45° Good Afternoon
45° Good Afternoon
Long IslandObituaries

Trumpeter Henry S. Golis Sr. dies at 95

Henry Golis Sr., left, playing trumpet with actor

Henry Golis Sr., left, playing trumpet with actor James Cagney, seated, at the cast party for the movie "Ragtime" in 1981. Photo Credit: People Magazine / Robin Platzer

Henry S. Golis Sr., a classically trained trumpet player, performed at the famed Roseland Ballroom, the 1964 World's Fair and with pianist Van Cliburn, a Juilliard classmate.

For nearly a decade, Golis also blew the trumpet at the start of each round of the Golden Gloves amateur boxing finals in Madison Square Garden, including a match featuring a young Sugar Ray Leonard.

Golis, 95, died in a fire last month in his Albertson home.

Nassau police said he was found about 5 feet from the door and was pronounced dead at North Shore University Hospital. He suffered burns and a heart attack, said his son, also named Henry, 56.

Golis' wife, Eleanor, 86, critically injured in the fire, remains in stable condition in the burn unit at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, Henry Jr. said.

"He set a great example of how to be a father, and how to live a good life," his son said.

The elder Golis taught music in Long Island schools, including Garden City High School, for about 30 years. At nights, he performed in New York City clubs.

"He just liked the human experience of entertaining," his son said.

He taught his son how to play the trumpet and also gave private lessons. One student, John Stefan, later played with Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

A New Castle, Pa., native, Golis' formal music training didn't start until he moved to Los Angeles after serving in the Army in World World II, his son said.

There, he studied under teachers such as Del Staigers and Harold Mitchell, lead trumpeter for MGM Studios.

In the late 1940s, he entered Juilliard, where his classmates included Miles Davis and Tito Puente. "He loved it because it brought him in contact with all the best players," his son said.

He earned a graduate degree from Teachers College at Columbia University in the 1950s.

For almost 10 years in the 1950s, he played twice a week at Roseland, including Saturdays with the Eddie Gronet orchestra, his son said.

Roseland, which drew the likes of Benny Goodman, closed last month.

In 1960, Golis started teaching music in schools.

His private lessons took place throughout the tri-state area.

In Queens, he taught Stefan, 69, who later played lead trumpet and arranged for Frankie Valli, and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.

Stefan started lessons with Golis when he was 14. He kept up the sessions whenever he came off a tour and took his last lesson three years ago.

"He was always a giving man, a little bit like a second father," he said.

Besides his wife and his son, Golis is survived by a sister, Mildred Golis of Santa Clara, California.

A wake was held April 28 at Roslyn Heights Funeral Home in Roslyn Heights. A funeral Mass was said Tuesday at the Church of St. Aidan in Williston Park with burial at Calverton National Cemetery.

Latest Long Island News