A memorial service for Harry Schad, a popular singer on local radio and television shows in the 1940s and 1950s, will be at 1 p.m. Saturday in the community room at Leisure Times, 364 Bloomingdale Road, Akron, where he had been a resident for the past 10 years.
He died Dec. 9 -- the day before his 85th birthday -- in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a brief illness.
Born in Buffalo, he showed his talents at an early age, singing with choruses while a student at McKinley High School and marching as a drum major with the Pine Hill Fire Company Marching Band.
Mr. Schad's first claim to fame, however, came as a ballroom dancer. He studied dance for five years and became a champion at the grand waltz, winning a number of dance contests. When he turned from dance to vocal competition, he triumphed there, too. Among the contests he won was one hosted by jazz drummer Gene Krupa.
After serving for three years in the Coast Guard during World War II, Mr. Schad went to the West Coast and auditioned with Frank Sinatra's agent and coach, who encouraged him to return to Buffalo and make a name for himself locally.
Before long, he was a featured vocalist on radio and television, appearing for several years on WBEN's Breakfast Club, which broadcast live from the Hotel Lenox and Laube's Old Spain. Known as "The Bashful Baritone," he also hosted his own half-hour weekday radio show, sang with big bands and was a soloist at pops concerts with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra.
His career waned with the decline of radio and the big bands. Rather than go on the road, he sang locally for private engagements and in church. He took a job at WKBW-TV in the late 1950s as a film technician, retiring in the mid-1970s.
A longtime resident of the Kensington neighborhood, in retirement Mr. Schad lived for about 15 years in Quarry Acres in Clarence.