In Memoriam: Tim Glancey
Let me tell you about an amazing friend.
Tim Glancey put me on the path to success. He helped me develop my magic business in a way I never imagined. And years after he left Orlando to live full time in Key West, he'd continue to check in, to let me know he was proud of me, and extend an invitation to visit.
Tim passed away on August 23, 2017. As I've spoken to Tim's friends, we all describe him in similar ways: giving, caring, loving. No pretension, no ego. He was wholly sincere and fully present, playing, laughing and having fun.
When I perform magic in Orlando, there are only two magicians that are ever mentioned by audiences: Tim Glancey and Giovanni Livera. The two of them created a whole new brand of magic as the very first magicians for the Orlando Magic. Check out this video from 1989:
It's been a magic trick itself when people have started telling me a story with: "There was an amazing magician back in the day that would blow us away..." and I would interrupt with: "Was it Tim Glancey at the Villa Nova restaurant?" And their eyes would widen "YES!!! How did you know?!?" (This has happened not once or twice, but twenty times).
And then they'd recount how he took their coat and put a lit cigarette inside, how they'd go nuts about it, watching smoke billow from inside their coat, and moments later feel relief and astonishment when he would make the cigarette vanish, and return their coat to them unharmed. Tim was a master at creating memories. Twenty years later, people were still talking about meeting him
Our paths first crossed at a magic convention in Orlando. I had watched him in the close-up show. It was my first time seeing him after hearing how great he was from others.
After his performance, I approached him to say hello and introduce myself. He was a gentleman and showed me some moves with cards and coins. Little did I know that this chance encounter -- that intersection of our lives -- would make such a big impact in my life.
Shortly after that meeting Tim, he called me with an opportunity. Him and a non-magician friend, John Bowman, had an idea to do magic at sales meetings. They were looking for a young magician with passion to be their performer.
The three of us spent the next two years together, developing the ideas, the script and the magic. I practiced the 30 minute presentation ceaselessly. We presented it to local businesses and quickly developed a 4-part program to help companies motivate their sales people.
My favorite memory is the three of us walking into a Volvo dealership, carrying a briefcase and a bowling ball that no one was supposed to know was there. The entrance was floor to ceiling windows. As we walked across the parking lot and into the dealership, we could see 10 very skeptical salespeople, arms crossed, watching us approach. "Can they not see it," asked John, referring to the giant 10 pound bowling ball we were hiding. "Nope," Tim calmly replied. They don't assume anything. Just act casual." That was Tim's attitude most all of the time, and it was a great lesson for a young magician to learn.
Another lesson came a few years later, when Tim was closing down his Orlando warehouse. I had never seen the full scale of the operation he had developed. He had started a company called Sports Magic Entertainment, which provided stilt walkers, balloon artists and magicians for athletic events around the country. When I saw the giant whiteboard listing all the cities they were in and the performers who were assigned in each city, I was overwhelmed. It was my first realization that you could take a passion or hobby and turn it into something greater than you, and in doing so create opportunities for so many others to thrive and grow. Through his company, Tim not only created job opportunities for others, he created a whole new outlet for the entertainment he loved so much.
Tim helped so many people. He gave freely, he shared anything and everything. He wanted you to succeed. And he was supportive in any way he could be.
I have a voicemail saved on my phone that he left me last year. His trademark greeting was the double "Hello," that I came to know and love. "Helllllo hello," his soft voice would greet me. "Mr. Kostya, it's Tim down here in Key West."
He was happiest here, walking the streets, sharing magic and telling stories. He knew this was the paradise he wanted to retire to and he did. There are countless people here on the island that can tell you hundreds of other stories about Tim. I hope you get to visit and hear them.
I've been watching Tim's health go up and down this year. When his friend, life partner and beautiful soul of a care taker, Donna posted that he was getting worse, I got on the plane to Key West. I had to see Tim in person. I had to say thank you. I had to tell him how much he meant to me and to so many others.
I landed at 4pm Tuesday afternoon and went straight to the lower keys medical center where he was in ICU. He was struggling from the breathing mask and the medication. His body was fighting. His mind was at peace. He was clear headed. He acknowledged that I was there. When the doctor came in, Tim told us that he was grateful to that doctor for keeping him alive. The nurses that came in talked about Tim's amazing attitude. Even in the worst of situations, he was still selfless, not wanting to bother anyone, always thinking of the people around him.
I held his hand, told him of the friends that were thinking of him and sending their love. I told him how much he meant to me. I said thank you. I told him that I love him. He heard me.
I left the room around 6:30pm, right after he waved over Donna to come close so he could hug her and tell her he loved her.
He knew it was time, as did she. Tim passed away peacefully during the night. I will miss him.
The next morning, while describing Tim's qualities to a friend (a best friend in magic, fellow teacher at Magic Camp and an amazing spiritual counselor who runs Religion Outside The Box) on the phone, I received a piece of advice suggesting there was one clear way for me to honor Tim's life: by acting the way he acted, with gentle kindness, with selfless giving, empathy and love.
I will always remember how our one chance meeting put my life on an amazing path. Tim Glancey did that for me and so many others.
Thank you, my friend.
Thank you, Tim.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.