Posted 02 September 2006 - 11:39 PM
Obituary from the KC Star:
Ronald James Rooks, 54, of Kansas City, MO, passed away Monday, August 28, 2006. He died at work, surrounded by the music that he loved. Ron was born July 28, 1952 in San Mateo, CA but moved to K.C. when 2 years old. He was preceded in death by his father Donald Wood Rooks, mother Joyce Marie (Stackhouse) Rooks, aunt Irene (Stackhouse) Hetrick and uncle Gilbert "Bud" Hetrick. Ron is survived by Nancy, his wife of 33 years; son Kelsyn D.S. Rooks and wife Amie and grandson Kelsyn D.S. Rooks, Jr. of Overland Park, KS; and daughter, Kristyn J.O. Rooks and future son-in-law Richard Colon of Kansas City, MO; brother Donald W. Rooks and wife Lynnette of Raymore, MO; niece Natonya Pasley of Denver, CO; and nephew Donald W. Rooks III of Kansas City, MO. Ron attended Francis Willard grade school, Paseo High School, and graduated from Lee's Summit High School. He got his BA in Communications from UMKC. In 1979, a few years after leaving the Water Department over "refusing to cut his hair", Ron decided to take his career into his own hands and scraped together enough money to buy The Music Exchange in Westport. This was also convenient because it gave him a place to move all the "extra" records he had been hiding from Nancy. For 27 years The Music Exchange stayed true to providing the people of Kansas City and of the world an amazing place to buy, sell, or just talk music. It was a sad day in February 2006 when The Music Exchange closed the doors in Westport, but Ron and many of his staunchest supporters felt it would rise again in its new home in the West Bottoms. With his passion for music, and so many talented friends, it is no surprise that Ron's band, Three Businessmen, was assaulting this city for almost 30 years. With his alter ego altering between Skoor Nor and Redondo Flats, Ron brought his odd sense of humor and political commentary to light with lyrics performed to frenetic but often inspired music. One needed to catch the show early in the night for the true glimpses of genius, for as the evening went on the songs had a tendency to get drawn out and more likely to offend the weak-hearted. What Ron lacked in skill and training he more than made up for in enthusiasm, and over the years many musicians asked him to sit in with them. Husband, father, businessman, writer, musician, and friend, Ron touched so many people in his life that he will never be truly gone. To help us reflect on and celebrate the life of Ron Rooks there will be a visitation and a memorial jam. The visitation will be held at the Muehlebach Funeral Home, 6800 Troost, Kansas City, MO on Friday, September 8, 2006 from 6 to 9 p.m. The memorial jam will be at 3 p.m. Saturday, September 9, 2006 in the Valentine Room at the Uptown, 411 Valentine Road, Kansas City, MO. Memorial contributions can be made to the Coda Jazz Fund, P.O. Box 412116, Kansas City, MO 64141-2116 which provides for final financial assistance for all musicians. (Arrangements: Muehlebach Funeral Home, 816-4442060).