I’ve been putting this off for several days because I never realized how hard it would be to write something that would actually befit a man that words couldn’t even come close to describing. I questioned my eloquence, my intellect and my worthiness of having the opportunity to call Ken “Mr. K” Glidewell my friend.
Everyone will go on about what a wonderful disc jockey he was on 102.7 FM -WEBN or how the music he made with bands like “Big in Iowa” created a huge fan base for local music. That he was probably the godfather or favorite “uncle” to Cincinnati’s local music scene and the unauthorized “Mayor” of Hamilton, OH that touched so many people that it would be an insult to try and name them all.
This was all true and yet Ken was so much more… Ken Glidewell was the most wonderful man anyone could ever aspire to be and one that I decided to model my chaotic life after. Although he wasn’t the wealthiest man in the world, he was “Rich” with desire to change the world by reaching out and helping a fellow human being. “Rich” with love for his family and friends. “Rich” beyond your wildest dreams with a sense of humor and a laugh that was so contagious that you laughed just because he was laughing…you didn’t even have to know what he was laughing about and you would be rolling in the aisles. He wasn’t a religious man but you always seemed to think that he was right with God because he went through life with the “Grace” and “Tolerance” of a Saint or at the very least the compassion of one who knows God.
I had the fateful chance of meeting Ken in my early days at 700WLW while getting my ass kicked on the radio by Gary Burbank on a regular basis. (The WEBN Studio was in the same building) We would occasionally talk about the local music scene and what shitty food the sponsors of the show would bring up. No matter where I was, if he heard my voice you knew what was going to resonate from his mouth…”COME ON ROCCO” filled the hallways and it always made me laugh even if I didn’t feel like laughing that day. Those words will always fill my heart as they did the hallways.
On a drizzling Saturday afternoon following a tailgate party that “Big in Iowa” was playing and I was doing promotional massages, (don’t ask…or even go there) I had the fortunate experience of walking with Ken (in the rain) to our cars. He told me that “Big in Iowa” was going to be playing out that night and that I should come out and see the band. In my mind, that really wasn’t the fortunate experience… while it was raining on us; Ken never said anything about the rain, not even “hey it’s raining” or “I wish I had an umbrella”. I know you think I’m wacky or something for mentioning this but it illustrates how unaffected he was by the things he couldn’t control, he dealt with it humorously and moved forward and was genuinely interested with what I had going on, when I knew for certain he had much better things to think about, that was Ken’s magic…he always made you feel like you were the only person in the world.
I couldn’t imagine how much pain he must have been in when the EMS people were airlifting him to the hospital but again without missing a beat he had the fortitude to joke with them answering a question about how he felt with “I’m 50 years old, I’m fat…and a motorcycle fell on me…how do you think I feel?” That’s Ken. Always comedy in front of tragedy.
One day I get a call from Ken and with that great voice he bellows, “Rock, I’m too fat. Can you help me out?” I almost pissed my pants with laughter. I told him, “I couldn’t wait to kick his ass” The very next day, he got his ass kicked and every other day after that for about 3 years. It got to the point that I would get pissed at him if he couldn’t train; not for health reasons but for my own selfish reasons…I just missed him and his perspective. He always had a way of showing you the better side of yourself and making it worth your while to be in his presence. Just by standing next to him you could become a better person.
It’s very rare you come across someone who you can say without reservation, “I Love You”, without hesitation, call a friend, a brother and a mentor in life. I thank God everyday that I was allowed to call Ken Glidewell my friend. I know his influence will live in me and the people I touch. Abby (Crab), Casey (Crab, jr.) and Jason my heart, love and affection will always be with you.