Obituary: Remembering Gary Shores

Gary Shores was a Retired Radio Personality who has been an on-air presence at WKKO-FM 99.9 (K100) for more than four decades.

Born on December 26, 1951, in Rocky River, Ohio. He was raised in Dearborn, Michigan where he graduated from Dearborn High School. Gary then attended the Specs-Howard School of Broadcasting and began his career in radio in St. Ignace, Michigan.

He then moved to Hollywood, Florida where he met his beloved wife, Joanie who worked at the same radio station. They moved to the Toledo area in the 1970s where Gary started his Toledo career as an on-air personality at what would later become K-100. It was also where he met the late Harvey Steele and teamed with him to become “Shores and Steele“ from 1994-2017. They were the number one rated radio show for over 20 years, beginning with the afternoon drive time and then hosting their popular morning show.

Shores and Steele also received the CMA Award for best on-air personalities in a medium-sized market in 1995. Gary loved his community, his family, and his many close friends. He was an avid classic car collector and an active supporter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Life Connection of Ohio.

A former radio personality for Toledo, Gary Shores passes away

Gary Shores, a retired radio personality from Toledo, passed away on Sunday evening at ProMedica Ebeid Hospice Residence in Sylvania, according to reports from his friends. Shores, who had been an on-air presence at WKKO-FM 99.9 (K100) for over four decades, died around 5 p.m. on February 19, 2023, as confirmed by his close friend and fellow retired Toledo radio broadcaster, Craig Snyder. He was 71.

Shores concluded his career in May 2019 after discovering he had idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, a progressive lung condition resulting in tissue damage. Throughout his lengthy tenure, he had been a trusted on-air partner of Harvey J. Steele, who sadly passed away on December 28, 2016.

Reflecting on their collaboration, Snyder expressed, “I worked with both of them. They had an incredible connection with their audience. They acknowledged the people who had supported them and propelled them to success. Whenever there were charitable or medical events, or when someone needed financial assistance for funeral expenses, Gary and Harvey would make generous contributions. That was truly admirable.”

Toledo’s social media platforms were filled with tributes and condolences for the late Mr. Shores on Sunday night

Meet Gary Shores Family

Joanie Gary Shores’s wife passed away years ago before him. She was 43 years old at the time of her death. Gary was born to Barron and Patricia Hoffar. He also had a sister named Holly who is no more as she preceded him.

Gary Shores Obituary

Thus, Gray is  Survived by his children Julie (Dan) Garwatoski, Garrett (Ashley), and Alan (Sarah) Hoffar, and his grandchildren, Ryan and Alyssa Garwatoski and Noah and Abigail Hoffar.

Tributes pour in for the former radio personality

Gary Shores, beloved by his former coworkers and friends, was honored through heartfelt tributes on social media.

A touching tribute was posted by his former station, expressing that Gary had achieved his lifelong dream. The post acknowledged the difficulty of creating and maintaining the magic and credited Gary for living his dream year after year, attributing his success to the listeners.

Likewise, Cliff Smithers, a former colleague and close friend, shared his profound sense of loss upon hearing the news of Gary’s passing. In the last few months, Cliff had spent considerable time with Gary and witnessed his struggle and frustration with his illness.

Each time they parted ways, Cliff encouraged him to hang in there, and they would share a fist bump and express their love for each other. Cliff expressed his deep sadness over the loss and cherished the 32 years of laughter and memories they had shared while working together.

Furthermore, Marcy Kaptur, a member of Congress, described Gary Shores as a legend and an exemplary professional. She mourned the loss of a true legend in Northwest Ohio, as Gary, the voice of K-100 radio, passed away. For decades, Gary had uplifted the community, whether it was helping people start their day or keeping them company during the night shift.

His love for the community was evident whenever he was seen at the station or at community events, where he would broadcast remotely. Gary’s dedication to his role behind the microphone and his respect for his listeners made him a consummate professional. Marcy expressed gratitude for the joy and positivity he brought to their lives, and she hoped that his family and friends would find solace in knowing that he would be reunited with his beloved wife Joanie.

Kara Steele, Harvey Steele’s daughter, issued the following statement regarding Gary Shores’s passing

Kara Steele, daughter of Harvey Steele released this statement on the passing of Gary Shores. she wrote”I am heartbroken about the loss of a truly good man and radio legend, Gary Shores.”

Gary and my dad, Harvey J. Steele, made radio magic on K-100 for more than 20 years. While they were honored to receive a Country Music Association Award in just their second year on air together, their biggest honor was earning the trust of the “greatest listeners in the world” and cramming as much community service into their days as possible. It’s no secret that they used their platform for good.

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I cannot say enough about how much Gary’s support has meant to me over the years – especially after my dad died. In a strange way, Gary was like a second father to me, and he always joked that the adoption paperwork was in the mail.

Gar and Harv were more than an on-air duo – they were brothers with a crazy amount of similarities. I hope that tag-team with the self-proclaimed faces for radio are having a reunion of sorts right now.

While I am beyond heartbroken that the Shores & Steele era has officially come to an end, the mark they left on our community will never be forgotten.