A number of family members and friends gathered Sunday evening and yesterday in Council Bluffs, IA to remember and honor the life of Richard (Dick) Zion. We were greeted by live old-time – in this case mostly gospel music as we walked in, which was such an appropriate reflection of what was important to him. Dick had entwined himself with bluegrass and old-time music for many years in this area (and many other places) – from playing in bands, hosting a radio show “Country Roots, Today”, jamming at the Acorn Feed Store in Council Bluffs, and in his later years hosting another regular jam – “Jam and Bread” at the Trails Center near the Mighty MO – also in Council Bluffs. The local Great Plains Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association lives on today from his early involvement. If the music around here was old-time/bluegrass Dick had probably touched it or highly influenced it in some way.
Most importantly, from the comments shared during and after the memorial, Dick had touched the lives of people as much or more than the music. With his constant smile he encouraged so many to pick up their instrument and get started or “come on over and play with us”. No one was left out. I personally remember being in the audience for at least one radio show, doing some production in the studio for him, meeting him many times at area bluegrass and old-time music events and meetings, and enjoying some fresh jam and bread at the Trails Center. Just recently Dick and his friends helped me with a project I was doing for my own family. My mother had found some recordings made by my late aunt that we were attempting to compile. Along with conversations with their parents (my grandpa and grandma) were a number of songs my aunt had played on the piano. (I didn’t even know she played such great ragtime!) There were several songs we didn’t recognize, so I contacted Dick and he said he’d be glad to help out. After sending copies to him he shortly got back to us with all of them correctly identified. So we thank him and anyone else he may have consulted.
So Dick, you’ll be missed by a host of people here and around the country. As you touched so many, may each of us inventory how we spend our days – being mindful that we will give an accounting of the talents and opportunities graciously given us by our Creator.