Gary W Grape, 76, passed away peacefully in his home, Dec. 9, 2023, surrounded by his loved ones.
A native Tacoman, Gary was born April 30, 1947 and graduated in 1965 from Stadium High School. After years of public service, Gary retired as Road Maintenance Supervisor from Pierce County Public Works in 2000.
Following his retirement he served as Entertainment Director and Events Director of the Tacoma Events Commission. With his vast knowledge of event management he contributed to the production and the success of Tall Ships Tacoma 2005, the 4th of July Tacoma Freedom Fair and Air Show, Gig Harbor Wings and Wheels, Gray Sky Blues Music Festival and the Orting Pumpkin Festival. As president, counsel and advisor of the South Sound Blues Association, Gary is known throughout the area as “the musician’s friend.”
With a passion for music, Gary began taking accordion lessons as a young child and continued throughout his life to play accordion, piano and bass. After retirement, he formed his own band, “Majic Avenue,” and managed his wife’s band, “Maia Santell and House Blend.”
Gary was a collector. His home is adorned with Elvis Presley memorabilia and vintage accordions, and his garage proudly holds a 1951 Buick. Though he held many titles in his life, from manager to producer to musician, his favorite role was being a father. He loved nothing more than spending time with his family, and he boasted proudly of his offspring. He was always there for his kids, grandkids and great grandkids, whether he was cheering them on at sports events, attending performances, or celebrating their birthdays.
We will miss his “half full cup” optimism, his wisdom, his tenacity and his amazing, loving spirit!
Gary is survived by his wife, Maia Santell, his sons and daughters, Frank Grape, Jodi Bigler, Mandie McAfee, Travis Grape and Jamie Grape, twelve grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Private services will be held. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Tacoma Humane Society, an organization Gary felt strongly about.