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H.M. Patterson & Son-Arlington Chapel

173 Allen Road Ne, Sandy Springs, GA

OBITUARY

Kenny Rogers

Passed away on March 20, 2020

On Friday, March 20th, Kenny Rogers passed away at his home in Sandy Springs, Georgia. He was surrounded by his family and died peacefully of natural causes.

Kenny sold 120 million records worldwide, as he transitioned from jazz to folk to rock to, finally, country. At the height of his career, his biggest hits crossed over to pop, which paved the way for many of country music’s most well-known artists today.

At home, he was private and relaxed. He loved and was loved by his family, and was respected by his staff and his crew – his extended family on tour. Some of his favorite restaurants were the Waffle House and any McDonald’s drive-through. He loved to spend time with his boys and liked to joke that, “The Rogers family crest was a TV remote and an unfinished house.”

Kenneth Ray Rogers was born on August 21, 1938 in Houston, Texas. He was the fourth of Lucille and Floyd Rogers’ eight children. They lived in a three-bedroom apartment in the San Felipe Courts housing project of Houston’s Fourth Ward. His mother was the rock of the house but his father was responsible for his love of music.

Floyd played the fiddle and had two brothers who played the guitar. On the weekends, he would pack the kids in the truck and take them to their grandfather’s farm in Apple Springs. The family gathered on the front porch and played Gospel songs. Kenny would play drums with his hands on the old wooden porch. Years later, one of Kenny’s final albums would be a collection of his favorites.

Kenny’s relationship with his mother is best illustrated in a story from one of his brothers. Kenny was at home for dinner during a break from one of his tours. He complimented his mother on her cooking and handed her his plate as if to ask for seconds. Lucille deadpanned, “You might be Kenny Rogers on the road, but right now you’re at home. And at home you’re Kenneth. Get up and get your own.”

Like so many entertainers, Kenny’s talent revealed itself early. He performed at the Texan Theatre at age eleven and formed his first band – The Scholars – at Jefferson Davis High School. He graduated in 1956, and a year after graduation, scored his first hit single: “That Crazy Feeling.” With his oldest brother, Lelan, handling radio promotion, the song earned him a coveted spot on American Bandstand.

His first professional gig was with the Bobby Doyle Trio. Kenny once said he chose to play the bass because there was more demand for bad bass players than there was for bad guitarists. His first success came with The First Edition and hits like “Just Dropped In” and “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town.” While “Ruby” rose on the charts, the band changed their name to Kenny Rogers and The First Edition – a move that led to Kenny’s first solo identity as a recording artist.

Over the remainder of his career, Kenny would go on to amass a remarkable twenty-four Number One hits. He was awarded twenty-one American Music Awards, eleven People’s Choice Awards, ten ACM Awards, six CMA Awards, three GRAMMY Awards, the CMT Artist of a Lifetime Award, the SESAC Legacy Award, the Horatio Alger Award, and in 2013 Kenny was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Beyond his career, Kenny Rogers was a man of many interests. He had a love for charity and a deep camaraderie with his fellow entertainers. He was an accomplished photographer, designer, landscape artist, and a nationally ranked doubles tennis player. He was also quietly spiritual. He liked to say that his mother took him to the First Baptist Church in downtown Houston “every time the doors were open.”

He recorded his one and only Christian album on his own independent record label. At the end of his farewell tour, he remarked, “Not many people get to see the end of the rainbow. But I think I have.”

Kenny is survived by his wife Wanda Rogers; a daughter, Carole Lynne Billingsley; sons Kenneth Ray Rogers II, Christopher Cody Rogers, and twins Justin Charles and Jordan Edward Rogers. He is survived by two brothers – Roy Rogers (Tanya) and Randy Rogers – and his sister, Sandy Rogers, and grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Kenny was preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and Lucille Rogers, and siblings Lelan Rogers, Billy Rogers, Geraldine Houston and Barbara Thuman.

Due to the COVID-19 virus, the family is unable to have a funeral at this time. They hope to have a fitting celebration of Kenny’s life at a later date when more are able to attend. In the meantime, for those who would like to honor his memory with a donation, the family suggests a contribution to MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. The Fund will support thousands of out-of-work musicians, writers, stagehands, and road crew who have lost jobs as concert tours, music festivals, concert halls, and clubs around the world have shut down. The MusiCares Foundation is a non-profit organization established by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Please click on the link below to make a donation in Kenny Rogers’ name.

