Wurlitzer

Larry Rast has served as President of the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation since 1994. With a strong background in teaching, Larry understands the need for music programs for all levels of a child’s development and is proud to have made music education a part of each endeavor he has pursued during his...
Frank Reda worked in the insurance business as a youth, where he credits the training on customer service and sales that he later applied to his work in the music industry. In the 1970s, he was hired by Wurlitzer to manage their retail stores in the Chicago area. While there, he helped train...
Al Rich, the former president of Pearl River Pianos in the United States seems to have pianos in his blood. He grew up in DeKalb, IL, the home of the mighty Wurlitzer Corporation. Al’s father owned a music retail store where Al recalls meeting the many traveling salesmen with a celebrity like...
John Riley grew up playing music and earned a business degree in Boston.  He applied for a job at the Wurlitzer retail store and was hired by a man named Bob Fletcher.  When Bob moved to Florida to open a Lowrey Organ retail store, John joined him.  Bob later established the Fletcher Music Center...
Vic Russelavage was hired by Chuck Levin as a repairman while Vic was playing his trumpet professionally. Chuck became a mentor and encouraged Vic to focus on the details and to take as much time with each customer as needed. As a result, Vic was inspired to open his own repair shop, which became a...
Ron Sfarzo may be the only interviewee within the NAMM Oral History collection who served as a police officer in California!  Ron has been involved with music his entire life, with both his father and brother involved with music retail.  While working in his brother’s San Francisco store, Ron was...
Lowell Simpson spent his entire life in music. As a child he played music as well as sang and in fact, continued to sing over the decades even after working as a sales manager for several industry manufacturers. From 1965 until 1978 he served as a sales rep for the Wurlitzer Company. He traveled to...
Anna Sipavich was a real life Rosie the Riveter with ties to the music products industry. She was a factory worker at the Wurlitzer Company in DeKalb, IL, when the Second World War broke out. As talk of lay-offs floated around the company in the early days of the war, a government job soon allowed...
Sue Smith met her future husband, Craig, when they were both teenagers, working part-time demonstrating Wurlitzer organs at Karnes Music in the Chicago area.  Craig was the senior member of the "Whiz Kids", (talented organ students that performed at fairs and outside promotions) and Sue was a...
Craig Smith began piano lessons at the age seven and by the time he was twelve, was fascinated with the sounds of the home organ. He started demonstrating organs for Karnes Music at thirteen and worked there part-time through high school. During his college years, Craig continued to work part-time...

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