Chapel Hill: Obituaries

Robert Nowell Creadick

R. Nowell Creadick died peacefully at his home in Durham Thursday November 5th 2015 after a stubbornly cheerful battle with cancer. Born in 1942 to Robert Nowell Creadick M.D., and Margaret Brigham Creadick, Nowell grew up in Durham and was educated at Elon and Duke. After a period teaching economics at small liberal arts colleges in Tennessee and West Virginia, Nowell left academe to devote the rest of his life, in one way or another, to his passion: old-time string band music. In the mountains of Appalachia in the early 1970s he joined the folk music revival movement, visiting great old-time musicians to learn and record their tunes. He was always proud to have been the 1974 West Virginia State banjo champ, and to have helped launch the Augusta Heritage Festival there. Returning to North Carolina, he worked as a third-century artist-in-residence, playing tunes and teaching about traditional music across the NC piedmont. Self-taught in instrument repair and restoration and a skilled wheeler-dealer, he opened his first music shop, Hillmusic, in Hillsborough in 1978, and went on to run Oxbow Music in Chapel Hill, a major corner of the triangle music scene throughout the 80s and 90s. In 1988 he married Jennifer Cook, whom he met at violin-making school, and together they have run the Hillmusic Violin Shop in Durham, and raised their family back in the same town where Nowell was born. Across his life Nowell stitched a large, loving, crazy-quilt of family: his parting gift was to bring them even closer together. Predeceased by his sister Anne, he is survived by his loving wife Jennifer, his sister Cathy, his six children who adored him, five grandchildren, innumerable beloved nieces, nephews, and cousins, plus grateful in-laws, out-laws, and exes. Nowell also collected a huge community of fine friends and musicians who, with the instruments he placed in their hands and the tunes he put in their repertoires, will help to keep him in our midst.A funeral service was held at the First Presbyterian Church of Durham, on Saturday, November 07. Nowell was laid to rest on Sunday, November 8, 2015 in the woods at the home of a friend in Hillsborough by friends and family.

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