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Birthday party celebrates Roddey's 80th, benefits River City Brass

| Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jim Roddey at his 80th birthday party with his wife Elin Roddey at the Fairmont on Saturday, January 25, 2013. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Director of River City Brass James Gourlay plays to the crowd during a performance at the 80th birthday party of Jim Roddey at the Fairmont on Saturday, January 25, 2013. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Dave Wohleber and Paul Furiga at the 80th birthday party of Jim Roddey at the Fairmont on Saturday, January 25, 2013. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Pam and Ken McCrory at the 80th birthday party of Jim Roddey at the Fairmont on Saturday, January 25, 2013. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Birthday cakes, party hats and kazoos adorn every dinner table at the 80th birthday party of Jim Roddey at the Fairmont on Saturday, January 25, 2013. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Jim Roddey blows out his birthday candles at his 80th birthday party benefiting River City Brass at the Fairmont on Saturday, January 25, 2013. Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review

Round party cakes with fluffy white icing sat as raised centerpieces amid sparkly party hats and kazoos.

Saturday's celebration at Fairmont Pittsburgh honored Jim Roddey's 80th birthday — and raised money for a local nonprofit.

Roddey, with wife Elin, and 200 friends and family members raised more than $60,000 for River City Brass, which performed for the black-tie guests, who were invited to participate throughout the evening.

Led by band director James Gourlay (with wife Lea Havas), the band played “Tequila” and “A Journey Through America.” More patriotic tunes included “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again.”

Roddey joined in, directing the “Halls of Montezuma” with his newly opened present — a baton. The song was fitting for Roddey; Allegheny County's first chief executive served as a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps.

The performance launched a standing ovation, as did that of Richard Manning, an Allegheny Sheriff's Office detective, who sang “God Bless the U.S.A.”

Wishing Roddey a happy birthday were the band's past chairman Dave Wohleber and current chairmanPaul Furiga. Revelers included Ken and Pam McCrory; Grant Oliphant; Trib Total Media's Rob Hammond with Christine;Wini Zepp; Matt and Julia Groll; Yale Gutnick and daughter Laura; Jay and Ranny Ferguson;Dr. Loren Roth and Dr. Ellen Roth.

“It's wonderful and amazing that so many people want to help an old man celebrate,” Roddey said. “River City is a great organization, and I thought the occasion of my birthday was a nice way to help them.”

— JoAnne Harrop

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