Pelican Group supremo Richard Scherer called him “one of the greats,” and a ton of long timers in the Oakland Bay Area of California would agree. He was Rich Silla and a guy some thought would go on forever. But he passed just one day after celebrating his 95th birthday.
In times gone by, Rich and his brother Joe owned and operated Silla Music out of Oakland. Their route reportedly ran something like 200 jukeboxes and 100 pool tables. They sold out to TD Rowe in 1990 (TD Rowe itself was ultimately bought by the Pelican Group).
Silla and Scherer’s father Jay were close friends for many years, so it made sense that the departed operator spent years consulting with the Pelican Group after he and Joe sold their business.
Said Richard Scherer: “I always considered Rich Silla my second father because he taught me how to waterski when I was eight years old. He had a warm and welcoming personality and his location customers just loved him,” he declared.
Apart from his Silla Music work, Rich Silla devoted himself to the old CMMA (California Music Merchants Assn.) run for a long while by AMOA founder George Miller (a Bay Area music operator himself). Rich and his wife, Gail, were high school sweethearts and were together for over 70 years until her passing seven years ago. Now he can catch up with her. May he rest in peace.