Ron Yednock began bartending at Dick's Den in 1970 and over the years helped create a niche for jazz at the campus-area venue. Will Shilling/Dispatch
A popular bartender at Dick’s Den in the University District credited with boosting Columbus’ jazz scene died on Christmas Day, three days after he was struck by a car whose driver told police she was trying to avoid a bicyclist who ran a red light.
Ron Yednock, 79, of West Norwich Avenue died at Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center. His daughter, Sarah Yednock, said he was walking back from a local laundry when he was struck.
“Everyone knew him as a great believer of jazz music, really committed to creating a space for jazz in the city,” Sarah Yednock said.
According to Columbus police, Yednock was walking in the crosswalk across North High Street from east to west at Patterson Avenue about 4:15 p.m. Thursday. A car driven by Suzanne Robinson, 21, of Clintonville, was turning from eastbound Patterson to northbound High Street.
According to the report, Robinson told police that there was a northbound bicycle on High that didn’t stop for the light. She was watching the bicycle and didn’t see Yednock in the crosswalk. Police cited Robinson for failure to yield.
Yednock was taken to the hospital in stable condition, but his conditioned worsened.
Yednock began working at Dick’s Den, 2417 N. High St., in 1970. Aaron Snyder, one of the bar’s co-owners, said Yednock loved jazz, and while Columbus had many venues for rock bands, Yednock helped create a niche for jazz at Dick’s.
“There was no place for jazz. That’s why he supported it,” Snyder said. “He was a total beatnik, man.”
Snyder called Yednock “probably the greatest mentor of my life” when Snyder began working at the bar two decades ago, when he was a 22-year-old from Nelsonville in Hocking County.
“Amazing, sophisticated, a well-rounded, common kind of man,” Snyder said.
Former Dick’s Den co-owner John Sondej roomed with Yednock from 1968 to 1977 on Norwich Avenue. He said Yednock booked acts during the 1970s and ‘80s.
“We started with jazz on Sunday. He was instrumental in getting some other jazz performers Friday and Saturday,” Sondej said.
Curtis Schieber, who hosts a local radio program and writes free-lance reviews for The Dispatch, said many Ohio State students got their first taste of jazz 20 to 30 years ago when visiting Dick’s Den. “The beers were cheap, the music was great,” he said.
Yednock was scheduled to work on Friday. Sondej said he and others celebrated Yednock’s birthday Wednesday; Yednock turned 79 four days before, on Dec. 17.
Sarah Yednock said her father was planning to throw his annual New Year’s Eve party. In past years, people would stop by his place before heading to Dick’s Den.
“He had many, many friends. He loved to party,” she said.
She said there are no funeral plans for her father, other than to throw that New Year’s Eve party at his house in his honor.