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Ronald "Ron" Alan DeWitte

July 29, 1949 February 16, 2018
Ronald "Ron" Alan DeWitte
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Obituary for Ronald "Ron" Alan DeWitte

Ronald Alan DeWitte died on February 16 of pancreatic cancer. Ron was diagnosed with this disease in May of 2014 and fought courageously and without ceasing, inspiring all who knew and loved him.

Ron is survived by his wife, Lynne Rothrock of Cedar Rapids, daughter Jody Jensen (Scott) of Cedar Rapids, son Michael DeWitte of Long Grove, IA, brothers Craig (Cedar Rapids) and Rick (Scottsdale, AZ), grandchildren Nolan and Evyn DeWitte of Cedar Rapids, IA, former wives Jeanie Russo Young and Chris Krumbholtz. He was preceded in death by his parents.

Ron was born in Cedar Rapids on July 29, 1949 to Bernard and Cleo DeWitte. He spent the first years of his life growing up on a farm near Vinton and moved into the city when he was in 5th grade. From a very early age, Ron knew that he wanted to play the guitar. He was introduced to guitar music through early television shows and enjoyed listening to transistor radios under his pillow at night. His parents purchased him a guitar and he took lessons at Boddiker’s School of Music.

Ron graduated from Jefferson High School in Cedar Rapids, but while still in school he began his professional music career. He was often on the road with bands playing at ball rooms and clubs around the Midwest. He played with many bands including The Tremelos, American Legends, Wheatstraw, Headstone, Linn County Band, Bob Dorr’s Blue Band, The Blues Crew, The Swingin’ Doors and others.

Ron was a mainstay of the Midwest music scene for over 50 years. He was inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame and is a four-time inductee into the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Ron has also played for the Follies, Theatre Cedar Rapids, SPT Theatre, Divapalooza, Bluesmore and headlined his own show with Blues Hall of Fame members. He also worked at West Music Company for 19 years.

In 2005, Ron married vocalist Lynne Rothrock and they began a great musical collaboration. Together they performed many concerts at the Opus Concert Cafe, The Giving Tree Theatre, their annual Christmas Cabaret, venues in Des Moines, Minneapolis and Nashville. They recently shared the stage with Vince Gill and the Time Jumpers as well as Michael Feinstein. Together they worked as headline entertainers for Holland America Cruise Lines and had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii, Australia, the Caribbean, Mexico, Iceland, India, South America and South Africa. In spite of all the travel opportunities, Ron was happiest in his cozy home with his beloved Malti-poos, Maggie and Lindy, who preceded him in death but are undoubtedly by his side now. He was enormously proud of his children and grandchildren and loved nothing more than spending time with family and friends drinking beer around a fire. Ron was an incredibly gifted musician, yet remained very humble. He was respected and loved by his fellow musicians and was known for being an incredibly soulful player with an especially beautiful tone. Every note seemed to come directly from his heart. Ron was very grateful to all the musicians he worked with over the years as these relationships helped weave the fabric of his life. He was also grateful (and a bit surprised) at the countless fans that supported him by coming out to hear him play in a variety of venues.

Ron spent the last four years of his life dealing with the treatments for pancreatic cancer. He faced each, often torturous step with an unfailing desire to keep living. His tremendous courage and desire to keep fighting were nothing short of heroic. During this time, he received the gift of being embraced with love, prayers, kindness and generosity from so many people, and was amazed and humbled by this. Ron’s family expresses their gratitude to all who helped along this journey and shared their love and appreciation for Ron and his music. His life was a gift and a blessing to all who knew him.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Ron’s family would like to extend their thanks to the healthcare providers at Hall Perrine Cancer Center, Mercy Hospice and especially to Dr. James Howe at UIHC.

Memorials may be directed to Ron’s wife, Lynne Rothrock, with plans to honor his love of music and animals in the future.

To send flowers or a remembrance gift to the family of Ronald "Ron" Alan DeWitte, please visit our Tribute Store.


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