Cotati man killed in crash wanted to change perception of motorcycle clubs – The Santa Rosa Press Democrat

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” resonated with Curt Ogden so much, it became his favorite song to sing at karaoke.
It’s about a man reflecting on his relationship with his mother and her advice that troubles come and go, and that he should follow his heart and find enjoyment in the little things life has to offer.
“It represented him and he learned how to sing it really good,” his wife, Cari Ogden, 57, said as she played a phone video of her husband performing the song.
Gathered at his home in Cotati on Friday, Curt Ogden’s loved ones reminisced about the 53-year-old carpenter, father and grandfather who was killed in a March 20 motorcycle crash on Bicentennial Way in Santa Rosa.
Their stories paint a picture of a man who, despite his imposing outward appearance, was a kindhearted and devoted family man and friend, more inclined toward tranquility than discord.
“He was capable of taking care of himself. (But) he just chose peace first,” Rohnert Park resident Ron Ogden, 52, said of his older brother.
His loved ones smiled widely as they shared memories of Curt Ogden, who was a Spokane, Washington, native with an affinity for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, motorcycles and music.
He was not only good with a guitar, family members said, but also on the mic.
“Back vocals or lead vocals, he did it all,” Ron Ogden said, prompting smiles from the other relatives in the room.
The smiles were quickly replaced by tears, though, when the reminiscing turned to the tragic events of March 20.
Santa Rosa police say Curt Ogden was participating in a charity ride with dozens of other motorcyclists when he lost control of his Harley Davidson and crashed into a light pole.
Investigators are searching for a dirt bike rider who may have played a role in Ogden’s crash before he sped away from the scene, officials have said.
The dirt bike rider’s direct involvement in the crash that killed Ogden is being investigated. Authorities have not confirmed witness accounts that Ogden was forced off the road when the dirt bike rider popped a wheelie.
On Monday, more than a week after Ogden’s death, a makeshift memorial composed of flowers and photos of his smiling face still surrounded the light pole on Bicentennial.
The photos reflect the way Ogden looked in other images and videos his family showed a Press Democrat reporter and photographer.
A video of his “Simple Man” performance gave way to other clips of him excitedly preparing to skydive and smiling as he held his grandson during a boat ride.
Loved ones told stories of his generosity, such as the time he casually approached a neighbor struggling to park a camper trailer. Unfazed, Ogden took the keys and moved the trailer to a safe spot.
He’d often head out to help someone, come home and act like nothing ever happened, his relatives said, adding that he was also an organ donor, who continued to help others even after his death.
“He was so humble. He would help so many people. He never bragged about it. He would just move on,” Cari Ogden said of her husband.
Curt Ogden co-founded a motorcycle club named “The Good Ol’ Boys North Bay” to reflect its members’ good nature and squash negative perceptions of such groups.
“He wanted to change the way people looked at motorcycle clubs,” said his 26-year-old daughter, Cheyanne, of Guerneville.
Terry Thurman said she first met Ogden and other members of the club at the American Legion Post 21 in Santa Rosa 10 years ago.
A U.S. Air Force veteran, Thurman said Monday that her first reaction upon seeing them was, “Oh my!”
But, it wasn’t long before she realized, “The Good Ol’ Boys” were hardly troublemakers. After all, they were meeting with her to discuss fundraising efforts.
“As soon as they opened their mouths, you could tell they were not like that at all,” said Thurman, the Legion’s club room manager, finance officer and adjutant. “They looked a little rough, but they’re gentle giants.”
Thurman held back tears as she recalled Curt Ogden, who eventually became a friend and was dedicated to raising money for local veterans.
“He was one of the leaders (of the club) and he was involved in every aspect that needed to get done, but the whole group of ”The Good Ol’ Boys“ was there,” she said.
A celebration of life for Curt Ogden is scheduled for 3 p.m. April 16 at the Friedman Event Center in Santa Rosa.
Ogden’s family anticipates a large crowd of attendees given his involvement in fundraisers and penchant for helping people every chance he got.
“That’s a given right there. Couldn’t find a better person to work with or be friends with. He was an amazing man,” said U.S. Navy veteran Richard Jones, who serves as president of the Sonoma County Vet Connect and commander of Disabled American Veterans Sonoma County Chapter 48.
You can reach Staff Writer Colin Atagi at [email protected] On Twitter @colin_atagi.

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