[Article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Thursday, August 21, 1997. Section B, page 5.]
Charles H. Wofford, who organized memorable parties at his antique ship, The Blind Pig, and came to be known as Johnny Rio, died Saturday, August 16, 1997, at his home from a heart attack. He was 60 and lived in St. Louis.

Mr. Wofford was born in Forrest City, Arkansas, in 1937, and was reared in Widener, Arkansas. In 1951, he joined the Navy in Springfield, Ohio, where he was released with an honorable discharge in 1952.

Mr. Wofford came to St. Louis in the late 1950s, where he supported himself by drawing caricatures on Gaslight Square, the entertainment center of St. Louis at the time.

He honed his partying skills at the Dark Side Bar before organizing his own social events at his home, where he and his then-wife, Pat, sold bric-a-brac.

Eventually they moved to the Central West End and opened The Blind Pig, an antique store, where the restaurant Balaban's, is today. The store thrived in the hippie years with clients such as Tina Turner and Chuck Berry.

"We had special events called Midnight Madness Sales where everyone and anyone would come in to party and buy stuff," said Pat Wofford Rio. The couple later divorced.

Johnny Rio was Mr. Wofford's artist name, which started out as Juan Rio, she said. The name, blind pig, with a logo representing a pig with dark glasses, comes from a play by the same name.

Cole Wofford of St. Louis recalled, "My father would always have a this parties a whole pig roasting over a fire."

Four years ago, Mr. Wofford married his second wife, Rebecca Rio, also an artist.

The funeral was held Wednesday afternoon at Kutis Funeral Home. Burial was scheduled for Mount Hope Cemetery.

Among the other survivors are two sons, Johnny Wofford and Adam Wofford, and a daughter, Shannon Wofford, all of St. Louis.

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