Johnny Gleason in his favorite place - behind a set of drums.

Johnny Gleason is fondly remembered by his uncle John Gleason, and a friend, Bob O’Rourke, who played with him when he was a drummer with Cherry Hill.

Get The Latest News!

Don't miss our top stories and need-to-know news everyday in your inbox.

Johnny, 43, died June 6 after a battle for his life for more than a month. Johnny suffered injuries in a beating outside a bar prior to his death. The case is being reviewed to see if additional charges will be filed against the two who allegedly beat him.

“Johnny was my brother’s first and only son,” his uncle John Gleason said. “He was named after me actually. He was a real special guy and a phenomenal drummer. I play keyboards and guitar and I played with him in the band Cherry Hill for about four years.”

From an early age, John Gleason said he saw that Johnny had special talent as a drummer.

“Johnny progressed with the drums over the years and got to be phenomenal at it,” John Gleason said. “He loved music. It was his outlet. He did it because he loved playing it.”

Johnny Gleason was a diesel mechanic by trade and was quite skilled in that profession, his uncle said.

Article continues after sponsor message

“Johnny was a happy-go-lucky type of person,” John Gleason said. “He liked to laugh and cut up and was easy to get along with. It is a darned shame this had to happen to him.”

Not long before his death, John and Johnny Gleason played music together in John’s basement. It was something they did frequently and loved doing. John Gleason said he talked with Johnny constantly and they were extremely close. He said Johnny’s death has bothered him more than he could ever express.

Another close friend, O’Rourke, who played bass in Cherry Hill with Johnny as a drummer and also played in two other bands with Johnny.

“He was a good drummer and loved music,” O’Rourke said. “I was shocked at what happened to him and that he died. He was fun loving and liked to have a good time, but he was a good diesel mechanic, too. He is the best drummer I played with around here. What happened to him should never happen to anybody.”

John Gleason said he hopes the two accused of beating Johnny are prosecuted to the fullest and the charges against them are increased with Johnny’s death. A demonstration was held on Wednesday night at the Alton Law Enforcement Building urging additional charges to be brought forward in this case.

John Gleason said he will never see why his nephew Johnny had to go so early in his life.

“They say the good die young,” John Gleason said.

More like this:

Feb 28, 2024 - Marquette Grad Craig Hentrich: From NFL Stardom to Online Coaching Expert

Feb 17, 2024 - "Rockstar Student" Spencer Dickerman is "Go-To Guy" in Vocational Classes

6 days ago - Morrow Acknowledged on Anniversary of Nicholas Morrow Day in Greenville

Nov 23, 2023 - An Act Of Thanksgiving Kindness: Man Gets His Softball Hall Of Fame Ring Back

Mar 27, 2024 - Public Hearing Set: Rezoning Requested For Several Alton Properties