Walter Ben Kendall Junior, father of founding GREAT WHITE guitarist Mark Kendall, has died at the age of 77.
Commented Mark: "I just want to take a moment to share with all of you what he meant to me as my father. Without the support system that he built within my family, I wouldn't be who I am today.
"When I was nine years old, my dad bought me my first guitar, which was an acoustic Spanish guitar. He noticed I didn't take the gift lightly, because I would play it every day for the next year. When it got close to Christmas, I told him I really wanted to get an electric guitar and an amp. He told me that he was sorry but that it had been a really rough year and that he didn't have the money to be able to afford to get me the guitar and amp. 'Maybe for your birthday,' he said. On Christmas morning, that year, I walked out to the Christmas tree and there my new guitar and amp sat. I'll never forget his smile. I was so surprised!
"My father grew up in a very musical family and was very skilled at playing the jazz trumpet. I am very lucky to have been his son, because without his musical background, I would not be where I am today. Not only did I have the gift of music in my blood, but my father was so supportive of my decisions when it came to music. I was always encouraged with such a great father in my corner.
"Growing up, I played baseball from the ages of seven to eighteen. Not one year went by that he wasn't either my coach or my team's manager. He would always brag to his friends about how many hitters I struck out, or home runs that I hit and I always took away confidence from my father which helped me build character over the years.
"I will never forget my dad. He means the world to me, and I am going to miss him very much. I am thankful to carry on his love for music, sports and the importance of family to my own children. I know he is at peace.
"I love you, dad!"
Mark Kendall's longtime GREAT WHITE bandmate, singer Jack Russell, has posted the following message on his Facebook page:
"I am very sad to hear of the passing of Mr. Wally Kendall, the father of my former bandmate Mark Kendall. His passing leaves a hole in my heart.
"I have known Wally since 1978, when Mark and I started playing together, and over the years he became part of the GREAT WHITE family.
"I had just sent an e-mail to Mark a few days ago wishing his father and family well, as I heard he was sick. I told him I had found numerous photos of his dad and us at the 'House Of Broken Love' video shoot, along with my mom and dad. Sadly, now both our families are gone.
"Wally Kendall was a wonderful man and an accomplished musician (horn player) in his own right. He had a great sense of humor and was great to have around.
"I have many fond memories of Mr. K, as I called him. He had a firm handshake and a warm smile and you could tell he was honestly glad to see you. He had bright blue eyes that glowed with pride when he watched us play, especially when he was watching his son Mark; he was so proud of him. I remember during concerts looking over and seeing our folks together watching the show, just beaming with love and pride for their kids. It was magical, and the memories I will always treasure.
"My heart goes out to Mark and his family as well as my prayers. As for Mr. K., I love ya and we'll meet again one day, God bless you and keep you."