Southern Nights, Parliament House to honor Carmella Marcella Garcia with ‘A Celebration of Life’

ABOVE: George Timothy Reed (L) and his drag persona, Carmella Marcella Garcia. (Photos from Reed’s Facebook)

ORLANDO | George Timothy Reed, better known in the community as Carmella Marcella Garcia, passed away on Oct. 15 after a long-fought battle with cancer. He was 57. Reed was known in the drag community as the “Grand Ole Gal of the South,” or just Mella to friends.

Reed was a regular performer throughout Central Florida for many years frequenting the stages at Parliament House, Southern Nights and Pulse. Perhaps Reed’s most endearing legacy in Central Florida was the creation of Orlando’s Easter fixture Babes in Bonnets more than 20 years ago. Thanks to Reed’s vision, Babes in Bonnets has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the LGBTQ youth of Central Florida since its beginnings.

Members of the Central  Florida LGBTQ community will be paying tribute and remembering the drag legend as well. Southern Nights and Parliament House will present “Orlando Remembers Carmella Marcella Garcia, A Celebration of Life” held at Southern Nights on Nov. 6 starting at 7 p.m.

Many friends, family and fans took to Facebook to share stories and pay tribute to the legendary performer.

“Not much to say except my journey was a little brighter because of George Timothy Reed. Thank you Gal for the laughter, the bright lights, and the parties, oh such wonderful memories! To God Be The Glory! REST IN PEACE Carmella Marcella Garcia,” wrote Parliament House’s Entertainment Director Darcel Stevens.

Stevens also posted to Facebook asking everyone to share their favorite Carmella stories, writing “we all got one.” Dozens of photos, condolences and stories were shared from people all over the country.

“To the Queen who taught me so much in one show! Never let your tips hit the floor, people work hard for their money… if they give you some of it, you show them respect. A true legend! RIP,” drag performer Tora Himan posted.

The current Miss GayDayS Twila Holiday took to her social media, writing “Today was your curtain call and you took your final bow. You had a great show with an outstanding performance. You touch the hearts of so many and inspired so many entertainers along the way. Thank You. Spread your wings and fly there’s a new stage that awaits you shine brighter than you ever have before! Rest In Peace.”

Central Florida drag queen and owner of Ritzy Rags Wigs & More, Leigh Shannon recalled the last time she saw Mella sharing that “he seemed different.” Shannon shared a poem writing, in part, “You made me laugh til I hurt. You and I grew up kinda poor as dirt. You could do a Patsy Cline Wig for me that I love. But I know you will be doing make up and wigs up above. I never thought you would leave us so soon. But I will think of you when I look up at the moon.”

Reed started his career in Nashville in the mid 80’s performing at the Cabaret, Warehouse 28 and PLAY Dancebar. He worked in more than 30 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Canada, according to The Kentucky-native won numerous titles and crowns including Miss Gay Orlando, Miss Gay Florida USofA, Miss Gay Florida America, Miss Gay USofA at Large and Miss Universe at Large, just to name a few.

A small memorial service in Reed’s hometown of Brownsville, Kentucky was planned by Reed’s family while his longtime friends are producing a large celebration of life in Nashville for next year. “The Grand Ole Gal of the South: A Celebration of George Timothy Reed” will take place on Jan. 9, 2020. A specific location in Nashville has not yet been announced.

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