May 7, 1948 - March 20, 2013
The downbeat of Rich Havens’ life was thrown on May 7, 1948 in Reno, Nevada, and his final performance was on March 20, 2013 at St. Mary’s Hospital surrounded by family.
Rich was given a tin drum for Christmas at the age of 3. He took that tin drum and became the epitome of the professional percussionist. He entered his career at the age of 13, playing percussion for Rosemary Clooney at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. From that day forward, he was successfully engaged as a professional musician for the next 50 years. Rich performed in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area house and relief bands supporting such entertainers as Frank Sinatra, Jack Benny, Dean Martin, Don Rickles, Sammy Davis Jr., Liberace, Elvis Presley, The Righteous Brothers, and Liza Minnelli. He also spent several years in Branson, Missouri performing with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra. At separate times, Rich performed throughout the United States and Canada touring with both Mitzi Gaynor and Diana Ross. In addition, he was a member of the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra, the UNR bands, and the Reno City Band.
Rich graduated from Wooster High School and went on to attend the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles, earning a Bachelors degree in Music. He also attended the University of Nevada, Reno and the Music and Arts Institute of San Francisco. He was a lifetime member of the Reno Musicians’ Union Local 368 and served for many years on its Board of Directors.
Rich spent the last 32 years as a proud and loving father to his only daughter, Amber Havens.
Rich was a student of American History, specializing in the the Civil War and Nevada History. He was an avid golfer and outdoorsman. Camping was one of his great passions, especially with his father, Jerry Havens, and later his daughter, Amber, on the Northern Nevada deserts. He enjoyed exploring the many ghost and mining towns throughout the state, and took much pleasure in his hunting trips with the “Black Hat Gang”, consisting of his close musician friends.
Rich recently wrote and published a book entitled, “Where Did Everybody Go”, which documents his lifetime of experiences and memories of performing with the wide variety of stars and musicians with whom he shared the stage.
Rich was preceded in death by his parents, Jerry and Mable Havens, and his brother, George; beloved grandmother, Edith “Popeye” Armstrong; aunts, Elizabeth (Havens) Hendrickson, Marjorie Hanes, Edna Stodieck; cousins, L. James Higgins and Janet (Watson) Hawkins.
He is survived by his beloved daughter, Amber M. Havens of Sherman Oaks, CA; sister, Barbara C. Havens of Gardnerville, NV; cousins, Marjorie (Martin) Silva, Marjorie Lynn Silva, Walter Silva, Drew Goulet, Savhannah Hicks, Macie Hicks of Lemoore, CA, James A. Higgins of Reno, NV, Jeanne (Stanton) Johnson of Winder, GA, and Dean and Christie Hansen of Manitowok, WI.
A celebration of Life will be held at the Ross, Burke and Knobel Mortuary at 2155 Kietzke Lane, Reno, NV, on Friday, March 29, 2013 at 10 a.m. Anyone wishing to share remembrances of Rich is invited and encouraged to do so at that time. A graveside service will follow at the Masonic Memorial Gardens at 437 Stoker Ave, Reno, NV. A wake will then be held at Rich’s home, 785 Monroe Street, Reno, NV. A viewing will be held at the Ross, Burke and Knobel mortuary from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, 2013.