The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

March 17, 2013

Annual birthday bash grows: Remembrance for Gary Lamer slated for May

JOHNSTOWN — Gary Lamer lived by the philosophy that you should always give when you can because you never know when you will be the one who needs help.

It’s in his honor that the third annual Gary Lamer Birthday Remembrance Bash will be held May 3 at the Crow’s Nest in Tire Hill, and May 4 at the Woodside Bar and Grill in Belmont.

The event was started by Katie Lamer following the death of her husband, who died at 32 years of age on March 2, 2011, due to complications from pneumonia.

“This is a way for me to give back to a community that came together to help me when I had nothing,” Lamer said. “I want people to remember the type of person Gary was. He was kind and loving, and I don’t want people to forget him.”

The first event was held in May 2011 and raised more than $2,000, which allowed Lamer to give two $1,000 scholarships to students at Forest Hills High School, her husband’s alma mater.

The following year, she raised more than $5,000 and provided two $1,500 scholarships to the school as well as donated funds to local nonprofits.

“I never thought I would raise that much money. It’s just amazing to me. This community is full of amazing people,” she said.

This year Lamer decided to expand the birthday bash to two days, when people can come out and listen to live music provided by local bands.

“I just thought one day wasn’t enough and all these bands come and play for free and they’re original shows,” she said.

The bash at the Crow’s Nest will begin at 9:30 p.m. Cost is a $5 donation.

The event at the Woodside Bar and Grill will begin at noon and cost is a $10 donation.

T-shirts and memorial lanterns will be available for purchase.

In addition, all the money brought in from the second event will go to a local school’s music program.

“I’m hoping that students, teachers and administrators will send us videos and letters telling us why they deserve the money,” Lamer said. “I’m giving a minimum of $500, but hopefully it’ll be more.”

The contest is open to any school in Cambria and Somerset counties and a committee of Lamer’s friends will select the winner.

Deadline for submission is May 24 and can be emailed to or sent to 265 Sell St., Johnstown, Pa. 15905.

“I’m hoping to make this bigger every year. I want to help other people reach their goals because Gary really worked hard to accomplish his goals,” Lamer said.

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