April 25 1928 – August 4, 2017 Remembering Ralph Lewis

Remembering Ralph Lewis (April 25 1928 – August 4, 2017) was born in Madison County. Ralph was a member of Easter Gap Baptist Church and was the founding member of the original bluegrass gospel group, “Land of the Sky Boys”. He was raised in a musical family with his brothers, who were already established musicians. Ralph became an electrician at an early age and wired many of the homes in Madison County. He joined the Navy in 1951 and his naval career included re-commissioning the USS Hancock in San Diego and serving as a musician in his band, The Hancock Ramblers. He attended his 70th Navel Reunion in 2016 where he performed for his shipmates. After the Navy he resided in Detroit, Michigan where he performed with the Sauceman Brothers and several other talented musicians from Western North Carolina. He was employed in the Auto Industry before moving back to Marshall, NC to start Madison County’s first heating and cooling business. Ralph and his family moved to the Enka area where he established Lewis Refrigeration Company, which has serviced businesses in the Asheville area for over 58 years. Ralphs musical career was always part of his life and took him around the world with Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys in the 70’s, after which he returned to play musical dates in Western North Carolina with his two sons, Marty and Don, in the widely loved band, Sons of Ralph. He had lifelong musical and professional friends.

About the author

I enjoy researching Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and Country birthdays, anniversaries and interesting trivia dates. I am a piano/organ performance major who has taught privately and served as church accompanist since 1968 in North Carolina and Central Kentucky. Although classically trained, I appreciate all genres of music. My mother, who was also a church musician and taught public school music grades K-12, knew that Bluegrass music was the purest American music. She always introduced her students to this fine genre and began my musical studies with her at age 2. Bach to Berachah Valley, Mozart to Jimmy Martin, Sibelius to Stanley Brothers, the list goes on, I hope you find some moments of enjoyment and learn a few interesting facts along the way.
I am thankful for the many resources we have at our fingertips including Google. FaceBook and BluegrassBios by Wayne Rice. It was he who inspired me to tackle the task of trying to pass on knowledge about Bluegrass music. Thanks Wayne~!
Lou Ellen Wilkie

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