Thousands Mourn Renowned Leader in the Los Angeles Gay Community
Los Angeles's Gay Community is mourning the death of one of their most beloved members, Bob Tomasino, owner of the popular country western dance club, Oil Can Harry's, located in Studio City. The club is the oldest gay bar west of the Mississippi and has been in business continuously for 47 years. Mr. Tomasino has received awards and recognition for his generosity many times over the years.
An unprecedented number of local business leaders, family and members of the gay community in Los Angeles came together in a first ever virtual gathering for a reflection of Light on November 26th. This moment of meditation was lead by Rev. Les Demarco of North Hollywood Church of Religious Science, in the closing Benediction of their Wednesday evening service at 8PM.
Rev. Demarco described Bob's passing as being "A tremor in the Force", felt by many. He added, "It will be an honor to lead Wednesday night's virtual meditation for Bob."
In attendance was Bob's longtime Manager and friend, Tommy Young. Supporters and friends gathered at the church to share the moment with Tommy. The church is located at 6161 Whitsett Avenue in North Hollywood.
According to a friend, Nick Drance "Word of this 'virtual gathering' has rapidly spread to thousands of community members through social media and emails by local organizations to their patrons or club members. Characterizing Bob's greatest attribute as representing 'Light' is so universally recognized, it's surprising that so many literally describe him that way. This is what makes the sense of loss so devastating for the gay community and why the focus on the Wednesday night is on the beacon of Light that Bob is."
Perhaps the most telling statement came front Michael Lara, owner of the nearby "Bullet". "Words cannot express my sense of loss. I've lost a friend, a leader and a level of a man I try to be. We've replaced our website homepage with a tribute to Bob using those words on our Facebook page. Everyone, including the patrons of my establishment, view Bob much the same as I do. What he stands for means so much to so many."
"We've lost the physical presence of a dear, dear man. Our church has shown the love and respect we have for Bob many times, including presenting him with our highest level of recognition for outstanding community service, the 'Love and Justice Award'," according to Rev. Bob Goss, Pastor of the MCC Church in North Hollywood.
Alan Stroik, President of Avatar Club Los Angeles, a local community service organization, described his feelings this way. "A shining light has been extinguished on Earth, a new light now exists in the Heavens! We are blessed to have had the opportunity last month, to present him our Lifetime Achievement Award at our 30th Anniversary Dinner last month. Our club stands for Brotherhood and we feel fortunate to have been able to give our highest award that expresses this, to Bob while he was still with us."
A Celebration of Life for Bob Tomasino is planned for January 2014.