Robert H. (Bob) Lapham was born February 4, 1935 in Abilene, Texas to his late parents Loren and Gladys Lapham. He had one brother the late Bill Lapham, formerly a major business consultant.
He graduated from Abilene High School in 1953 and entered Texas Tech University at Lubbock, Texas. He met fellow-student, John Pickering in 1954, when both worked as check liners at First National Bank of Lubbock.
An aspiring actor and singer, Lapham had the lead role in "Good News," Tech's major annual Broadway style musical. John Pickering saw the production and liked his baritone voice. It was that connection that brought Bob Lapham to the Picks trio.
Following the Holly overdubs of 1957, Bob served in the Army and after discharge in 1959 entered the oil supply business at Wichita Falls, Texas, where he met his wife, Mary. They were married in 1960, and moved to Abilene, Texas, later moving to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.
As aspiring writer while at Tech, Lapham went on to become a talented word craftsman and entered the newspaper business in 1965. He was successful in that profession until his retirement in February, 2000. As a sports writer, he was named UPI's 1969 Sportswriter of the Year and won third place in the AP's contest the next year. Overall, he worked for papers in Brownsville, Harlingen and Abilene, Texas in various editorial capacities, including sports editor, news editor, features editor and, in his final capacity, arts and entertainment editor for 13 years.
Lapham lettered in golf at Texas Tech, and continues to play amateur golf competitively, including state senior match and medal play tournaments.
A licensed pilot, he formerly flew his own plane, a 1963 Piper Cherokee 235, but no longer is active, retiring from flying with almost 400 hours.
Bob wrote and published a book in 1973 entitled, "Twenty Years Of Life Begins At Forty - The Story of A Unique Golf Tournament".
September 22, 2002, Bob was honored at a reception at the Abilene Texas Public Library. The reception honored Abilene authors with books published in the year Sept 2001 – Sept 2002. In 2001, Bob Lapham wrote and published "What Made Wyatt Urp - The Life and Times of Toad Leon...a biography" as told by his family, his friends, and the man himself.
In 2003, "The Wild Blue...And Family Too" By Buster Bridges, as Told to Bob Lapham, was published.
In 2003, Bob released a new book entitled "Meet Me at the River Buddy Holly". "Bob uses his 1957 summer spent as a member of The Picks when they sang on Buddy Holly's records as catalyst for this intriguing and enlightening first novel."
In 2009, Bob published "Ethan's Keys" and continues in his writing career.
Bob occasionally does some backup singing produced by his son, John Mark Lapham, who has had a long association with England's musical group The Earlies.
Bob and Mary have 3 children - daughter, Cindy Bellamy, and sons, Lance and John Mark Lapham. They have one grandchild, Victoria Rose Bellamy. Cindy is a nurse; married to Gary Bellamy and Lance is a travel agent. They reside in the Austin, Texas area. John Mark is a recording engineer and computer music composer, spending much of his pursuit in Manchester, England.
Fans of Bob were sad to receive the word that he died on April 4, 2018.
Obituary of Bob Lapham
Bob Lapham, 83, the last surviving member of the 1950s pop and rock 'n' roll vocal group The Picks, died on April 4, 2018. A memorial service and interment will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 7, 2018, at First Central Presbyterian Church, with Dr. Clifford Stewart and Dr. Janice Six officiating.
He was born Robert Hoy Lapham on Feb. 4, 1935, to Loren Robert and Gladys Marie Hoy Lapham in Abilene Texas. He graduated from Abilene High School in 1953. He attended Texas Tech University, fall, 1953 to spring, 1958, studying engineering, business administration, and speech and dramatics. He was a Tech varsity golf letterman in 1953-54.
He married Mary Parker Garren of Wichita Falls on May 7, 1960, in Abilene. After spending six years in oil field supply with Continental EMSCO in Wichita Falls, Snyder and Abilene, he entered newspaper writing in 1966 as sports editor of the Brownsville (TX) Herald. He later worked for papers in Harlingen and Brownsville, was director of sports for The Brownsville Herald, Harlingen Valley Morning Star and McAllen Monitor, and finally sports editor for the Abilene Reporter-News. He gained four statewide AP and UPI writing awards, including sportswriter of the year for UPI in 1970. He was sports editor, news editor, special features editor and arts and entertainment writer during a 25-year span at the Reporter-News that began in 1975. He retired in 2000.
Lapham became a member of The Picks in 1957. The trio also included the late John and Bill Pickering. They were best known as the surreptitious voices of The Crickets on nine early Buddy Holly recordings, on which they arranged and sang the backup vocals that would help generate an estimated 52 million Holly records, LPs, tapes and CDs worldwide.
Over the span of 30 years, he wrote five books - "Twenty Years of Life Begins at Forty - The Story of a Unique Golf Tournament," a history published in 1973; two commissioned works - "What Made Wyatt Urp," the biography of C.D. (Toad) Leon (2001); and co-wrote "The Wild Blue...And Family Too," a biographical novel based upon the life of a retired Air Force officer- B-47 pilot (2008).
"Meet Me at the River Buddy Holly," his first attempt at a novel in 2003, was partially and factually based upon his days as Holly's backup baritone, a job that was taken over by the late Waylon Jennings when Lapham and the Picks split in late 1957. They reemerged in 1984 to overdub their voices on mostly obscure early Holly recordings. His last book, the novel "Ethan's Keys", was published in 2009.
He was a former volunteer on the chaplain's staff at both Middleton and Robertson prisons. He was a former private VFR pilot.
Lapham is survived by his wife, Mary; of the home; a daughter, Cindy Bellamy and her husband, Gary, of Round Rock; sons Lance of Lincoln City, OR and John Mark of Abilene; granddaughter Victoria Bellamy of Round Rock; sister-in-law Barbara Lapham of Naples, FL and Harbor Springs, MI; nieces Katie Lapham Andrews of Brooklyn, N.Y. and Lauren Lapham Krieger of South Pasadena CA; together with grand-nephews Jacob and Teddy Krieger; and grand-nieces Beatrice Krieger and Norah Andrews; and several cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his beloved younger brother, Bill.