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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Family of KDHX DJ Gabriel Launches GoFundMe to Cover Funeral Costs

Posted By on Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 6:40 AM

click to enlarge Vintage Vinyl remembers the man, the legend. - MAT WILSON
  • Vintage Vinyl remembers the man, the legend.
Gabriel, the beloved DJ responsible for KDHX's Sunday night program Gabriel's Tin Pan Alley, died at Mercy Hospital South on Friday, October 19, at the age of 88. Now, friends and family are banding together to raise money for his cremation.

Initially the family had plans for a funeral service and burial that would cost roughly $8,000, but when the money for that fell through unexpectedly, Gabriel's daughter, Mary Ayodele, 54, set up a GoFundMe to try to raise the money.

"Although a friend said funds were secured for the fees for his burial, we just learned tonight that those funds are not coming and the funeral is set for this Friday, October 26, 2018," Ayodele wrote in the intro for the GoFundMe campaign launched Tuesday. "We have cut back the expenses for the funeral as much as we can and we need to raise $6,000 to cover it. Please help us. Thank you and God Bless You!"

At the time of this writing, the campaign had raised just over $800. On Wednesday evening, Ayodele lowered the goal from $6,000 to just $1,500, telling RFT that the money just wasn't coming in quickly enough to go forward confidently with their original burial plans.

"So what we're gonna do is a direct cremation, and as soon as we get $1,500 together, that's the way we're gonna go," she says. "So that's where we are. I looked for pro-bono mortuaries, maybe someone in his fan base was a mortician. I live in Houston, so I'm not really in that area to hit the ground running, and I didn't hear anything back. I even asked if someone would donate a burial plot.

"I'm at the point where I have to do something," she says. "He can't just stay there."

Ayodele, who lives in Houston, reached out to Catholic Urban Programs in East St. Louis — Gabriel used to live in nearby Dupo — and that group offered up $100 to the cause. Added to the money the GoFundMe has raised, and that puts Gabriel's family more than halfway to its new goal.

"Hopefully that's a little more attainable, and it can come together a little bit quicker and we can move forward," Ayodele says.

As detailed in and obituary by fellow KDHX DJ and longtime RFT writer Roy Kasten on Monday, Gabriel grew up on the East Side, where he went to Lincoln High School at the same time as Miles Davis. A trumpet player himself, Gabriel went on to work with many R&B legends, including Ike Turner, before launching his own performing and recording career, which resulted in a few singles bearing his name.

Gabriel in KDHX's studio. - BRIAN HEFFERNAN
  • Gabriel in KDHX's studio.

In 1952, Gabriel began his career in radio at WOKZ in Alton, which eventually became KATZ, where he worked until a programming change in 1969. “I can no longer with a clear conscience play the music which you have selected me to play,” he wrote in his resignation letter.

From there, in the early '70s, Gabriel became involved in KDNA, the community radio predecessor to KDHX. He began broadcasting with KDHX in 1989, just two years after its launch.

You can listen to his KDHX shows here. And you can donate to the GoFundMe for the man — I mean the man!here.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story contained inaccurate information about Gabriel's last show. The one that aired on October 22, 2018, was not a live broadcast, but rather a replay of a previous show from a year before. We regret the error.

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