ForeverMissed
This memorial website was created in memory of Greg Garbarino. We will love him always. All three of his albums are on the site, with selections playing as background music. Find all of his music and a few videos in the Gallery section. Please add stories, tributes, photos, videos and recordings to be shared with friends and family.

You can view Greg’s Memorial Celebration (held on May 30 at the Whidbey Institute) in its entirety here: https://vimeo.com/561043216 Password: LittleWing

Lucinda has posted her letter to the community in the STORIES section. It was read by Marilyn Strong at Greg's Memorial Service. Lucinda has received many requests have a copy of it, so she posted it here along with a story.  
Posted by Rocky Cumbie on June 13, 2021
It has been along time old friend. I wondered where you moved onto. It has been a life time since we worked our way through eastern . Pushing each other to do the best we could. It was always good to tell each other to "pay attention to detail ". I have always felt we only have a few true friends in life and I feel lucky to have called you one. You were truly a gifted person. You will always be a part of my continuum. I remember we were working on the old Mercedes and then you showed me your new guitar. .....
Posted by Terri Fristad on June 2, 2021
For Greg’s Families by relation and of Heart.
Greg, the day you left us I’d been listening to your music. I needed something that would soothe me and center me as I was experiencing a challenge and needed to focus. I listened to Wings four times through. As I was wrapping up my day’s task, dancing across the room, I thought of how I had not seen you for quite a while. I decided I was going to try to reach you to let you know how much your music spoke to me. The next morning when I opened up my computer, I read you were gone. I’ve felt a heavy heart daily. Being able to come together as the South Whidbey community to honor your life has helped some. You are always here when song and dance make a presence. Never to be forgotten. 
Posted by Shirley Jantz on June 2, 2021
In music and memory, you are in our hearts and thoughts, Greg. Thank You for your gift of life, your compassionate soul; the Blessings you gave this world.  May you be in the Light of Peace, all your days. 

To family and relations of this gentle man.. he goes with you ever so graciously in the Spirit of Love.  Blessed Be to You, too...  Shirley
Posted by Jamie Whitaker on June 2, 2021
My condolences to the family. I only knew Greg through my job in public service but the impression he left on me was indelible.
He always showed respect and asked little but in a matter of minutes he expressed a witty and genial personality that was instantly likable. Whenever Greg came through the doors of the library he always acknowledged staff at the circulation desk with a smile. I’m so sorry for your loss.
Posted by JOHN PORTER on June 2, 2021
What a loss for our Whidbey community!  What a kind, artistic man. Certainly been a difficult year, particularly for those who are sensitive souls. Let's start today by reaching out to those who may feel isolated, just one more day could have made a difference.
Posted by Laurie Keith on June 1, 2021
I fell in love with Greg at an Open Mic at the Raven (now the Braeburn) 20+years ago.  Barbara Dunn had just played/sang an amazing powerful feminist tribute song. Way to go Barbara..wow!  Then,Greg was next. He got up and proceded to sing the most beautiful heart warming song inviting  the masculine and feminine to honor and respect each other and find the beauty in each other....something like that.  It was a Wow.   I went up to him afterwards to share how I was so struck by the beauty of the song and how amazing he had the perfect song at the perfect moment all ready to go. "Who wrote that song?" I asked.  HA! That was Greg's gift and genius. HE wrote it...at that moment...for that moment ...only.  No recorder . Only those there were gifted with that brilliant creative offering.  I would always bug him to record those spontaneous original compositions but he felt that took away from their power and the moment.  Those of you that were blessed to witness/receive one of these know how blessed we were....and are. I trust your blessing is continuing on in the hearts of so many. Thank you Greg....Still love ya!  
Posted by Dana Consuelo on May 31, 2021
Ahh,

my love,

when my time comes
    to step through
     death's door
 
meet me on the threshold
     and waltz me into heaven

and laugh again we will

laugh again
we will

knowing the dance never ends

the dance
never
ends
Posted by Dianna MacLeod on May 31, 2021
Many, many thanks to those who put together the tribute to Greg and who got this website up and running. You gave our community a chance to grieve, celebrate, and heal together. I'm touched that Greg's family was able to attend and to experience the great amount of love for him present here on Whidbey. If it offsets their shock and grief even a tiny bit, and if it is part of what they remember about Greg's place in the world, I'll be heartened. So, thanks to all who played a part in Greg's commemoration ceremony.
Posted by Bruce Perler on May 31, 2021
Bittersweet feeling for our brother Greg. Irene and I are with you all in spirit during this beautiful and sorrowful time.

