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Tomio Miyagishima Garray

August 24, 1939 ~ June 27, 2020 (age 80)

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Tomio Garray, 80, who passed away on April 28, 2020, was a member of the Garray and Tomio Show, a Lancaster based professional touring act, designed for the family but with all the trimmings of a Las Vegas production.  Together with partner, the late Bob Gorrecht, he performed their world class novelty ventriloquism act from Los Angeles to Washington DC to the United Kingdom where they appeared on the BBC’s Paul Daniels variety show.  Of particular note was his performances at the Annual White House Easter Egg Roll.  This followed an invitation by President George Bush to entertain at the 1989 American Bicentennial Presidential Inauguration Program, “George To George.”  Other play dates included state fairs, convention centers, club engagements and encore performances to audiences at the famed Cabaret Nightclub Theater at the Host Farm, Lancaster.


Among numerous other characters, their main act featured 4 seven foot tall ventriloquist figures which were design and performed by the team.  They began collaborating when they first met at the Los Angeles Arts Center where Tomio was a student.  In time, Garray adopted the Seattle-born Japanese American.  In addition to creating all of the puppets and costumes for the act, Tomio was also an accomplished acrobat and dancer.


In additional to touring, together with Garray, Tomio co-managed the Cooke and Rose Theatrical Agency here in Lancaster and starred in the WGAL TV children’s show, “The Incredible Doctor Dudd,” which aired weekly.  They also produced a traveling show for the family, “Cowboy Pickle and the Rinky Dinks,” which tapped into the talents of several performers including the singing trio, “The Joyful Sounds.”


Since his father’s passing, Tomio offered his artistic talents to the Giant Food Stores from 2010 to 2019.  He added glamour and class to the department and will long be remembered for the elegant flower arrangements he produced for weddings.  Such creative, one-of-a-kind floral designs, together with his charisma, earned him Employee of the Year in 2016 and, again, in 2017.  Close friend and co-worker, Cecelia DiMichele said of him, “He had a kind heart and a bright smile.  I am a better person for knowing him.”


He is survived by two sisters, Karol Macdonald and Jane Saito, the last of 13 siblings.  A celebration of Life Service will be held at a later date.  In Lieu of flowers, please leave remembrances by visiting the Columbia Funeral Home website: www.ColumbiaFuneralHome.com





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