July 13, 1940 – April 6, 2015 Remembering Jerry Williamson

Remembering Jerry Williamson (July 13, 1940 – April 6, 2015), long time bluegrass musician and noted audio engineer. A WV native, he had been part of several popular bands, including Red Wing and Outdoor Plumbing Company. Jerry began running sound at bluegrass festivals and has been heralded as an important figure in bringing high quality audio as a regular component at bluegrass events. Jerry had performed on both bass and reso-guitar, and is remembered by friends and fellow musicians for his good humor and positive attitude. His generosity and assistance to young musicians was legendary, as was his willingness to mentor young players in the ways of professional audio. He also left behind a number of original songs in the bluegrass catalog, many recorded by top figures in the music.

GERALD ROBERT “JERRY” WILLIAMSON, 74, of Huntington, W.Va., was received by the Lord, April 6, 2015, at Jo-Lynn Health Center in Ironton, Ohio. He was born in Huntington on July 13, 1940, to the late Gerald “Gurley” Williamson and Eulah Ward Williamson. He was a member of the Kenova Church of Christ. He graduated from Buffalo High School in 1958 and attended David Lipscomb College in Nashville, Tenn. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he returned to the area and worked for Huntington Alloys from 1969–1972, he served as minister of the Williamson Area Church of Christ. He was also part owner of Giovanni’s Pizza in South Williamson, Ky., until 1977. He is best-known for his contributions to bluegrass music. A founding member of the notable bands, Outdoor Plumbing Company and Redwing, he was also a highly-respected audio engineer. Jerry performed on bass and Dobro and sang baritone. His assistance to young musicians was legendary, mentoring pickers who went on to play for nearly every top band in the genre. He also left behind a number of original songs in the bluegrass catalog, many recorded by top figures in the music. He was preceded in death by his wife, the former Elaine Holman and a son-in-law, Christopher LeMaster. Gerald is survived by his son Gerald Kevin (Debbie) Williamson of Murfreesboro, Tenn., and daughter Kelley (Mark) LeMaster-Workman of Prichard, W.Va.; two brothers, Ted (Carol) and Daniel (Rebecca) of Kenova; five grandchildren, Melody, Kadence and Caroline Williamson, Ethan and Caleb LeMaster; three step-grandsons, and many nieces and nephews. He is also survived by his cherished companion, DeAnna Darby of South Williamson, Ky. A celebration of his life will be held at Ceredo-Kenova Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Ceredo, W.Va., on Thursday, April 16, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. for visitation and jam session, 6 to 7 remarks, 7:30 to 8:30 stories, pickin’ and hugs. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to WV Down Syndrome Network at dsnwv.org or Bluegrass Heritage Foundation at bluegrassheritage.org.

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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