Always A Gentle Giant – Rest in Peace

Posted: August 10, 2016 in Opinions and Observations
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday I heard that I lost another great friend and musical partner.  My sister called me last night to tell me there had been an accident and she did not have a lot of details, but a great friend of mine died yesterday.  I mentioned Ric Ahlers in my blog posts before.  He was the guitar player/vocalist in the first real band I was in called The Personal Touch.  He co-authored with me one of my favorite songs I called “For Those Who Wait“.  (With music it was titled: “Our Bodies Move“).

Ric was my brother-in-law and was looking for a keyboard player to start a duo to play locally and out on the road.  Though I had only dabbled with piano and was mostly a rhythm guitar singer-songwriter, he gently persuaded me to join him.  Then for about three months he patiently guided me as I learned not only how to play keyboards (not just piano, but all the other sounds keyboard players are responsible for), but also a bunch of popular cover tunes for the first time.  He was way ahead of me as far as knowledge and talent (I try to take my own advice and play with musicians that are better than me!) and had played out before.   We also played our original songs as part of our normal set list.  He had more confidence in me than I did, but I guess that is a familiar story to my blog readers.

We started as a duo and played local clubs.  We had a full sound as we both sang (as well as we could) and I played my 12 string guitar and the keyboards and later programmed drum machines.  He played lead guitar and also controlled a drum machine with an accompaniment triggered by his  bass pedals that played bass and added filler strings and piano chords.  We could play anything from classic standards to Jimi Hendrix tunes and fit into a very small space.

He sat while playing guitar and kicking his bass pedals.  He stood over 6 foot 10!  Some people would come up to shake his hand after a tune and jump back as he stood up to talk to them!!

He was as tall sitting as I was standing and it really surprised people and caught them off guard.  I would have to warn him about low ceiling fans at hotels and lobbies!  We added Ann Ellis as a vocalist and traveled around the county as a trio in his van.  THOSE WERE THE DAYS!

Life is not always easy but Ric was always a gentle giant.  With a heart just as big, he climbed back up if he got knocked down, and carried you on his shoulders if you could not keep going.  He is also family and we will all miss him and are stunned by the sudden loss of a great man in many ways.

  1. Tikeetha T says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss Mike. I’m praying for you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Prayers to you and the family. sigh…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pleasant Street says:

    I’m so sad that you lost your friend. Thank you for sharing him with us. I hope his music gives you all comfort now that he has gone

    Liked by 1 person

    • midimike says:

      Thank you. It has been my intention in this blog to share some of the great people I have had the privilege of knowing and working with. Ric got me out of the living room and on the road. No one else could have done that. Listening to his songs now. Thank you again for understanding.


  4. How wonderful that he had the patience to mentor you as a musician. So sorry for your loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Susan Scott says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of this great loss to you, your sister and family Mike. All condolences to you all at this terribly sad and shocked time. May his musical soul rest in peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alexis Rose says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute you have written to honor Ric.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. theresa kennedy says:

    that was beautiful Mike thanx

    Liked by 1 person

  8. othermary says:

    Condolences to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. JC says:

    You have my condolences…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. So sorry for your loss and thinking of you at this time.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Amber robinson says:

    What a wonderful statement. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Patrice says:

    So sorry for your loss My thoughts are with you and yours

    Liked by 1 person

  13. niasunset says:

    I am so sad to hear your loss dear, rest in peace your friend. Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Nicole says:

    So sorry to hear about your loss, but what an honor to have a friend like you in his life and vise verses. This was a beautiful post. Prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. michnavs says:

    My condolences..for the longest time i cant find you in my reader..

    Liked by 1 person

  16. tmezpoetry says:

    Just read this- Sorry Mike 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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