Greg left so much love and gift with our community. The Goodenough's hold him dearly.

Posted by SIRI Bardarson on May 31, 2021
I will miss you. Thanks for making the cello sound great!
Posted by Dianna MacLeod on May 31, 2021
Greg Garbarino -- poet and jester, singer of song, teller of truth, servant of community, artist of honesty, troubadour of our deep and profound selves -- you always were and forever will be dearly beloved.
Posted by Laura Hudson on May 30, 2021
With Greg’s passing I have been reflecting on how lucky I feel to have grown up with people always playing music at our house. I loved when Greg would sing. I hope he knew how much I cherish those memories. Love you Greg, rest easy❤️
Posted by Karin Blaine on May 30, 2021
Rest in Peace, Greg. Thank you for your beautiful music. I will always remember you and your songs' beauty. Karin Blaine

"They are not long - the weeping and the laughter
The love, the desire, the hate.
I think they have no portion in us after we pass the gate.

They are not long the days of wine and roses.
Out of a misty dream our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream."

– Ernest Dowson, from "Vitae Summa Brevis" (1896).
Posted by Gülüm Hatun on May 30, 2021
Oh, My Beloved Friend,

Thank you for twenty blessed years of knowing you.

I will forever treasure the many times that you and I sang and played music together. You were my buddy of the spontaneous nature, co-creating out of thin air ... always something more beautiful than we could imagine.

Just wow. I will miss you and always think of you fondly.

Ya Salaam Ya Salaam Ya Salaam.........

Peace. Peace. Peace.




Posted by Jim Riley on May 30, 2021
Sing on forever bro in gentleness and sensitivity
Posted by Joe Arnold on May 30, 2021
What an amazing man. I've known him for 25 years. He was such a generous man. I played a song for my friend today.
Posted by Christine Daverio on May 30, 2021
Sadly, I will not have hope of seeing you again or hearing you sing, live in your beautifully bodied being. Your sound waves and memories will live on.
I remember the uplifted heart I felt when you joined in our gatherings. Its been decades now since I have lived on Whidbey--but seems like yesterday thinking of you and your wonderful loved ones on the island. Rest in deep peace and love.
Posted by BillDonna Humphreys on May 29, 2021

Greg Garbarino - In Remembrance

Gregory Garbarino, dear friend, musical colleague, and long-time member of our South Whidbey Island family, has departed this life on eagles’ wings, and wings of song.  Sadly, we can no longer lift a glass together to a wonderful musical or artistic success, or walk together through the beautiful Whidbey landscape.

Greg was such a part of the social, artistic, musical fabric of our lives.  He danced with us, sang with us, played instruments with us . . .  and he skillfully recorded our concerts, recitals, shows, and so many other special occasions. Always available to help in any way, from running errands, to moving household furniture, Greg had a big heart, a great sense of humor, and total dedication to excellence and detail.  

Our times together, in our home, on Ireland trips, in concerts at Langley UMC, Whidbey Institute, WICA . . . Greg’s amazing and beautiful “on the spot” song improvisations . . . such precious memories. Our hours spent together editing concert recordings and listening to Greg’s latest acquisition of sound equipment . . . searching for treasures at Good Cheer! 

And now we are left with only our own “memory recordings” of this remarkable man.  Precious remembrances that will not quickly fade, but will last as testimony to the beauty and strength that one person can bring into the world.  Dance, sing and play on, dear friend.  

Bill and Donna Humphreys
May 2021
Medanales, New Mexico

Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts,
Where no storm or night or pain can reach you .

Let us not look for you only in memory,
Where we would grow lonely without you.
You would want us to find you in presence,
Beside us when beauty brightens,
When kindnes glows
And music echos eternal tones.

Stanzas from “On the Death of the Beloved”
By John O’Donohue
Posted by Judyth Reichenberg on May 28, 2021
Dear Greg,
May your spirit soar into timelessness and infinite space. No limits, no chains, no bounds. May you close your eyes, release your body, and find the peace and rest that eluded you here. You are deeply loved and will be missed and remembered by so many in this precious community. 

