TAYLOR MILL - Robert W. Roden, better known as "Housewine" Roden, was a traveling bluesman who shared his love for the blues and jazz around the world. Playing in the award winning band, Lloyd Jones Struggle, a duo called the Texas Tenors and other bands, his hot licks on the tenor saxophone earned the respect of fellow musicians and fans alike.
"He loved the road, eating bad and staying up late – and he was really good at it. He made it an art form," said Lloyd Jones, leader of the band from Portland, Ore.
Mr. Roden died of cancer Monday at his home. He was 62.
He was the only child of Betty Lee and Robert R. Roden. He grew up in Taylor Mill and graduated from Simon Kenton High School in 1967. He studied music at the University of Kentucky, Louisiana State University and the University of North Texas.
Along with the tenor sax, he played the flute, clarinet and piano. He was also a composer and music arranger.
During his career, Mr. Roden performed with artists including, BB King, Bonnie Rait, Dr. John, Earl King, Charlie Musselwhite and Robert Cray. He traveled internationally, performing in Europe, Canada and became a fixture in the blues scene in the Pacific northwest.
"He was a brilliantly talented guy who played so well," said fellow musician Greg Warner of Phoenix, Ariz. "He was funny and a very trusting person. He didn't have a hidden agenda. You could always count on him to be himself."
Several of Mr. Roden's friends said he lived a simple, relaxed life. He took things as they came and knew how to diffuse tense situations with light-hearted humor.
"Bob lived life 200 percent and always made you smile," Jones said.
He retired from the professional music scene in 1997, returning to Northern Kentucky to help care for his mother who was ill. He took a position with Transitions Inc. drug treatment center. He enjoyed playing with the Northern Kentucky University Jazz Band, Symphonic Winds and barbecuing with friends. He became a mentor to young musicians and easily put on the mantle of teacher to help them learn their craft.
His friend Joan Whitney of Taylor Mill said she received an email from one of his proteges saying, "We learned the music, but he taught us the groove and the soul."
Burial will be 2 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30, at Evergreen Cemetery, Southgate. A musical tribute will follow at 5 p.m. at the Skyline Tavern, 430 Johns Hill Road in Highland Heights. Connley Brothers Funeral Home, Latonia, is handling arrangements.
Memorials: Robert Roden Memorial Scholarship Fund, any Bank of Kentucky location or 2648 Bryan Station Lane, Crestview Hills, KY 41017.
Online condolences to www.connleybrothersfuneralhome.com.
Published in the Kentucky Enquirer from Jan. 27 to Jan. 28, 2012