Bob Lonsberry

Bob Lonsberry

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My name is Doug Ladd and I went to see my friend and partner Gary Smith today - maybe for the last time. I went to his home with my guitar in hand, after all, that’s the way we usually always met. I thought, why change things now, even though the circumstances are different now. As I drove over to Gary’s house there were so many things going through my mind as I drove. What do I say and what am I going to face when I see him in the condition that he is in.

When I arrived at the house I contemplated the situation that I was going into, I was met at the door by his wife Kathy, she has been the rock through this whole medical ordeal for that family. She said that Gary sleeps a lot now and that he was actually awake upon my arrival. He was in his bed and when I walked into his room he saw me and I could see that he had a subtle smile come over his face. Kathy said that he could understand what I was saying but could not verbally respond. Maybe a simple faint yes or faint no, was about all he had the ability to say.

After a brief time, Kathy had brought me up to date on all that had been going on with everything he had been going through, ultimately I found myself relaxed and realized that I was with my friend,  Gary.  Gary and I had been through so much together over the years, between working together before Doug and Gary and during all the Doug and Gary years. We spent countless hours together working, writing music, touring and in the studio recording music. As I stood by his bed side it all came flooding back to me – and it was all good. We were friends - reminiscing as best we could considering the circumstances and we were both smiling. The visit was rather short due to the situation and as I realized my time with my friend was just about up. It hit me hard that this was most likely the last time I would see my friend alive this side of glory.  Feeling overwhelmed with emotions I took my guitar out and played for him one last time as if we were playing together. I did some finger picking instrumentals for him as he always liked that in studio when we used to write and record. I played the popcorn song for him, as if Doug and Gary were together one last time and then I played our good bye song for him, for the last time.  We performed that song at the end of all of our live concerts and it appeared as the last song on all of our albums.  As I finished the goodbye song I could see that he was trying to smile. I held his hand briefly and told him that I loved him and that I was sorry that he had to face the circumstances that he found himself in. I thanked him for all the years of music together and for all the memories that I will cherish till the day that I Pass. Finally, I asked him to forgive me, in case there was anything that I ever did to need that forgiveness and I told him I would be praying for him. As I left his bedroom I kept up my brave face as I said my goodbyes to Gary and to his wife Kathy…… and then I wept on my way as I drove home.

 Both Gary and I have always been people of faith in Jesus and we first met in church years ago and played a lot of gospel music together.  When the end finally does come,  I will miss him as we all do when family and friends leave us. But I know someday there will be another reunion on the other side and I will anticipate that with a smile.


I sent this brief note to my friend Bob Lonsberry and told him that if he wished to read this on air it would be OK.

I did want to say on behalf of Gary during this extremely difficult time, thank you for all your prayers, cards and encouragement for Gary and Kathy and his family, I know that they greatly appreciate it!

  And also, THANK YOU TO ALL THE Doug & Gary FANS!! You will never fully understand how much you were appreciated and loved!  I know that Gary especially would have liked to say thank you personally, and that our years of performing together - even after Doug and Gary ended –  the fans through it all, meant so much to him.

Finally, To everyone listening today – Please take the opportunity to make as many good memories with your family and friends as you possibly can throughout your life. In the end, those memories will be the most cherished part of your life. Gary and I made countless memories together through it all and a lot of those memories involved many of you, gentle listeners, as Bob Lonsberry would say….

And to that I say Thank you all very much for everything!


one sad pirate

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