Leave a Tribute

 
Recent Tributes
Posted by Rocky Cumbie on June 13, 2021
It has been along time old friend. I wondered where you moved onto. It has been a life time since we worked our way through eastern . Pushing each other to do the best we could. It was always good to tell each other to "pay attention to detail ". I have always felt we only have a few true friends in life and I feel lucky to have called you one. You were truly a gifted person. You will always be a part of my continuum. I remember we were working on the old Mercedes and then you showed me your new guitar. .....
Posted by Terri Fristad on June 2, 2021
For Greg’s Families by relation and of Heart.
Greg, the day you left us I’d been listening to your music. I needed something that would soothe me and center me as I was experiencing a challenge and needed to focus. I listened to Wings four times through. As I was wrapping up my day’s task, dancing across the room, I thought of how I had not seen you for quite a while. I decided I was going to try to reach you to let you know how much your music spoke to me. The next morning when I opened up my computer, I read you were gone. I’ve felt a heavy heart daily. Being able to come together as the South Whidbey community to honor your life has helped some. You are always here when song and dance make a presence. Never to be forgotten. 
Posted by Shirley Jantz on June 2, 2021
In music and memory, you are in our hearts and thoughts, Greg. Thank You for your gift of life, your compassionate soul; the Blessings you gave this world.  May you be in the Light of Peace, all your days. 

To family and relations of this gentle man.. he goes with you ever so graciously in the Spirit of Love.  Blessed Be to You, too...  Shirley
his Life

~ Gregory George Garbarino ~ June 26, 1956 – May 19, 2021

This obituary was lovingly written by Linda Morris.
Greg was born in Butte, Montana. While he was still young, the family moved to Spokane, Washington where Greg spent the remainder of his childhood. Greg was an energetic kid who excelled at athletics and competed in track, cross country, and wrestling. He also loved music and over the years taught himself to play the piano, guitar, and ukulele. Dancing was a favorite family pastime as his parents were accomplished ballroom dancers who enrolled all of the children in dance classes.
Greg graduated from North Central High School in Spokane and went on to earn a B.A. in Education with a major in Industrial Technology from Eastern Washington University. He did his student teaching in the Mead School District and worked as a substitute teacher at Mead Middle School and Mead High School. He attended the University of Oregon in Eugene working toward a graduate degree in Dance and Fine Arts, where he studied ballet and modern dance. Greg danced with a number of dance companies and also taught ballet and social dance. He especially loved finding a good social dancing partner.
In 1988 Greg moved to South Whidbey. Here he pursued his creative interests, especially singing and playing his guitar. He loved singing above all, feeling he could turn to a song in times of both joy and sorrow. He gave many concerts and participated in hundreds of musical events. Sometimes he sang “covers”, but often he performed extemporaneously, making up songs which perfectly fit the occasion or the person being celebrated. His sisters told stories of times when Greg would visit their classrooms while they were teaching, ask the children to write something about themselves, and then compose songs which included each child’s writing. The children were in awe.
Greg was the “go to guy” for sound systems. If you were performing or recording, Greg could help you. He worked with sound and recording for many years at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts as well as for other studios, venues, and groups. One of his favorites was the Open Circle Singers where he did the sound and sang in their concerts. 
Greg was a skilled carpenter, wood worker and furniture maker.
He was the kind of guy who could fix anything and often volunteered
to help others with this skill.
Greg was intense, idealistic, creative, passionate, feisty, loving, athletic, hard working, independent, and thrifty to a fault. He had a great sense of humor. Greg had a passion for personal growth and for delving into his emotional world. He belonged to two men’s groups which offerred him much support and solace. He was also a singer and facilitator for personal growth workshops and conferences. He was a beautiful presence in our lives.
Greg’s death has left a bigger hole in the South Whidbey Community than he could have ever imagined when he was alive. Greg spent so much of his life singing about love and connection, giving community service and help to his friends, and seeking relationships where he felt seen and held. Especially in recent years, his search for love, peace, and contentment seemed to elude him more and more. In the end, the pain won out and he took his life. His community is grieving the loss of one of their own, and the inevitable regrets that somehow we couldn’t keep him with us; that perhaps our loving of him fell short. The hope is that he is now surrounded by love and is finally at peace.
Greg’s parents Percy and Violet Garbarino predeceased him. He leaves behind his sister Dianna and husband David Harvey, sister Cheryl and husband David Wood, sister Linda and husband Doug Reed, and three nieces, Jennifer (James Walker), McKenna Reed, and Mary (Joe Berry) plus two nephews, Dylan Reed and Nathan Harvey. Greg is also survived by great-nieces Annabelle and Abigail Walker, Aushia Bemis, and Mali and Lamai Ray. Greg was a beloved uncle to Jen when she was a girl and her mother,
Dianna was a single mom. 
The family expresses their sincere gratitude to his community, friends, and his men’s groups as well as the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts, Healing Circles Langley,
and The Whidbey Institute.
Instead of flowers, the family requests donations be made to The Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (www.wicaonline.org), The Whidbey Institute (www.whidbeyinstitute.org) or Healing Circles Langley (www.healingcircleslangley.org).
An informal outdoor memorial gathering will be held Sunday, May 30th from 3-5 p.m. at the Whidbey Institute. Shuttles will be running from the lower parking lot beginning at 2:15, but folks are encouraged to walk in if they are able. Bring water, a portable lawn chair (if possible), and please wear a mask.
A later memorial service is planned in Butte, Montana this summer. 
 
