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Music 'was in soul' of decorated disc jockey

| Sunday, Aug. 7, 2016, 11:00 p.m.
Gary Paul Larkin, 69, formerly of Pittsburgh
Gary Paul Larkin, 69, formerly of Pittsburgh

Angela Gercak still can't fall asleep without listening to the radio.

Music always was playing in her house when she was a child. She remembers the sound of her father's voice as he signed off after his radio show.

“My father just loved music,” Gercak said. “That was in his soul. And it just came so very naturally to him.”

Gary P. Larkin, a longtime Pittsburgh disc jockey and entertainer, died Thursday, Aug. 4, 2016. He was 69.

Throughout his nearly 40-year career as a DJ, Mr. Larkin worked at local stations, including WNUF, WMBA, WARO, WZUM and WCCS. Billboard magazine named him Pittsburgh's No. 1 Disc Jockey of the Year three years in a row in the 1970s, his daughter said, and he has gold records from Columbia Records, Atlantic Records and RSO Records for helping them earn more than $1 million in record sales.

Mr. Larkin provided the music at countless special events and weddings, where he always framed the vinyl record of each couple's first dance song and presented it as a gift, his daughter said. He did shows at House of Wax and West View Danceland.

“When he was doing a venue, he wanted to get everybody up and dancing and enjoying themselves,” Gercak said. “He loved being able to make people smile.”

Mr. Larkin was born and raised in Troy Hill, the oldest of five siblings, his daughter said. He graduated from Perry High School before attending the Columbia School of Broadcasting.

Michael Larkin, his son, used to go to shows with his father and watch him perform and sign autographs for fans. He said his dad once was asked to DJ at Studio 54 in New York City, but passed on the opportunity to stay in Pittsburgh with his family.

“He really loved what he did,” Michael Larkin said. “He loved that he could get people out of their seats.”

Mr. Larkin is survived by his daughter, Angela, and son, Michael; stepsons Robert and Thomas Buzza; his previous wife, Cindy; and two grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his grandson, Stephen.

A memorial service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the D'Alessandro Funeral Home and Crematory in Lawrenceville. Friends will be received beginning at 1 p.m.

Elizabeth Behrman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-320-7886 or Lbehrman@tribweb.com.

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