Friday, December 14, 2018

Robert Cadwallader (1959-2018)

My friend Robert Cadwallader was killed in a car accident on Saturday, December 8. His SUV went off a rain-slick county road and hit a tree head on. He suffered multiple injuries and was pronounced dead on the scene.

Robert had left his job as a reporter for the Fort Worth Star Telegram -- for whom he covered local politics in Mansfield and Arlington as a freelancer from 1991 and was hired full-time in 2010 -- after suffering a stroke late in 2017. I had re-connected with him last spring and was trying to encourage him to go to the gym and to practice playing the piano (which had been part of his post-stroke rehab). I was going to call him on Monday. Never assume a next time.

I met Robert in 1997, when I was going to Dallas three times a week to sit in with bands whose leaders I knew. He was playing keys with Tiny & the Kingpins, a fun party blues and R&B band led by singer/harpman Kevin Lovejoy. He also played with James Hinkle, who during their 20-year association became the most legit blues act in Fort Worth, so I was kind of in awe of him. But Robert was a modest, humble, almost diffident cat, although he was a natural blues player (who'd started out playing heavy rock a la Deep Purple), and he very kindly agreed to help out with a couple of my bands. You can hear Robert on five James Hinkle CDs, and one James and Betsy's daughter Claire Hinkle released early this year.

Robert was an incredibly generous cat, and I owe him more than I can ever repay. When I was out of work, and when I was struggling as a freelancer, he bought me lunch every week at Benito's on Magnolia or No Frills Grill in south Arlington. It was he -- or his wife Denise Lands, whom he later divorced but who was by his side helping him recover from his stroke -- who first suggested that I try writing about music for money when I got canned from RadioShack. Thanks for everything, pal.

I will miss this gentle soul, and wish his loved ones peace and comfort.


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