We are sad to report the loss of one of our music's finest exponents. Anthony P. "Tony" Lombardi died Feb. 2 at the Scottsdale area V.A, Hospital where he had been undergoing treatment for a month. On Feb. 9, over 100 of his friends joined the Lombardi family for a memorial jam session at the Scottsdale American Legion from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tony's last resting place will be at Arlington National Cemetery, an honor bestowed on him due to his status as a WWII POW. He was a POW for over a year after being shot down over Berlin as a Staff Sargeant Aerial Gunner with the 349th Bomber Squadron in May 1944.
Tony distinguished himself there among his buddies as an entertainer and was later awarded many military decorations. Following his military discharge, he moved to the Phoenix, Ariz., area where he continued his love for entertaining.
It was in this capacity that I first met Tony, who would drop in and join my band, usually singing his favorite "Just Friends" and occasionally playing guitar or banjo. During his last years, Tony was granted permanent disability status by the U.S. government. He spent summers in his RV at Oaksquanita, Calif., where he loved to cook for anyone and everyone, but his health declined further last summer, keeping him here in the Valley of the Sun.
Tony Lombardi was 86 when he died. He left his wife, Gloria, three children, four stepdaughters and many grandchildren and great grand children. His name and talents will be remembered here for an eternity.
On the last Sunday of the month, March 30, the Ragtyme-Jazztyme Society will present a Reunion Program featuring Cheryl Stephens, one of this area's finest vocalists. She will be joined by several of the musicians who performed with her in the Vintage Jazz Band during the years she led it. Also included in the program will be several of the Society's members who are ragtime pianists. This program will be held at Pilgrim Hall in the Church of the White Spire, 1407 N. 2nd St., Phoenix, Ariz., starting at 2 p.m.
We'll be back in the April edition of The Rag™, reporting on the formation of a new group, The Washboarditionist Society of Arizona. Till then, keep jazzin' and please send trad jazz and ragtime news to me at email@example.com