Recent stories

Dance On, Dear Friend

Shared by Vicki Weaver on June 14, 2021
I read of Greg's final choreography yesterday in the Spokane Sunday paper.....I can't begin to describe my shock and sense of disbelief and loss; if you are reading this, I know you understand.
Greg and I met in college at Eastern Washington University.  We both were grads of Spokane high schools and my aunt had actually been his piano teacher.  Greg was a TA in a ballet class I took.  I was tiny - he thought I would make a great partner for lifts!  The first time we tried, I leapt, turned, kicked out - and got him right in the gems..... For the next class, he was armed with a garbage can lid that he held in front of "those parts". Such a trickster, such a joy, such wonderful memories.
We became great friends after that and I crushed big time; he was interested in friendship only, and I was absolutely grateful for his friendship.  I met another man and eventually married, and Greg and I stayed close friends.  When my marriage ended very badly three years later, he was there.  He took me dancing, took me for motorcycle rides, walked with me, talked with me. He was there whenever I needed him - he came in the middle of the night when I had a nightmare (after HE took me to see Poltergeist!) and my parakeet escaped on the same night.  He came when I called about a dead, bloated animal in my garden - that turned out to be a bleached and bloated huge zucchini from the last year's garden.  
I moved to Australia in 1988, and Greg took possession of my car and sold it for me.  He then moved to Whidbey Island.  On my first couple of visits home, I made the trip to see him in Langley.
But we lost touch, until I moved back to Spokane in 2011.  Over the last ten years, we had many wonderful catch up times, when he was in Spokane caring for his mom, and helping with her house.  Breakfasts out, long walks and talks. Singing together; harmonizing; Greg being picky - doing it over and over..... laughing, and sparring at times.
I have a voicemail from March 2020, just at the beginning of all of our lockdowns.  We then talked a few times in the next couple of months - I could hear his struggle with isolation; I could sense he was going through "something", and I regret that I didn't understand the depths of his anguish.  Maybe if I would have called him in the last few months....I guess I was struggling, too, but I should have known.  I just should have understood.
Ahhhhh, my buddy, my dancing partner, my duet partner, my clown and friend.  During all the early years when I loved you as more than a friend, and you didn't share that same kind of love, you NEVER were uncomfortable; you NEVER turned away.  How does the world dance without Greg?  How do we sing?
I guess we do it for you, my friend.  We continue, until we meet again. 
Always with love, I will think of you, cry for you, smile and laugh because of the memories you gave me.
Fly free, Little Wing. There is no gravity to confine you now..........

My Letter to the Community at Greg's Memorial Service

Shared by Lucinda Herring on June 9, 2021
Many people have asked me for the words that I wrote, and Marilyn Strong so beautifully read, at Greg's memorial service.  Since those words were not really a tribute to Greg, I have chosen to put them here. Yet they are not a story either. So I'll preface them with a little story first: 

Greg and I arrived on Whidbey Island the very same day in the summer of 1988.  We were both participants in a workshop at the Chinook Learning Center, led by Marilyn Strong, Jerry Wennstrom, and Fritz and Vivienne Hull.  (Jerry posted a photo of that workshop on this site.)  I was camping, and I slept outside in Sanctuary Meadow ( this was before there was a labyrinth there.)  Greg joined me in the meadow in his sleeping bag. That night I had a powerful dream.  I saw a pair of bare feet, winged like Mercury, beneath the hem of a white robe.  These feet led me through all the trails at Chinook to a beautiful forest doorway. The winged feet stepped through the doorway, and I heard the words, "Move here to the island."  I was going through a painful divorce, and was a single parent of Eliza, who was then only 3 years old. When I woke up the next morning I knew I would move to Whidbey, though I didn't know how.  I shared this dream and my knowing with Greg in the early morning light. I remember we walked down to the farmhouse together for breakfast, and Greg was with me when I told the group about my experience.  Everyone made a circle around me, and blessed my decision.  I didn't know at the time, but Greg was also considering moving to Whidbey.  After the workshop, we stayed in touch, and we supported each other to both move to the island that fall.  That was the beginning of our deep friendship of 33 years.  Greg was always there for me.  He was a true brother, and soul friend in my life.  I am so grateful for his love.   

