A long-serving Mohawk Valley radio personality passed away on Christmas Eve, and a memorial service was held for friends and family on Monday in Little Falls.

Gary "Gary Van" Van Veghten died on December 24th at a local nursing facility at the age of 87.

Van Veghten was best known for originally owning and operating 1230 AM WLFH in Little Falls, and 105.5 FM, also in Little Falls, which ultimately became WOW FM and later KISS FM.

Van Veghten has been credited with helping launch several radio careers throughout Central New York over his years in town. Prior to 1982, he was a well-known radio personality in the Syracuse area. In fact, during the early 1960s, "Gary Van" was Syracuse's #1 Rock and Roll DeeJay, which resulted in a "head hunter" offering him a rather lucrative opportunity for the time, to work in radio in Hawaii. He was also well-known in the Albany market.

Gary Van early in his career. (Family Photo)
Gary Van early in his career. (Family Photo)

"Gary was my first mentor in radio back when I was a senior in high school in 1982," said WIBX's Bill Keeler. "I learned so much from him over the years. He knew more about the radio industry than I'll ever know. His passing is a great loss for the industry."

Van Veghten was a Syracuse Newhouse graduate where he trained with fellow classmates, Ted Koppel who would go on to ABC network television and the Nightline franchise, and legendary television producer Fred Silverman, who ultimately became responsible for huge television hits like All in the Family, The Waltons, and Charlie's Angels.

Gary was a past member of the Little Falls Civic Club, the Little Falls Business Association, and the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce, to name a few.  He was instrumental in establishing Little Falls Radio, a local low power community radio station. He spent more than 30 years working as the Canal Celebration Committee Publicity Chair.

Gary was honored with a Good Citizenship Award by the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Post 4612 in 1988. In 2019, the Marquis Who's Who recognized him with a Lifetime Achievement award.

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