My Favorite Memory of City Commissioner Larry Maglinger- Owensboro’s Beloved Rod Stewart Tribute Artist
Owensboro, Kentucky lost a local legend this week. Owensboro City Commissioner Larry Maglinger passed away at 73. I have known Larry for years and spent time with him at endless charitable events around our community. The photo above represents just one of those. He was a staple at fundraising events for nonprofits like Girls Inc., Hospice of Western Kentucky, CASA and more.
In fact, I distinctly remember Larry headlining a CASA event at the Owensboro Convention Center a few years ago. The agency threw a big "Rock the House" party and Larry rolled out on that stage with his legendary Rod Stewart tribute act.
If you're from this area and didn't know Larry as an Owensboro City Commissioner, chances are you experienced him as Owensboro's Rod Stewart. He had the pop/rock star down and could plow through Rod's songbook like a boss. He looked like him. Sounded like him. He moved like him and made you forget he actually wasn't Rod. That's how good Larry was in concert.
As you can imagine, tributes have flooded social media in the last couple of days. The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce shared this lovely tribute.
My friend Jeff Hocker shared some incredibly kind words too. In fact, he summed up Larry perfectly.
So sorry to hear of Larry's passing! What a nice man he was! Always friendly and had a welcoming smile to all he met. RIP Larry may you rest in peace!
I was fortunate to spend time with Larry in variety of settings over the last 15 to 20 years or so. But my absolute favorite memory of him dates back to well before he was elected to local office here in Owensboro. It dates back to Goldie's Best Little Opryhouse in Kentucky.
Here at WBKR, we teamed up with Goldie Payne for a talent series called Goldie's Survivor. It was a blend of American Idol and Survivor. Each season, we held open auditions, cast ten to twelve finalists, signed them to nine-week-long contracts and then let them battle it out on the stage for prize packages that eventually climbed to roughly $10,000. The talent was off the charts. The competition was fierce. And there was endless amounts of drama onstage and backstage. That series had a devoted legion of fans and Goldie's sold out nearly every Friday night. There were often waiting lists for tickets.
As it happens, Season 4 of Goldie's Survivor coincided with Goldie's 60th birthday. By the way, she told everyone she was turning SEXTY.
So, without her knowing a thing, we cooked up a big surprise party for her at one of the Goldie's Survivor shows. We brought in a gigantic screen for a slide show her family put together. Various members of the Goldie's Survivor cast performed tribute songs. I sang my version of Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl"- only I changed the name "Jessie" to "Charlie" (Goldie's husband's name). Another contestant impersonated Goldie and was hysterically fun.
But the BEST surprise performance of the night, without a doubt, was Larry Maglinger. Since Goldie was turning 60, I called Larry to see if he would consider coming to Goldie's that night to surprise her.
Since Rod Stewart had a big hit with his song "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?", I thought it would be a scream for Larry to sing "Do You Think I'm Sexty?" for Goldie.
When I called him to ask, Larry informed me that he would love to, but he was scheduled to leave town that weekend and wouldn't be able to make it. If memory serves me correctly, I am pretty sure he was going on vacation. I was bummed because I knew Larry was THE perfect guest for Goldie's surprise party.
Well, Larry, as he often did, came through. Shortly after our initial conversation, he called me back and said that he had decided to come to Goldie's after all. And, to round out our Goldie tribute, I introduced Larry to the stage and he walked out and absolutely slayed "Do Ya Think I'm SEXTY?"
Goldie was blown away and so was the crowd. Larry was sensational- the proverbial frosting on that birthday cake. The crowd cheered. I'm pretty sure Goldie cried a little. And we all stood there applauding Owensboro's own Rod Stewart.
Then, Larry walked off the stage the way he came in, climbed into his vehicle and left for vacation. The man delayed his trip in order to celebrate someone else. Rod Stewart or not- THAT'S a rock star.
So, with his passing this week, we now get to celebrate Larry. There's no doubt he's earned it.
And as hard as it is to picture a Friday After 5 without him or a charity event without him or an Owensboro City Commission meeting without him, we'll have to accept the fact that our friend, who always seemed "Forever Young," is gone.
Visitation is set for Noon to 8pm on Thursday, April 27th at Glenn Funeral Home. There will be a Celebration of Life on Friday, April 28th from 10am to 11am at Woodward Theatre of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum.