Half brilliant businessman, half masterful musician, all loving Grandpa and servant of Christ. That's my Grandpa Bud.
I had the privilege of being one of his grandsons. This position required a lot of responsibility on my part. For instance, on one occasion, while picking Grandpa up from the airport, he asked me if I could help him out and carry something. Being a strapping lad of ten years I said, "Sure". He proceeded to pull a giant handful of quarters out of his big pockets and pour them into my hands. I spent the next hour counting them out. Other requirements as a grandson included a love for Almond Chocolate covered Vanilla Häagen Dazs bars and root beer floats. If these items were in the house, they must be eaten, if they were not in the house, the boys (Grandpa included) would pile into the Gold "King Tut" Cadillac and cruise down to the store. This legacy was passed on to the grandsons who made sure to bring the goods to Grandpa once he hung up the keys to the KingTutMobile, and will be a Tutmarc Tradition for many years to come.
Grandpa loved his grandkids. I always knew he'd do anything for us. The thing I appreciate most about him is that he loved Jesus more than anything, and always conveyed that to us. One aspect of Grandpa that I never saw clearly until I was leaving for the mission field was his dedication to prayer for his family. When I was saying goodbye before going to Europe, Grandpa told me, "You know what the secret to all of my successful trips around the world was? Prayer. I pray every day for the guidance and protection of the Lord, and on all the trips I've taken, in everything I've done, God has been faithful and protected me and my family." Grandpa was passionate about anything he was involved in and I can't thank him enough for being passionate for the Lord.
It has been difficult dealing with this loss from half-way around the world, but even in this, God has been gracious. I was able to videochat with Grandpa the night before he passed and tell him that I love him. Though I wish that I could be there with the fam, I know that I'm doing God's will for my life here in Germany and that Grandpa is proud of me for that. This loss just spurs me on to make even a fraction of the impact Grandpa made in his life. I look forward to having a Häagen Dazs with him in heaven someday, and in the meantime, I like to think of Grandpa like this,
Grandpa spent a lifetime playing steel for Jesus, now he's spending eternity playing steel with Jesus.
I love you Grandpa. Aloha Oe, until we meet again.
My memories of my brother Bud Tutmarc started for me when he I was about 4 or 5 years old, and he would have been 30 or so. You see, we have different mothers, but share our father, Paul Tutmarc Sr. I spent many happy weekend days at Bud and Opal's house as a child, on sunny summer days in the pool with Jeryl, Pam and Greg, and the toddler Doug always attempting to climb in. On the cooler days Jeryl and I would spend hours in her and Pam's room cutting pictures from magazines, and doing I don't remember exactly what anymore, but I do remember the comfort of the big warm house, the wonderful smells coming from Opal's kitchen, the easiness of the "cousin"like relationship of Jeryl and myself, and hearing my (and Bud’s) dad's guitar often serenading whoever might be in the family room and kitchen on a Sunday evening. We would gather around the table, in the same place in the same house where it is today, and Bud would say the blessing and we would all share the meal and the moment. I didn't really know Bud was my brother, or wait ... I knew he was my brother, but I remember calling him Uncle Bud. My mom had several brothers of a similar age, with kids that were my cousins, and that just felt like the same kind of relationship.
Well, I grew up, as children do, followed my family's musical path, and eventually married a wonderful man who I have spent the last 34 years of my life with. We had children, they grew up, as children do, and had children. Time flew, as time does. There were a few fleeting moments with my brother, a postcard from him on a pilgramage he took to the holy lands, a lovely though short visit at our oldest daughter's wedding ... Christmas cards ... and then ... one morning I woke up, sometime in my 54th year, and a voice clearly said "Call your brother." It was quite audible, and very clear, and my first thought was that something was wrong. I did my usual and went to work and thought about the voice, and in my busy day didn't make the call. The next morning the same thing, same voice and message. I sat down and called and spent nearly an hour on the phone with Opal, who welcomed my phone call, and me after the long absence as if I had only been on a short vacation. She opened her home and her heart to me with no hesitation. Upon my first visit my brother's beautiful blue eyes lit up like sunshine in a blue sky when he saw me. He had lost his sister Jeanne, who he had grown up with, and here was the wayward little half-sister Paula come calling after 45 years or so ... no hesitation ... "Oh honey, it's so good to see you, my little sister!" Greg, Doug and Jeryl were there, all smiles, all with unconditional joy that I was Just ... there.
Thus I began my journey to having a brother, my only sibling. There were more visits. Jeryl, then Pam and her daughter Jennifer came out to visit my husband Jerry and I. Greg, with most of his family in tow, came to surprise me at my art gallery in Tacoma on the only day I was down with the flu and not there last Christmas season. Greg and Doug played beautiful music for one of my art shows ... Thanksgiving and Christmas Day 2005 ... many wonderful gatherings began to cement a relationship with my family. My family ... and one day, not any particular day, just one day I knew Bud was my brother, not my uncle, not only my dad's son, but my brother, and so Jerry and I settled into being part of this beautiful family, and they all settled in to having us as part of it. Jerry and I came to every hymn-sing we could make it to, often to play and sing on the stage with Bud and sons. I knew that I needed to visit as often as I could, for my brother was in his eighties, and had some health issues.
