HESSTON — Every Saturday morning, Hesston resident Bob Scheid can be found playing the drums — a hobby he started as a child and continues to enjoy at the age of 90.
“I basically started playing for money in the eighth grade,” Scheid said.
It was during his eighth grade year that Pearl Harbor was bombed, taking many of the young men who were musicians in his hometown of Chicago Heights, Ill., off to war.
“The supply of musicians went down and the demand for music went up,” Scheid said.
Scheid and his friends began to get offers of gigs from the local bars.
“Of course, we were too young to be there, but this was Chicago — they bend the rules in certain situations — so we were employees,” Scheid said.
Scheid earned a degree in metallurgical engineering and started working for Union Carbide Corporation in 1951. He would spend 35 years with the company, heading up operations in the United States as well as Italy, Brazil and the Philippines and taking a break to serve for two years in the U.S. Air Force in Japan. He spent 10 years as a real estate agent in Colorado before retiring to Hesston in 2008.
As his life progressed, Scheid’s faith and involvement in the Presbyterian church grew, though he experienced grief along the way. His first wife, Sally, died in 1975 after 24 years of marriage; his second wife, Bonnie, died in 2016 after 40 years of marriage.
Scheid still takes his Slingerland drums to play regularly at venues around Newton and Wichita.
Scheid plays with Jazzplay, a jazz quartet and vocalist, from 10 a.m. to noon every Saturday morning at R Coffee House, 1144 N. Bitting Ave. in Wichita. Jazzplay can also be heard from 7 to 9 p.m. June 26 at Moxie’s, located at 1420 Old Main St. in Newton.
Scheid said he appreciates getting to make music with people who are several decades younger than himself.
“It’s a lot of fun at my age. All my life, it’s been good therapy,” Scheid said. “Anybody in music, particularly young people coming along, I tell them, ‘Don’t ever give this up.’”