Services

  • At this time private services will be held.

Memories

Kenny Rogers

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Jennifer Sanchez

April 1, 2020

I am so sorry to the Roger's family for the passing of Kenny Rogers. He was truly a one of a kind person. I love his music and movies but my personal favorite movie is " six pack". He will truly leave a big mark on country music. To Wanda and the twins just always know how much he loved y'all and that he's always with you. He's now an angel from above watching over you. He has finally reunited with the great Dottie West. Rip Kenny say hi to Dottie for me. "Love will turn you around" the best song.

Debra Leonard

March 31, 2020

My deepest condolences to the Rogers Family!
I was very lucky to meet Kenny Rogers in Midland Texas. He was very nice and I was able to tell him about the song I would sing to my Grandson Landon! “Beautiful All That You Could Be”
I have been a big fan for many many years! To the twins May God watch over you two! You are so young to be without your Dad! Make him proud! Rest In Peace Kenny 🙏🏼🙏🏼

Jackie McKnight

March 31, 2020

Because of this 💔 amazing, generous, kind, sweet, caring, special man, Kenny Rogers, 🎶 I have made lifelong friends and memories, Through the Years. You will forever😢 be in my heart my friend, and you have taken a piece of my heart with you when you entered Heaven ❤️. Rest In Peace Sweet Music Man. Sending prayers to Wanda, 💙 Carol, Kenny JR., Christopher, Justin and Jordan, and all the entire 🎶 extended Rogers 🎼 Family, Friends and Fans.

Debra Small

March 30, 2020

Kenny you were an amazing singer. You will be greatly missed. Rest In Peace. Thoughts and Prayers to Wanda , your children , family and friends. ✝

Nia Imani Diarra

March 29, 2020

Your songs will live forever! You picked a fine time to leave us
Kenny, we LOVED you!

Vicki Crumpler

March 29, 2020

Kenny's song "Lucille" was playing the first time I met my husband of 40 years this year (2020). I have loved his music since I was a teenager. 33 years ago he was beside me with my baby daughter in her car seat near the Glenridge Post Office in Atlanta. He rolled down his window to tell me how beautiful she was. Of course, this is a memory I'll also never forget. He was a gentle soul! May God bless him always in His arms!

Sherri Bumbalough

March 29, 2020

My name is sherri, I love Kenny so much and have been in love with him since I was 7 years old and I have seen him in concert 17 times in my life. I have never heard music that touched my heart like his. I love him so much that I even named my oldest son after his son Christopher. I have dreamed of meeting him and getting a hug from him, I cry for him a lot, I can’t explain it, when I heard he was going to retire it hurt me so bad. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, Rest In Peace handsome! I love you Kenny. I would give anything to be recognized for being his biggest fan! Love and hugs for Wanda and the family!

Cathy Fuller

March 28, 2020

My whole life I've been a fan of Kenny Rogers. I got to see him in his last Christmas concert in foxwood.i was ever so thrilled .I was so a love of his music I also love his Kenny and Dolly Xmas music tape.i am so heart broken Rip Kenny you decorated all our lifes.i will always love you .and I'm your lady♥️ prayers too family friends and fans.i love you ♥️

Brad Gagner

March 28, 2020

My deepest and sincere condolences to Wanda and Kenny's entire family on the passing of a true legend. His music was a great influence on my life, ever since I was a little boy. First songs I learned how to sing were from Kenny Rogers albums and 8-tracks. I'm 45 now, but those memories will remain with me, forever.

I will never forget your Christmas shows at the Fox Theatre in Detroit, Caesars Windsor, and especially your Mother's Day concert in May of 2003 when you played in my hometown of Chatham, Ontario, Canada, along with special guest, Billy Dean. My entire family admired you and your music, and you've left behind an incredible and enduring legacy of everlasting memories. The music industry has suffered a tremendous loss -- and so has the public who admired your music the world over.

Thank-you for being a part of my life and leaving a tremendous influence on me. Godspeed, sir. Say Hello to Dottie West too. Together Again!

Turyahirwa Patrick

March 27, 2020

Growing listening his soul music and nice voice is my best moment.even having his video music in my house make easy for me not ever forget his country music.Rest with Angels Kenny.if I happen to have another son in future, will name him both names.Bye Bye ✋✋🙏🙏

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