One of Roger Chenoweth Jr.’s goals in life was to make his family, friends and even total strangers happy. In death, thanks to those who were touched by him in some way by sports, motorcycles and family, he continues to do that every year on the weekend of his birthday, July 13.
Chenoweth Jr. was born in Arbutus and lived in Catonsville during his adult years. He died suddenly at the age of 51 on Dec. 21, 2009.
He left behind his daughters, Shannon Giannini and Melissa Edmonds, his sons, Roger Chenoweth III and Todd Chenoweth, six grandchildren — and a whole lot of memories.
Those stories were flowing -- along with the beers -- at G.L. Shack’s Grill in Catonsville on July 12 for the 5th annual Roger Chenoweth Jr. Memorial Ride.
The event was spearheaded by his sister, Annmarie Burmeister, and his daughter Shannon.
“My brother loved his family, he loved his friends, he loved his Baltimore sports teams and he loved his motorcycle, so we just threw that all together and this is what we ended up with,” said Burmeister, who lives in Pensacola Beach, Fla. “He would be so happy that this is what we do on his birthday.”
The event includes a bike ride to several of his favorite watering holes and this year’s ride featured approximately 35 bikes.
There are door prizes and raffles to raise money for brain cancer research and the Purple Pride radio show is broadcast live by host Bill West from 9 to 11 a.m.
Captain Dee-Fence was also there to spread Baltimore Ravens’ fever.
“This event is not so much about raising money,” said Burmeister, who was the bar manager the first year G. L. Shack’s opened in 1993. “It’s about celebrating his birthday the way he would celebrate his birthday.”
Burmeister and Giannini who also worked at Shack’s as a hostess, barback and waitress, until she went in the Navy with Burmeister at age 18, are also part of Team G Force, which started in honor of Shannon’s husband Mike Giannini, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor on the day of her dad’s wake.
Mike Giannini died at age 36 just 14 months later.
“We do this event, and for the National Brain Tumors Society, we do the Race For Hope 5K every year in D.C.,” Burmeister said.
Team G Force has 100 members and said it has raised close to $90,000 in three years.
“We did it while he (Mike) was still alive,” Burmeister said. “The first year he walked as a survivor.”
The Roger Chenoweth Jr. Memorial has raised about $2,000 each year, family said.
Those who come to socialize, watch sports or ride wouldn’t miss it, especially Gary Waesche, who met Chenoweth while playing nine-man flag football in Woodlawn.
“If I ever had a twin, it was him,” said Waesche, who is married with five kids.
Waesche grew up in Woodlawn, but has moved to Ocean City.
“Today is mine and my wife’s anniversary and his birthday, and every year I know I am coming up here for this,” he said. “You can celebrate your anniversary before or after. I can’t miss this. I come up here to be with Pop (dad Roger Sr.) and Marge (Roger Jr.’s mother) and his sisters, his sons, his daughters and friends, plus I get to come back to Catonsville and hook up with everybody too.”