Guthrie volunteer gives of his musical talent and his time

Music and Jim Garling were a pair for a long time, and sure, he played for audiences. But then Garling, 65, of Guthrie, became involved in helping start churches. At that point, he really began giving away, or at least sharing, his passion for not just country music, but cowboy music.
by Bryan Painter Modified: June 22, 2014 at 11:00 am •  Published: June 22, 2014
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— Some people find what they enjoy in life — such as music.

Then there are those who share that enjoyment in a way that will benefit others.

Music and Jim Garling were a pair for a long time, and sure, he played for audiences. But then Garling became involved in helping start churches. At that point, he really began giving away, or at least sharing, his passion for not just country music, but cowboy music.

“Music has always been a part of my life, beginning as a teenager,” said Garling, 65, of Guthrie. “However, my service as a musician really began as I became involved with starting a church and continues throughout the present as I continue to be involved in music in each church I attend, serve, and grow with.

“Someone asked recently, ‘When are you going to retire?’ The answer seems to be, ‘I don’t have time to retire ... too many things that need to be done.’”

For more than 15 years, Garling and his wife, Doris, owned the RV General Store, an RV dealership in Norman. They sold the dealership in 1999.

For about four years, Garling drove from Norman to Guthrie once a week to teach fiddle and guitar lessons at the Double Stop Fiddle Shop.

Internationally known musician Byron Berline has brought a lot of music interest to Guthrie. Those interests often gather at the Double Stop Fiddle Shop.

The Garlings moved to Guthrie in 2003, and even though he retired from the RV business, Garling kept playing the music and the music kept offering him opportunities to serve.

“In the last 10 years, I have often sang for assisted living facilities, nursing homes and individuals who were sick or in the hospital,” he said.

Influences of kindness

Garling was asked not where, but who this desire for helping others traces back to. His answer mixes the past and the present.

“My parents, Ed and Mary Garling were the best example of volunteering and helping others,” he said. “They were involved in their church and community. They delivered Meals on Wheels for over 25 years, and very often outside of that they provided meals for homebound people and/or widows and widowers.”

Often his dad also mowed lawns for many of those same people.

Too, Garling’s parents gave blood through the Red Cross as often as they were allowed until their health prevented it.

In more recent years, John Kellogg, who lives in the Guthrie area, has been that example to Jim Garling of meeting the needs of others.

“He is always helping people in the community,” Garling said of Kellogg. “Very often he calls on me to come help. He’ll call and say, ‘What are you doing at lunch?’ I say, ‘Oh, I’ll just have a sandwich or something.’ He’ll say, ‘Aw, you don’t need to eat today. Let’s go visit.’

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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