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Paulie Palooza Benefit a tribute, fund-raiser

Event planned to assist long-time island musician’s young son

August 22, 2012
By MEGHAN McCOY (mmccoy@breezenewspapers.com) , Pine Island Eagle

A benefit will be held this weekend to raise funds for a little boy who recently lost his father.

Musician and father Paul "Paulie Gecko" Honcharenko passed away unexpectedly Aug. 2, 2012, in his sleep, due to sleep apnea. He was born July 8, 1971.

"He did a lot of things in his 41 years and he was a good musician," said Carolyn Kimes, his mother. "I'm sorry his life was taken so soon."

Article Photos

Island musician Paul “Paulie Gecko” Honcharenko, 41 passed away Aug. 2.

She said that sleep apnea is nothing to be ignored.

"If you have it, get it treated," Kimes said.

Honcharenko's son, Dalton, 8, attends Pine Island Elementary School as a third grade student.

Fact Box

If You Go

What: The Paulie Palooza Benefit for son Dalton

When: Aug. 26, at 2 p.m.

Where: Olde Fish House Marina, 4530 Pine Island Road, in Matlacha

Information: Call Laura Garrison at 239-878-6806.

"He is a star student at Pine Island Elementary School," Kimes said. "He is a sweet boy."

Paul's mother said her son's love for music began at a young age when he began playing guitar at 13.

The musician, who lived on the island for 22 years, arrived in Florida when he was 17 years old. Over the years, Kimes said he worked on Upper Captiva, at the North Captiva Island Club, as well as at Barnacle Phil's.

She said cooking or waiting tables was a good connection for him with his career as a musician.

Honcharenko eventually put together a band with a young man he knew from Michigan, called the Gecko.

Kimes said he played on Fort Myers Beach for about two years as well as many regular spots on Pine Island, which included Froggy's, Ragged Ass Saloon and Woody's Waterside.

"He played from Collier County up to Boca Grande," Kimes said, which included many years playing along the strip of Port Charlotte.

One of Honcharenko's memorable experiences while playing in Boca Grande was playing for President George Bush's daughter's wedding party, Kimes said.

"He had an up close, personal visit with all of them," she said.

The band also went on a tour to South and North Carolina as well as Michigan.

The band eventually split up after Honcharenko's friend moved out of the country and he stayed in the area. Kimes said her son played with just about every musician in the area over the years.

His favorite music to perform was classic rock.

"He was an encyclopedia of music," Kimes said.

Her most enjoyable time was listening to her son play the guitar at home.

"Whenever he was out entertaining it was a different persona than my son who sat at home playing the guitar," she said.

Laura Garrison, who met Paul years ago through her brother, decided to put together the Paulie Palooza Benefit to help Dalton and his grandparents. She said her brother and Paul were best friends and she felt like she had to do something to help the family.

"It is so important for me to make sure they get enough money to help with raising him," she said of Dalton's grandparents.

The benefit will take place Sunday, Aug. 26, at the Olde Fish House Marina in Matlacha. The festivities will kick off at 2 p.m. with live music, raffles, food and drinks.

"I think it is wonderful," Kimes said of the benefit. "The musicians in our area are really like a band of brothers, for them to get together and support each other in this way is fantastic. What a tribute to my son."

She said the support from the community for this benefit "sort of takes my breath away."

Kimes explained her son had a big heart and loved people and loved to party.

"It would be wonderful to have people there and pay tribute to him and his memory," she said of the benefit.

A Dalton Honcharenko Memorial Fund has been set up at Busey Bank in Cape Coral for those who wish to donate to the family. The bank is located at 2524 Del Prado Blvd., South.

For information about the benefit, call Garrison at 239-878-6806.

 
 

 

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