Bill Wasel and Gloria
A Eulogy by Llyn French
Our brother Bill Wasel left us yesterday evening. His son Doug is on his way down from Georgia. A memorial gathering is planned at the site where Bill loved to launch his kayak. I will send out details as they become available. Per his executrix, donations may be given to Friends of Florida Folk.
Bill's wife, Gloria, died 4.5 yrs. ago after a very nasty 2-yr. bout with oral cancer, in which they cut away half her lower jaw. When she was diagnosed, she & I both began begging Bill to quit smoking, but he wouldn't. He was diagnosed with the same thing last September. He couldn't eat or talk much because the tumor was locking up his jaw and he couldn't open his mouth except to get a cigarette in it.
Tom Reese died in Jan. '06 at age 89, and we had a memorial concert for him Sept. 30. That was Bill's last concert, in which he sang "Ain't Got No Home in This World Anymore." Bill is Number 22 of my friends and family who have died from tobacco-related causes --- cancer, strokes, heart attacks, emphysema. We are sick of burying our friends; but when we beg our loved ones to quit, they yell insults at us and accuse us of being mean, like Gloria and Bill did...and now they're both dead. Yes, we're hurting, and we're angry.
Memories of Bill and Gloria by Colleen Smith
I'm so sad to hear of Bill's passing. I know he was ill in September, but it's always a shock when it happens. I remember seeing Bill and Gloria play ages ago - they stood out in my memory almost as clearly as Cousin Thelma at the Fla. Folk Festival. It seemed every time I was at a folk music venue, there they were.
Much later, I was cast in the ballet Cinderella as the evil stepmother, while Gloria was one of the ugly stepsisters, and we had the best time. I have pics somewhere. It was good to see Bill again, even if it was for the last time. It is such a huge loss to the Beaux Artists and folk music communities. He will be missed.
1952 With the help of Bill Wasel, Tom cleaned out the parlor, changed the name to Beaux Arts Gallery and Coffeehouse, and invited the folk singers, songwriters, and poets, as well as artists of national renown, to perform on the weekends. Fred Neil, Vince Martin, Ramblin' Jack Elliot, and Wood Guthrie.
Bill spent many years as a duo act with wife Glorida. I taped an interview with him and as soon as I can, I will transcribe it. Hopefully we can get some muic links going soon also.