My father passed away this weekend and left behind a pretty extensive group of friends who all loved him dearly. I wasn't prepared to deal with a lot of the challenges and grief that you face during these times but I was sure of one thing. I knew that my father's love of music had to be shared with others.
He grew up experimenting with a number of instruments and loved making a racket with all of them. He never received any formal training and certainly never became accomplished at any of them but that didn't deter him. As a young man he worked in a sheet music store in downtown Chicago. A few years back he shared the stories with me about selling music to band members who were playing the local bar scene at the time. I honestly never realized that's how people connected with music and learned the songs. It was during a lunch break from this job that he wandered over to the Woolworth's coffee bar and met the woman who would become his wife and my mom. Not long after they were married a family soon followed. As I grew up, he set aside his musical aspirations to raise our family. Looking back I wish I learned more about those big old cases tucked away in the closet. He was a regular at church and volunteered to sing in the choir. Honestly, I was surprised by it and as a young man a little embarrassed because he didn't carry the greatest tune. I knew that he loved performing and he even tried his hand at performing arts. It wasn't until later in life, after raising us kids and my mother passing away that he pulled out the big old cases again.
To my surprise he had a tenor saxophone and a clarinet at the ready to pick up and play again. I had never seen him play and the fingers were certainly a little rusty but he was trying to regain that old magic. He played these instruments because as he said "string instruments are just not my style." What, my dad had a style? That was news to me! I was happy he was back at it but I didn't have the refined appreciation for his craft. Over the years he lost the ability to blow into those instruments and took back up singing in the choir. We also looked at getting another instrument for him. He had been goofing around with an electric keyboard and told me he wanted something a little bigger. Ok I thought to myself, like what? Well, we went to a music store and right there stood a Thomas organ. He told the owner to pack it up "we' would take it and to see his son who would pay for it. The joke was on me for sure but for almost the next 9 years he performed on it whenever his health would allow him. I guess I got what I paid for....his love of music.
Please help continue to share the gift of music in my father's name. Charity Music is doing its best to put instruments in the hands of people of all ages who can't afford them. Since securing nonprofit status in 2005, Charity Music has provided instruments, sheet music, records and training materials to at-risk and disadvantaged youths, college students, senior citizens and veterans through several programs.
Memorial donations would be appreciated and may be sent directly to:
Many of you know him as "Papa Dean" and recognize him by his contagious smile and his hearty greeting of "how you doing pal?" Maybe you met him at church, Starbucks, Walgreens, while he was a volunteer, as a neighbor, or at a care facility. We are saddened to share that he passed away on the morning of May 4th, 2014 while attempting to recover from a stroke in early March. The stroke left him with severe paralysis on his right side and he was working with occupational, speech, and physical therapy to return to his prestroke self. He fought valiantly and with the help of all of your prayers and well wishes was making small strides in the right direction. He graced us with 88 years of joy, happiness and kindness.
Join us in celebrating his life on Friday May 9th, 2014 10:00 am until Noon (10-11 Visitation and 11-Noon Service) Olinger Hampden Mortuary Chapel 8600 E Hampden Ave. Denver, CO 80231
"Papa Dean" will be laid to rest in the Garden of Gethsemane in a private gravesite ceremony immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers we kindly request donations be made to the music charity we feature below. He loved music and would like the joy of music to be passed on for generations to come.
Please help continue to share the gift of music in Papa Dean's name. Charity Music is doing its best to put instruments in the hands of people of all ages who can't afford them. Since securing nonprofit status in 2005, Charity Music has provided instruments, sheet music, records and training materials to at-risk and disadvantaged youths, college students, senior citizens and veterans through several programs.
Charity Music of Colorado www.charitymusic.org Upper left corner, link to Dean Rodney Jones page See his story on the same page - Dean Rodney Jones
Checks can be mailed to Charity Music inc 40736 Hayes Road Clinton Township, MI 48038