Robert James Carson
April 10, 1948 – December 1, 2020
“Bob” to those who knew him best, Robert James Carson passed away on or around Tuesday Dec 1, 2020. Never tethered nor tied down, fittingly his final residence at 72 was his 36’ sail boat you’d often see him traversing the windy San Francisco bay in.
Bob was a musician, achieving local notoriety in the 60s with his Redding, CA bands Trakstod and Concrete Arch. His creative output extended more than 50 years, as he wrote, sang on, or played guitar or bass in a plethora of styles, genres, in the studio, and on the road, settling into a groove in his 50s and 60s as a fine jazz guitarist. His other work was as varied as was his life, from his sign painting business Castle in Los Angeles, to recording other groups, and teaching new generations of budding musicians, most notably at the guitar studio he taught at in Portland, OR. He was usually the most vibrant person in any room, laughing and joking with a magnetic charisma. He was a person who was just fun to be around, and the relationships he built through friends and community were as important and familial as his actual family.
He loved his siblings, his brothers Pat, Dave, and Kit, and sisters Cathy, Shirley, and Alice. He married three times. With his first wife Ella, he welcomed his first daughter Amber when he was 23. At 29 and with his second wife Bette, he welcomed his second daughter Leah into the world. He married Katherine in 2005, and was married to her until the day he died.
His grandkids may have seen the best of him. He never lost his playful side as he got older and connected with younger people in a real and lasting way. His hobbies were also varied and all which he excelled intuitively at, from songwriting to building guitars, basses, or amps; to sailing, painting, walking on stilts, and studying astronomy; to the simple joys of juggling or riding a unicycle, the latter two skills he made sure to teach his kids, as any good father would. It’s hard to quantify when someone so vital is no longer with us, and anyone who knew him are sure to have many stories that highlight that vitality, but also his creativity, playfulness, rebellious streak, political activism, or a memorable dirty joke he told. He was an artist, through and through.