Kurt Cobain’s grandfather, Leland Cobain, passed away in Montesano, Washington yesterday, May 29, 2013, at the age of 89. After Kurt’s death in 1994, Leland took up the torch for his grandson, creating a shrine to Kurt at his home in Montesano. He became a fan favorite, as he was always willing to visit with fans and share his memories of the little blond boy who grew up to be a rock star. He will be very missed. (See the videotaped interview with Leland below.)
Leland appeared at the dedication of a statue in Kurt’s honor in 2010. The statue is in the shape of one of Kurt’s guitars, and is located at a new park by the lonely bridge at the outskirts of Aberdeen that Kurt memorialized in his song, “Something in the Way.” I spoke to him on the phone that afternoon and he said, “The ceremony was real nice; the statue was really nice and so is the park there. A lot of people came, maybe 75-100. People came from all around, Canada and Sweden.”
Aberdeen photographer Darrell Westmoreland told me today, “I have talked to him many times; he would come in to a camera shop in Montesano that a friend of mine owned to get this head shot of himself printed all the time, because people always were always requesting a photo of him. So I asked him if I could take a picture of him, he said yes, and we walked over to a sign that said ‘Welcome to Montesano’ as you came into town. So I made a new image of him to give away. The image I’m sending you was at the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park Dedication a couple years ago. I ask him what he thought of Kurt’s music, and he said as he laughed, ‘I did not like it much.’ He became a Celebrity after Kurt died. Always a nice man.”
Notes on the Cobain family
Leland was the last of six children to pass away. His father, Arthur Cobain, was born March 19, 1889 in Ellensburg, Washington State. The Cobains were of the earliest settlers in Washington. Arthur had six children with his wife Grace. One son died before 1930, and at some point they moved to Montesano. The five surviving children were Burle, Kenneth, daughter Hazel, Ernest and Leland. Arthur was the Deputy Sheriff of Montesano and accidentally shot and killed himself in a bar in Markham in 1938 while grabbing for something in his pocket.
Ernest had a fatal aneurism in the 70s from falling down stairs while drunk. Burle and Kenneth tragically shot themselves in suicides soon after, leaving Hazel and Leland as the only surviving siblings.
Hazel married Rolf Lyse and had three children in Aberdeen. She died several years ago, leaving Leland as the Cobain patriarch. (Read full story of the Cobain family roots here) Leland had three sons. Our condolences to the Cobain family for their loss. Leland will be missed.
Gillian Gaar also just reported that the famous “Come As You Are” sign that you see when driving into Aberdeen, erected as a tribute to Kurt, might be coming down. We sincerely hope that doesn’t happen.
Copyright notice-©Shelley Germeaux 2013: This article and photos are subject to copyright restrictions and may not be reproduced without the author’s permission. Excerpts with link to original article are welcomed.
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