Cover photo for Gary Fountaine's Obituary
1957 Gary 2023

Gary Fountaine

September 15, 1957 — December 28, 2023

Portland

Gary Alan Fountaine, born on September 15, 1957, in Kansas City, Missouri, passed away from cancer on December 28, 2023. He was the son of Edwin J. Fountaine Sr. and RuthAnn (George) Fountaine.
Gary’s passion for music was innate and profound. As he often proclaimed, music chose him. A self-taught virtuoso, Gary never learned to read music, but his natural talent, phenomenal ear, and work ethic made him an in-demand player. Inspired by his older brother Eddie, he initially reached for the guitar at the age of eight. However, he soon found his calling in the bass guitar, which became his signature instrument.
His father, Edwin J. Fountaine Sr., was a well-known jazz bassist from Kansas City. The family moved to Portland in 1959 when Edwin Sr. was invited by Sid Porter to perform at Sydney’s nightclub, later known as the Candlelight Room. As adults, Gary and Eddie performed regularly at The Candlelight. Other notable influences on Gary’s bass playing included James Jamerson, Verdine White, Stanley Clark, and William Earl “Bootsy” Collins.
Gary graduated from the Metropolitan Learning Center (MLC) in Northwest Portland in 1976. He earned a gold record for the Nu Shooz album Poolside in 1986 and a Muddy Award in 2006. Gary performed with numerous musicians and bands, including Nu Shooz, Body & Soul, 5 Guys Named Moe, and Sumo with his brother Eddie. He also had the privilege of performing with artists such as Michael Allen Harrison, Sam & Dave, and Herbie Hancock, to name a few.
Some players and singers put out 110% every night, whether there are five people in the audience or 50,000. They leave it all on the stage. Gary was one of those people. Joy emanated from his corner of the stage, whatever band he played with. He was so happy to be there. He loved his instrument, the music, and the audience. It was never fake. Everybody knows the real thing when they see it, and Gary Fountaine was the real thing.
He is survived by his sons, Gary Evan Fountaine of Atlanta, Georgia, and Alex Fountaine of Portland, Oregon, daughter Erin Fountaine, in Atlanta, GA. His immediate family includes: Brendon, Tyler, and his former spouse Brenda Fountaine, all from Atlanta, Georgia, sisters Camilla Fountaine of Seattle, Washington, Kim Czuba Kaer of Tigard, Oregon, and brother Tim Fountaine of Portland, Oregon. Gary was a loving grandfather to Keira, Maliyah, Mila, Evan, Jayden, Alexsa, Jaylen, Asjia, and a boy due in July 2024. His extended family, nieces, nephews, and a wide circle of friends also mourn his loss.
He was predeceased by his father, Edwin Fountaine Sr., in 1997, his mother, RuthAnn, in 1994, his younger brother, James David, in 1963, and his eldest brother, Edwin Fountaine Jr., in 2022.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, April 28, 2024, from 1 PM to 5 PM (Pacific) at The Headliners Club (formerly known as At The Garages), 17880 SW McEwan Rd, Portland, OR 97224.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gary Fountaine, please visit our flower store.

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