Peter V. Kuykendall, Passed Away

Pete kuyKendallPeter V. Kuykendall (aka Pete Roberts) 79 of Warrenton, VA passed away on August 24, 2017. 

He was born on January 15, 1938, in Washington, DC, and was a resident of Northern Virginia area all of his life except for a short period as a child when he lived in Nashville, IN. He graduated in 1955 from Washington and Lee High School, Arlington, VA.

In his early career, Pete was a disc jockey on various radio stations including WFCR, Fairfax, VA, and WKIK, Leonardtown, MD, and served as chief engineer at WKCW, Warrenton, VA.

As a multi-instrumentalist, he played in several bands, including Benny and Vallie Cain, the Country Gentlemen, Red Allen and Frank Wakefield, and made guest appearances with Bill Clifton, The Stanley Brothers, and Bill Monroe, to name a few. He was chosen as the National Banjo Champion in 1956.

He received an Associate Degree in Applied Sciences from Capitol Radio Engineering Institute and worked at the Library of Congress Recording Lab , Electronics Wholesalers, and as a technical director at WETA-TV.

In the early 1960’s, Pete ran a recording studio recording such bands as the Country Gentleman, Red Allen, Frank Wakefield, Bill Clifton, Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Reverend Robert Wilkins, Benny and Vallie Cain and Pete Pike. In 1962 he established a music publishing company, Wynwood Music, which concentrates mainly on blues and bluegrass songs. His biggest published hits are : “The Prodigal Son”, recorded by the Rolling Stones; I’m So Glad,” recorded by Cream and Deep Purple; and “I Am Weary (Let Me Rest)” and Hard Time Killing Floor Blues”, which were on the soundtrack for the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou”.

He was a cofounder of Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine in 1966, taking over as full-time Editor and General Manager in 1970. This magazine is the leading periodical dealing with bluegrass music. He produced the Indian Springs Bluegrass Festival from 1972-1981 which was considered to be one of the premier early festivals.

Pete was one of the founding members of the International Bluegrass Music Association, the national trade association for bluegrass music. He served as the founding chairman and was a member of the Board of Directors for 13 years, with a repeat term as Chairman and was elected to the association’s Hall of Honor in 1996. He is one of the founders of the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY, where he served as a member of the Board of Directors for several terms.

He is survived by his wife Katherine “Kitsy” Kuykendall; three children, Glen Kuykendall, Ginger Kuykendall Allred and Sharon Kay Kuykendall McGraw; four stepchildren, Katherine Orrico, Karen Plante, Carolyn Dutrow and Joan Sykora; eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, Aug 29 from 3-5 & 7-9 PM at Moser Funeral Home, 233 Broadview Ave., Warrenton, VA where funeral services will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 30 at 10:00 AM. Interment will follow at Stonewall Memory Gardens, Manassas.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the International Bluegrass Music Museum, 117 Daviess St., Owensboro, KY, 42303 ( or to the International Bluegrass Music Association Trust Fund, 4206 Gallatin Pike, Nashville, TN, 37216.
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