William L. (Bill) Garts, 85, of Meadville passed away following a sudden illness Sunday, Sept. 1, 2013, at the Meadville Medical Center. He was born March 27, 1928, in Greenville.
While stationed in Germany during the Korean War, Bill was a corporal with the 4th Infantry. He was an excellent marksman. His first job was with the Erie Railroad, where he spent 21 years before buying The News Depot and later opening 4 Seasons Sporting Goods in Greenville. After retirement, Bill returned to the railroad, this time as an engineer on the train at Conneaut Lake Park.
Bill loved jazz and was the producer and host of a jazz and big band radio program called “Saturday Swing Session” on WQLN Radio in Erie for 27 years. He once donated a Scott Joplin music score to a local symphony. A long-time friend of the late Meadville resident Joe Boughton, president of Allegheny Jazz Society, Bill acted as his right-hand man and music manager both in Meadville and at the annual Jazz at Chautauqua.
He also liked to cook and write. He wrote jazz reviews for various publications, was an active blogger authoring “21 Years on the Erie Railroad” (erierailroad.blogspot.com) and “The Korean War in Germany” (koreanwaringermany.blogspot.com).
He is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Elizabeth (Lester) Garts; his brother, Donald (Jim) Garts and his wife, Elaine; his brother-in-law, Fred Lester (spouse of his late sister, Katherine); his nieces, Diana Bell and her husband, Richard, and Marla Siekkinen and her husband, Dave; his nephew, Fred (Bill) Lester; his daughter, Sue Zak; and his cat, Casey.
Calling hours will be Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Robert W. Waid Funeral Home Inc., 581 Chestnut St., Meadville.
The family suggests memorials be made to WQLN Public Radio, 8425 Peach St., Erie, Pa. 16509.
Memories and condolences may be shared at waidfuneralhome.net.