A Tribute to Jeff Cavender
By Mike Parsley
The NNBA community and the Northern Nevada community in general recently lost a good man.
Jeff Cavender passed away unexpectedly on Thursday, August 8th. Jeff was a member of the NNBA for more than 15 years. He served on the board of directors, served as editor of the NNBA newsletter, and was a regular at numerous classes, workshops, concerts, and special events. Jeff always wanted to support the organization, but more than that, he wanted to support the people of the NNBA who give their time, energy, and resources to organize and lead the various activities.
Jeff played guitar and mandolin, and taught ukulele lessons to some kids of family friends. He approached playing music with his typical desire for perfection, and he was always working to improve his technique and his sound. Dave Stover, Jeff and I got together, sometimes with other friends, and would practice the songs and tunes over and over, trying to get them right. We could always trust Jeff to give us honest feedback and critique with support and encouragement. It’s rare to find that kind of trust and friendship, and I really miss that.
Jeff always looked at things from a different, intellectual perspective, and he had a great sense of humor. Those two traits made him an interesting guy to talk to. And if you spent a few minutes talking to him about a particular subject, you’d come away feeling like you learned something.
Jeff and I shared a few other common interests. We both rode Harleys, and went riding several times. He was a hell of a good rider, a good road partner, and a trustworthy wing man. And I’m going to really miss that.
We also both liked a couple of the same TV shows, and it was always fun to talk on the phone the days after those shows and discuss the action. I’m really going to miss those talks.
Jeff was married to his lovely wife/best friend Becky for 34 years. They met when he came into the restaurant that Becky managed, and Jeff soon began working there. That was in 1977, and two years later they married.
I don’t believe that there has ever been a more humble human being, and Jeff was uncomfortable talking about himself, but as friends and acquaintances, you should know a few other things about him. Jeff attended the Naval Academy, and was very proud of that. I didn’t attend the Academy, but I am a Navy veteran, and we liked to swap “sea stories”. Jeff was also a great fly fisherman. He was a part owner and manager of the Reno Fly Shop, and he co-authored a book on the best fly fishing spots in Northern Nevada.
Jeff and Becky are the owners of Sweets Handmade Candies, with two locations; Reno and Truckee. Their chocolates and candies are some of the best you will ever taste. (The Valentine’s Day Heart I got my wife last year was one of her favorite Valentine’s presents.)
Jeff was also a welder, and he worked part time as an instructor at the TMCC welding shop.
In our lives, we occasionally meet that rare person who has an unwavering sense of right and wrong, and an incredibly strong moral compass. That was Jeff, and I will always remember that about him.
I’m a better person for having been friends with Jeff. All of us who were fortunate enough to know Jeff Cavender are very lucky. Godspeed, my friend. You are missed.
Welcome to the website of the Northern Nevada Bluegrass Association. Our organization is dedicated to promoting and preserving bluegrass, old-time, traditional and related folk music, acoustic music from a common American heritage.
The NNBA recieves support from The Nevada Arts Council, a division of the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
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