Memorial cruise this July to honor late auto enthusiast Ed Kazlauskas

Published 11:40 am Thursday, March 3, 2016

With hearts still heavy from the recent passing of Ed Kazlauskas, Curt Rohdy plans to host an “open header” cruise for classic car enthusiasts this July in honor of his friend.

Rohdy, who owns Curt & John’s Brake & Alignment, co-chaired the Rod & Roll Classic Auto Show of the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce with Kazlauskas for several years.

“Two of Dowagiac’s biggest car buffs, Eddie and Curt put their hearts and souls into growing the classic auto show to nearly 250 entries,” said Vickie Phillipson, Chamber of Commerce & DDA program director. “During the early years, Ed, owner of Jim D’s Body Shop, and his wife, Susan, owner of The Marshall Shoppe, headed up the event, later teaming up with good friends, Curt and his wife, Deb, who owns Bow Wow Bakery & Bath.”

The open header cruise is being planned for Thursday, July 28, and will coincide with the performance by Sixth Generation,  a member of Michigan Rock & Roll Legends Hall of Fame.  Phillipson said the concert, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Beckwith Park, is being underwritten by Huntington Bank, as part of the Downtown Development Authority’s summer concert series.

“When we learned about the memorial cruise for Ed, we thought a legendary rock and roll band would be the perfect entertainment to top off this memorial cruise for Eddie,” Phillipson said.

The Sixth Generation had its first hit in 1967, which propelled the young band to the forefront of the local music scene and beyond.  The band’s song, “Livin’ in a Small Town,” which was released last year, was in the Top 5 on Billboard’s Hot Singles chart for 12 weeks, culminating in the second position, behind the Rolling Stones’ 50 year anniversary re-release of “Satisfaction.”

The open header cruise is something Rohdy and his friend had talked about doing years ago, but never got to before Ed’s passing.  “Proceeds from the memorial ride will be donated to one of Ed’s charities in his honor,” Rohdy said.

Details on the ride will be released as final planning takes shape.  In the meantime, Rohdy said classic auto enthusiasts who would like to participate in the event, can contact him for more information at (269) 782-2524.