More than 550 friends, family and fans gathered Thursday afternoon at the Mansfield High School Gymnasium for an hour of messages, music and memories in honor of Gary Elmore.
Elmore, 56, a respected, influential and community-focused radio personality, passed away June 7. He also served for 10 years as the pastor of God’s House of Prayer in Fort Smith.
Daren Bobb, a television news anchor for KFSM 5, recalled events of the six years he and Elmore hosted a morning radio show on KWHN AM 1320. Elmore was employed by KWHN 1320 for more than 19 years, with more than 15 years of those as news director and host of Arklahoma AM.
“Hey Elmore, get in here. We’ve got about 30 seconds to get started,” Bobb said of what he said almost each morning of the show.
Bobb said Elmore would come in with his diet Mountain Dew and Pop Tarts and smoothly begin four-hours of radio. Bobb said Elmore was a “true professional” who treated “all guests with courtesy” and never said a bad thing about anybody.
Elmore first worked in radio at age 16, and would also learn to play drums in a southern gospel band — he played drums despite having a left arm paralyzed by polio. He also served many years as a paster, with his first sermon in a Lavaca church in 1971, and has last sermon May 16 at God’s House of Prayer in Fort Smith, according to Rev. Rodney Lane, who spoke at the Thursday afternoon funeral service.
Elmore’s son Scott said his father was an “amazing person” and a “walking miracle” who never let his medical ailments get in the way of doing things with his children.
Survivors include his wife, LaRhesa of the home; four sons, Clint Elmore and his wife, Crystal of Greenwood, Gary Scott Elmore of Ozark, Zachary R. Williams of Huntington and Mikey Rush of Huntington; three daughters, Annsley L. Williams of Van Buren, Heather Shelly of ft. Smith and Bethany Rush of Huntington; four brothers, Arlin Elmore of Dover, Jerry, Rickey and Larry Elmore, all of Huntington; three sisters, Glenda Freeman of Sugar Grove, Joyce Bratton of Huntington and Karen Hughes of Greenwood and five grandchildren.
The staff and owners of The City Wire are grateful and honored to have been included in Gary’s vast network of friends. We send our sincere condolences to his family, and hope that his generous, warm and loving spirit may continue through those he touched.