
Thanks for the music Gary! God Bless!!
Lawrence Alicz
January 8, 2019
Gary was a huge influence on my guitar playing, back in the early 80s I saw REO Speedwagon in Boulder Colorado, Gary had just gotten done with a really awesome lead and looked out in the crowd right at me and put his hand up like well? I put my fist up and said hell yes! He smiled and went back to playing the tune.. it was very cool and something I never forgot.. rest in peace Gary..
Jerry Topel
December 20, 2018
I started playing guitar when I was 15 and Gary was my biggest influence.I went to the Army in '79 and anytime I jammed with some of my buddies they would noticed things I would do that they never seen anybody else do and when they would ask about it I'd always say,, 'That's how Gary Ritchrath played.' A lot of these guys were from the coast and back then, REO wasn't well known outside the Mid-west. I always told them that Gary was my one and only Guitar hero! He was then and he still is now! I always played Les Pauls because that's what Gary played. So Gary! Thank you so much for being the influence you was. I may not of ever started playing if it wasn't for you. God bless you and your family. ROCK ON!!!
Freck (nickname) Wilkinson
November 28, 2018
I became an REO fan back in 1975. Like you, I taught myself how to play guitar, but following along on your albums. I love 9 Lives, and wore that album out after school. When you came to DC on concert, I loved how you and Kevin played off each other, Kevin always telling stories, and you "talking back" on your guitar. Years later, I took my new wife to see you at the Meri Weather Post pavillion. You weren't there. The magic was gone. I was so let down. And now, you're gone. You are missed. We will always have video's and our dusty albums to remember you by. Thanks for all the years of entertainment, your solid playing, and on stage greatness. Your loyal disciple, Peter Cermak
Peter Cermak
November 23, 2018
Charlotte Joan Moore
November 16, 2018
Gary, you are missed so very much. My dear friend Michele first saw REO play at her high school in Nebraska back in the early 1970's. My sister Michelle and I first saw you play at the Coliseum in Arizona and later, at the Arizona State Fair. Funny story, too. Because at the state fair, we were both wearing tie-dye t-shirts and I was standing on a chair, craning my neck up high to see everything. Up walks this man in a suit, about 100 feet from the stage and asked me, "Would you like to come sit in the front row?" I asked, "Can my sister come with me?" He said, "Of course. Follow me." Not only did he take us up front, he took us to 2 chairs on stage and with stars in our eyes, we felt like the band played to us all night. We went to see REO several times, but that is the show that holds the dearest memory for us. We think about you and your guitar playing all the time, feeling your sound gave the band its true trademark. Until we meet, rest in peace and God bless. XOXOX
November 1, 2018
Sorry to just now find out you passed away. Was wondering why I haven't heard from you. Keep rocking wherever you are. Love ya!!!
Dennis Gadbaw
October 31, 2018
This can never be said enough, you were the most underrated guitarist ever. No one plays like you did and never will. After you left REO so did I. Without you they just sounded flat, you were and are REO Speedwagon.
I had the awesome privilege to see you a few times. R.I.P.
Clarence Gordon
October 29, 2018
Gary, You were the number one guitarist on my top 100 list. You ARE the reason I listen to REO Speedwagon songs and I love the solo lp you released. To you, One of the best guitar slingers in the world, Thank you so much and Rest In Peace Mr. Richrath !
Jeffrey Witek
October 6, 2018
Gone but never forgotten, class will always shine through and Gary had tons of that, from a long term British speed wagon and Richrath fan, god bless.
September 21, 2018
Paul White
September 21, 2018
Thinking of you, Gary on this day. Saw you perform and you were so electric and also seemed like you enjoyed entertaining. i loved seeing you smile that golden smile of yours. Rest in peace now and i'll keep listening to turkey trot and rock out with you.
Christine Christensen
September 13, 2018
Gary you have been my guitar hero since I was 10 years old and my father played hi infidelity non stop. Oh how you've touched our lives - you will stay in our hearts forever.
Kelly Hart
August 21, 2018
Thank you for many great years of music with REO and the solo act you were my inspiration to play guitar with your unique style Rest in Peace though you are gone you will not ever be forgoton
Chris L
August 4, 2018
I just watched an REO Speedwagon concert on Youtube after catching up on my own Youtube channel and found this guest book when I Googled your name. Hearing REO since you've been gone just isn't the same. All the times I saw the band live was like a dream come true to me but the desire to see them then was much greater than now. I still try to play Richrath licks and riffs every time I pick up a guitar. I used to sit for hours upon hours trying to learn your style as I'm sure many others have as well. You've touched more hearts than you know with your guitar alone Gary and I know I speak for many when I say thank you for all the years of wonderful music! All the very best to you and your family. RIP God bless...
Randy Schartiger
July 14, 2018
R I P Gary. Your are and always will be my favorite guitarist! Love you forever.
Sandra Sylvis
July 12, 2018
It's difficult to believe it's been almost 3 years...

