Lawrence McGowan, of White Plains, NY, passed away August 18, 2019. He was 67. Lawrence was born December 12, 1951 in White Plains to the late Joseph and Pauline (nee Sparrin) McGowan.
Larry was a gifted musician who began playing the organ in church. At age 13, he played the organ in front of the pope at the noon Mass during the 1964 World’s Fair in New York City.
His other musical career started in 1968 with Rat Race Choir, a progressive rock band that had a cult-like following on Long Island and the metropolitan area. The group began as a bunch of teenagers in their White Plains homes. An original member of the band, Larry just completed 50 years with “Rat Race Choir”.
He also had a career at Playland. As an employee at the amusement park, Larry became caretaker of the carousel. He knew everything about the organ, and repaired it to keep it up and running. For 35 years, McGowan, made the 100-year-old carousel sing. He also created unique bright signs and hand-painted rides. He became Playland’s artist, and his job became that of a historic preservationist. Larry was given creative freedom to paint the rides and signs however he saw fit. He used his artistic touch on the carousel too; all 66 horses on the ride were painted by hand, and no two were painted alike.
Larry belonged to the Carousel Organ Association of America. Many people called him “Larry Love”. Was was an extraordinary pianist and a painter, lovingly restoring carousel horses.
He played at many churches including Eastchester Church and Mt. Carmel Baptist Church.
He is survived by his sister Gloria McGowan of New York City.
“My loving brother Larry M. always made you laugh. Larry was a gifted musician and also studied his craft for many years. Larry was my best friend and confidante. A STAR LIKE NO OTHER”