NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As far back as his sister can remember, Rohn Lawrence was working on playing music, all the way back to the Mickey Mouse guitar at his family home in West Haven.
“They all played together.” said Michele Lawrence. “They played down in my mother’s basement when they were kids.”
A beloved guitarist, Rohn died unexpectedly on Dec. 30 at his Fair Haven home. He was an icon who was born in New Haven and grew up in West Haven.
Lawrence played locally at places like the Foundry Cafe and the iconic Toad’s Place before heading out on the national scene.
Another local musician, Joe Zampano, said he admired Lawrence for his versatility. He played jazz, blues and rock music. Zampano called him an “amazing talent” who played with everyone. Black, white, it did not matter.
“Rohn played with everybody, you know. Some guys ended up not playing music, and then others went on to be famous. Marion Meadows,” Michele recalled.
Jay Rowe, another accomplished local musician, met Rohn at a young age.
“We both were students at Educational Center for the Arts here in New Haven on Audubon Street. That’s where we met. He and I played together for the last 42 years,” Rowe said.
Pictures and guitars were on display at a public viewing at Toad’s Place. A private viewing was held earlier Monday evening.