Gary made those of us from Central Illinois so very proud...
And every time I hear REO on the radio still to this day -- I still
hear Gary and his guitar and I smile...

Being born and raised in Peoria IL from 1978 until 2009-- Gary's music ended up in my DNA.
It helped shape me and define who I am...

Thanks for making us proud Gary....
Thanks for the music which has endured the test of time
And thank you for being an inspiration for so many...

You are not forgotten.

Linda Wilson
July 10, 2018
Gary our beloved rock n roll bro, we gonna miss you and the awesome jams, strumming and heavy guitar playing!!!! May u RIP bro!!! U will always b remembered!!!
Dee Delgado
June 14, 2018
We all miss you Gary, Your the best . Best there is, the best there was,best there ever will be. Jon from Syracuse NY
Jon Bongo
June 7, 2018
Soooo - I attended an REO show on Tuesday, and I wore my 'There Will Never Be Another Gary Richrath' t-shirt. I got a couple comments on it, but my heart was so hurt because REO is just not REO without you! Though they played your songs - it just wasn't the same. I miss you so much, and I'm so grateful for the times I got to watch you work your magic on that Les Paul. I am grateful still for the music legacy you left us, and I'm waiting patiently til the day I can truly visit with you in Heaven! Play on for Jesus, Gary! See you there! <3
Marie Gortney
April 16, 2018
You will be missed you were so talented and so hot!!!!now your playing for the Lord
April 12, 2018
The fire will always be kept burning
Louise Bare
April 10, 2018
You came to my mind a few minutes ago, and I smiled. From that 12 year old girl who swooned over her Hi Infidelity LP photo of you, who fought with my then best friend Jeanene over which of us loved you most, to the almost 50 year old woman I am now, I have appreciated your heartfelt songs, incredible guitar-playing talent, and am grateful that God created you, and loaned you to this earth, if only, for what seemed like a short time. Your memory will live on, with those of us whose hearts you touched ❤
Louise Bare
April 10, 2018
You have no idea just how much you are missed Gary. Your music truly touched my soul in such a profound way. While I hate that you left us far to soon, it comforts me so knowing you are just a whisper away. I smile thinking that you are leading the biggest show yet, worshiping your heavenly Father. With that sweet friend, your legacy here on this earth remains and you forever more belong to the ages. Meet me at that gate with arms open wide, a smile on your face and a sparkle in your eye. Please know how much you truly ARE loved! xoxo
Cindy Bradam
March 12, 2018
Belated condolence, began listing to you play with REO back in mid 1975, you will always be missed as one of the greatest. Wonderful guitar work, may you rest in peace. Mike Sanders, Rome Ga.
February 19, 2018 were the best of the best! Your concerts were the greatest.....thank you for the many years of fantastic music. Peace and love.....
Carol Gerard
February 6, 2018
Gary, you will be missed.
John Carl Jordan
February 6, 2018
I was in high school and listened and loved reo speedwagon and for some reason last few years if i am by myself and want to listen to a song and a band that has meaning i listen to reo. My heart goes out to Gary and his family.
Angie R
January 22, 2018
R.I.P. Your songwriting and guitar work will always be appreciated. Thanks!
Dave Goebel
November 27, 2017
I didn't know that one of my favorite band members(REO speed wagon) ad passed away!! I always thought he was the best!he had the sweetest... Cutest smile! I am so grateful for the music that he gave us al!! I hope his loving family know that somebody out there is remembering him tonight!! I was searching for a concert date..and wanted to see him with the band! My heart goes out to the family!!you truly had a special man in your lives!!!wish I could have met the great musician!!
Victoria Stone
November 26, 2017
Gary is one of the coolest guitar players ever with my favorite band (teen years) "REO Speedwagon". Since we're all to live forever, ending at 30 years old. I am looking forward in seeing Gary Richrath in person, better than ever, ROCKING & ROLLING all over!!! -GOD-
Stephen Hazel
November 11, 2017
You blew me away with your guitar leads. They were so high like a soaring roar up the fretboard. You were one of the best. RIP!
Wayne Keller
October 19, 2017
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