By Pierce Marratto of Touchfaster
This past Sunday Pittsburgh’s vibrant Jazz and Blues community suffered the tragic loss of one of its native sons when Leroy K Wofford, affectionately named “The Blues Master”, was fatally shot in front his home in the Lincoln-Lemington neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Leroy was one of those rare individuals whose talent was only shadowed by the spirit at which it was delivered. He came from an era when a front man was much more than just the singer of the band. The front man was an MC, a comedian, and an all around entertainer. Leroy was all of those things and more.
Anyone who had the pleasure of seeing him perform knows that his ability to work a crowd was unparalleled. His finely honed vocal abilities certainly played a major role in this but with Leroy it seemed like so much more. Perhaps it was his charm, or his perfectly pressed and incredibly stylish suits, but mainly it was just his unrelenting positive energy. The man loved what he did and it showed.
On Sunday, at the weekly Jazz Society event at James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy, word was beginning to spread amongst the crowd that he had been shot. At this point there was still no answer as to whether or not he would make it. This made for a tangible uneasiness that was quite contrary to the normal jovial atmosphere of the Speakeasy on Sundays. On stage for the night was Pittsburgh Jazz legend Tim Stevens. Mr. Stevens and his band performed a tribute to Leroy then took their set break. Just as Jazz Society founder Tony Mowod was about to take the stage for his regular updates, someone got the news that Leroy had in fact passed.
Tony made the announcement to the crowd, which was met by a room full of tears and somber faces. Once the tears had subsided people began to share stories about Mr. Wofford and it quickly became clear that there was not a single person in the room who was not impacted by this remarkable man.
In an effort to try to repay Leroy for all of the wonderful times, the great people at James Street decided to host a celebration of his life this Wednesday at 6pm. Donations will assist will assist with the final arrangements. For more information visit the Facebook event page for Leroy Wofford: A Celebration of Life or visit jamesstreetgastropub.com
Note: If you are unable to attend the event, you can still send donations to the Spriggs-Watson Funeral Home to assist with funeral arrangements. Cash donations can be dropped off at the funeral home or checks, made out to the Spriggs-Watson Funeral Home, care of Leroy Wofford, can be mailed to 720 N. Lang Ave., Pittsburgh 15208