For Greg and for Our Community
May 30, 2021  

Imagination, to me, is a living, powerful faculty that can help heal and transform even the hardest of experiences, as long as we are also willing to be present to what is.  I have been calling on my imaginative powers each day since I learned of Greg’s decision and death, and it has been so helpful, because I am far away and grieving Greg’s death alone, without my friends and community.

As you hear these words, know that I am imagining being there with you all, grieving and celebrating Greg together.  I imagine leaning into one another for steadiness and support, sharing, crying, laughing and singing, always singing our beloved Greg Home.

I imagine calling Greg on the phone instead of texting him when I did.  He tried to reach me the weekend before he took his life. I texted him: I’ll speak to you on Monday.  But I didn’t speak to him on Monday, and he probably died that night or early Tuesday morning.  This raw reality will haunt me the rest of my life.  So, for my own self-care, but also for Greg, I imagine now in my mind reaching him that day, what I would have told him - how much I love him; how grateful I am for our deep friendship of 33 years.  I tell him everyday now in my heart that I am working hard to understand and respect why he had to go. I honor the courage he had at the end. I bless his way. 

Greg asked me to care for him after death if he died first.  Yet his choice made all those plans impossible.  A community home vigil was something Greg wanted at one time, so I created it for him in my heart and imagination and I asked him to join me if he could from the other side, to help balance the experience of lying in a cold morgue up in Oak Harbor all alone. 

I want you all to know that  we created a wonderful vigil for Greg.  Washing and  anointing his wounded body with sacred oils; bringing him warmth and comfort, surrounding him with candlelight,  May blossoms,  and beautiful tapestries.  Dressing him in a fine linen shirt and expensive tailored pants from Good Cheer, because he was so proud he didn’t pay much for them!;  folding his arms gently over his tender and broken heart.   We ate abundant good food in his name, gluten free of course, and toasted him with fine wine.  We gathered around our Greg, and we never left him alone – we held him, we met him, and we sang and we sang him Home. 

A few days after Greg died, I dreamed of him, and I heard the words:  “Greg suffered from a lack and failure of imagination.”  In the end, he could not imagine any other recourse but death as a way out of his pain.  I sense that Greg needs imagination even more strongly now on the other side. That he needs us still. Not in the burdensome way that so many of us felt in the end, despairing of ever giving him enough to ease his pain.  But in more joyful, light-filled playful ways. Ways that come easy to us, and to him, and can bring some semblance of hope and resolution and peace to bless us all.  

There are already such beautiful imaginings emerging from the shared shock and grief of our community:  Greg as a ballet dancer again, clad in white, his heart on fire; Greg as a radiant sunbow/rainbow- over-lighting the places, the people, the Langley that he loved;  Greg cradled in the arms of Mother Mary; Greg as a potential source of great healing now, especially at Healing Circles, transforming his fierce and tragic deed there, and able to give and receive help and love, able to meet and be met,  in ways he always longed for in life, and never believed he could have. 

My prayer is that our shared imaginings can create a powerful living field of blessing and possibility for Greg now – a vast resource that he can draw upon in the days to come.

May death be tender with you, dear friend; may death dissolve and transform the obstacles that kept you bound.  May you know the wonder and spaciousness of your true nature.  May you receive and rest in how much you are loved and cherished, how much we are imagining - knowing - that you are whole again and free, that you have finally found your Self and found your Home.   

My love is with you always, dear Greg.
Journey well...
Lucinda

Loving Friend

Shared by Sheila Merritt on May 31, 2021
Four years ago my husband was hospitalized suddenly. It was an extremely difficult time. I needed help with my home (feed the cats) while I was with him in the hospital. I called Greg. When I came home two days later, the cats were fed and there was wood chopped and stacked by the door. He gave of himself when he could. I will never forget his kind, generous helping hand. 
     
There are so many other fond memories of Greg!  

      He gave Stephen and I private dance lessons. It was truly a remarkable experience how seamless he was able to teach us!  Plus, as a bonus, unexpectedly we received a couples therapy session with the dance moves. He was insightful, thought provoking, and very gifted. 
     Most of all, I loved how much he enjoyed when I cooked a gluten-free meal for him.

     Our hearts are mourning. May these memories be a blessing for a beautiful, kind, sensitive, loving friend.