Robert Thomas Ridder Jr.
Sept. 5, 1944 - March 31, 2022
Robert Thomas Ridder Jr. passed away peacefully in his hometown of Newport, Kentucky on March 31, 2022 at the age of 77. He was a loving father, grandfather, auto enthusiast, bad joke teller, Reds fan, and rock and roll musician who played it right.
Rob first started playing piano when his parents Betty and Robert Ridder Sr. gifted him a piano and lessons at age 5, after which he quickly gained a disdain for classical music. Rob would turn to a sound more akin to the likes of Boston, Steely Dan, and The Doobie Brothers in his years touring with his band, Amazing Grace. Rather than wait for sheet music to be released for, in his words, “the Granny’s Afternoon Tea Around the Fireplace” version of popular songs, Rob would transpose popular songs by ear into band arrangements.
After graduating from Newport Catholic High School in 1962, Rob joined the U.S. Coast Guard Reserves during the Vietnam War and — in his words — “defended the shores of the Ohio River from enemy forces.” He later graduated from Eastern Kentucky University in 1971 with a degree in business.
Somewhat paradoxically as a rock musician in the ‘70s, Rob hated anything by The Beatles pre-Sgt. Pepper, perhaps as a result of being asked one too many times to play a cover of “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” And please, don’t get him started on The Rolling Stones.
Rob was married to his first wife, Ilene Brent, for seven years. After marrying his second wife, Nancy Ridder, in 1979 and starting a family, Rob cut his hair and began a career as a pharmaceutical drug salesman in Tucson, Arizona. The family moved to Brentwood, Tennessee in 1993. Rob later moved to Smyrna, Tennessee and retired in 2010 after 19 years with Novartis. He spent his last years close to family in Northern Kentucky.
Throughout his life, Rob supported his children as a baseball and softball coach, as part of the pit crew in his sons’ high school marching bands, and so much more. He will be dearly missed.
Rob is survived by his children Joseph(Angie), Lauren, and Kevin Ridder; his brothers Rick and Ray Ridder; and his grandchildren Benjamin, Jacob, Andrew, and Anthony Ridder. The family is planning a private celebration of life at a later date.