Ronald Howard Kickasola of Hickory, NC, known as Papa K to his grandchildren, died of brain cancer at Baptist Hospital on June 30, 2020.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy Kickasola and family: Samantha Earp (David McMullen) and grandson Iain McMullen; George Earp (Karen) and grandchildren Justin and Claire Earp; and Margaret Cowie (Bob) and grandchildren Robbie and Emily Cowie.
Ron grew up in Miami, attended the University of Miami, and played in the Miami Symphony. After college graduation, he turned down a job offer from the Boston Symphony, instead deciding to pursue music on his own as a guitarist and singer. During the 1960s, he was the lead act at the Flick Coffeehouse in Miami, followed by travels around the US with various music groups. In the 1970s, he returned to orchestra playing and attended graduate school at Appalachian State University and the University of Kentucky. In 2003 he retired from Hickory High School where he taught orchestra, humanities, English, and ESL for many years. Ron was a gifted multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who moved between the folk music scene and classical music. He was a lifelong lover of literature, history, art, and poetry, and a scholar of Arthurian legend in particular.
He will be remembered by the family in a private celebration of life. His wife Dorothy shares that he was the love of her life for over 40 years; to her, he was the we in me.
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