The days flew, and Thanksgiving 2006 was just around the corner. Jeryl called, Bud had been moved to a rest home and was now in the hospital and was failing fast. Jerry and I went up to Jeryl's house to spend a lovely, though touched with sadness, Thanksgiving dinner with her and Opal. That evening we all went out to see Bud. He was sleepy, but awoke several times to acknowledge each of us more than once. He winked at me and smiled and said “I love you” and winked again. I felt that maybe this was the last time I would see him in this life. Still his blue eyes sparkled with life and love, and his gratefulness for a simple soft touch to his head or shoulders was childlike and sweet. And so in that moment I realized that God had given me a brother and would soon take him all in less than two years. Less than two weeks later, my brother, smiling, and knowing where he was going, shed these earthly bonds and went to his home in heaven, after being able to tell each of his children and grandchildren that he loved them so. At his memorial service I learned more about my brother, and got a taste of the masses of people who he touched in some way, with his music, his heart, his generosity, and his "can do" nature. It was a most beautiful celebration.
Now Christmas is upon us and the new year will soon begin, and we all will spend each day and holiday for the first time without him there, bigger than life itself, but still, I'm going to see blue eyes, that shine like the sky on a sunny day, wink at me from time to time, and give thanks each day, for I have a brother, a most dear sister-in-law, and am part of a most wonderful family.
That period of time when I lived next door to the Tutmarcs contain some of my fondest memories. Taking nothing away from Mrs. Tutmarc or my friendship will all the Tutmarc kids, Mr. Tutmarc is someone who I have never forgotten nor will I ever forget. I have millions of stories which could take forever to share. One train trip to Spokane comes to mind, among others.
When you realize that my years next door started in the early 1960's and ended in the early 1970's and equate to the world at that time, then add to that the coinciding school years were grade 5 thru 12, those were some very influential years for a young man and his friends.
The opportunities we had musically with Mr. Tutmarc were almost fantasy-like. Time in real recording studios, learning the discipline of the process and having lots of fun along the way was really something. Our at-home (and remote) music 'sessions' were some times challenging and he did not always approve, but he still gave us the tools to play and enjoy music.
I remember many a talk downstairs while he was scoring some "Tutmarc Production," he would always listen and put forth his opinion. It was pretty cool being able to get second opinions from Mr. Tutmarc on things I spoke to my Dad about before. You would be surprised how often the opinions were the same. Our trips to Joos Music in Lynnwood, ordering from the LD Heater catalog for the Tutmarc School of Music, and the Tutmarc toboggan were all good times.
Even though I may have occasionally taken the heat for one or more of the Tutmarc boys (as any good friend would), I kind of think Mr. Tutmarc even figured that out eventually. He was always fair and just in his ability to defuse a situation between “the boys.”
During my time with the Tutmarc family, I was welcomed into their home (most of the time) like a member of their family. We all learned and shared a lot during those years—much of which as I have grown older I have appreciated (and understood) even more than I did back then.
You heard all kinds of people describe Mr. Tutmarc using many different analogies and catch phrases, In my book there should only be one: Paul H. 'Bud' Tutmarc Jr. was a man who truly understood what it meant to "walk the talk." He influenced many (including myself) with his strong faith, his honesty, his integrity, his music and his love of his family. He was also the true undisputed master of the steel guitar (sorry Sol). I also remember him as a person who on occasion liked to have some fun.
I hope all the Tutmarcs are coping as well as you can. Just focus on all the great memories and how much of him is in each of you.
Originally posted on richard-bennett.com
I don't intend to make a habit of writing obits on this page but must mention the passing of another good friend and great Hawaiian guitar player, Bud Tutmarc. He was a side-kick and protege of Hawaiian steel guitar legend Sol Hoopii in the 1940's and early 50's when Sol moved to Seattle from Los Angeles. Bud learned much from the master but was always his own man and he began recording 78s and albums in the mid-50's right on through the late 90's. I had been a fan of Bud's for many years and while on tour in Seattle with Neil Diamond sometime in the 70's, I picked up the phone and gave him a call. When he answered I blurted out, "Hi, I'm Richard Bennett and I'm your biggest fan." He replied, "Yeah? You and my mother." I invited him down to the show that night so many years ago, and we became fast friends. In 2001 while in Seattle with Mark Knopfler on the Sailing To Philadelphia tour, I invited him again to see us play. Bud brought a large part of his family to the show and we all had a good visit backstage, Mark and Guy enjoying him and all his wonderful stories as well. I remember Bud sitting in the third or fourth row during the show that night and beaming up at us, grinning like there was no tomorrow.
Bud must have recorded at least 20 or more albums of Hawaiian steel guitar music, both secular and religious, some still available today and I highly recommend them. A real high point in my own recording career was playing on one of his records called "Unforgettables #2", an album of beautiful, romantic standards with a full orchestra arranged and conducted by the great Ralph Carmichael. Ralph's a grand old-school Hollywood arranger who wrote record arrangements for so many great artists including Nat King Cole. There he was was up on the podium during those sessions for Bud, white hair and arms flying and a cigarette dangling from his lips. What a cat! Let me tell you, those were the hardest charts I'd ever seen and I'd been around the block a few times. We recorded 12 songs, live with full orchestra, on one day in two 3-hour sessions! Those charts were so challenging and impressive that I asked Ralph at the end of the date if I could keep them. I still pull them out now and again and wonder how I ever got through the day. I'm very proud of to have played on one of Bud's albums, particularly THAT one.
So, here's to you Bud, your friendship has been a pleasure and an honour. I'm glad I made that call back in the 70's and I'm still your biggest fan.