Nov 21, 1948 – January 15, 2019 Remembering Les Sears

Photo courtesy of Ted Lehmann

Les Sears left this world January 15, 2019 in Okeechobee, Florida at the Yeehaw Music Festival, doing what he loved best. He suffered a massive heart attack and passed quickly.

Les and his wife Gladys lived in Rich Creek, VA. Gladys passed away in January 2017. They had been married 46 years. They had 7 children, 16 grandchildren, and 18 great-grandchildren. He retired in 2005 as a U.S. Postmaster after serving 28 years, employed Apr 1977 – Mar 2005. Les was living in Virginia in the summer and was in Arcadia, Florida for the winter.

Les was born into a musical family and named after the great Lester Flatt. Both sides of the family sang and played string music as a pastime. Les played guitar, bass, piano and even the accordion.

He enjoyed being the MC at Chantilly Farm and many other events, and DJ/Host at The Bluegrass Jamboree internet radio station. Les was a member of Keepin’ Time Band, a group of talented multi-instrumentalist musicians from southwest Virginia that simply loved to play music, primarily Bluegrass with Mike McGuire- Banjo, vocals; Jason McGuire-Bass, vocals; Gary Hager- Dobro, vocals; and Les Sears-Guitar, vocals.

Les’ last appearance on stage.
Photo courtesy of Ted Lehmann

Les did quite a few voice characterizations, with Wolfman a regular on his show, and has entertained folks for years. He has performed with several groups and attended IBMA and SPBGMA each year and was seen jamming with other performers. He was also an International Extra Class Amateur Radio Operator with a call sign of K4HYE.

Les Sears
Les at Chantilly Farm
Photo courtesy of B Chord Photography

He enjoyed Bluegrass, had an extensive collection of music and was considered a historian of the Bluegrass genre. He was going on 14 years as a radio DJ. He was also instrumental in the development of the WWB online channel that was founded in February ’06 by Gracie Muldoon and supported for ten years by the listening faithful and volunteer staff. Les joined The Bluegrass Jamboree in 2015 and his show aired every Sunday evening from 6-8 PM EST offering a “Heaping Helping” of great Bluegrass and his Southern Hospitality!
Les was also Past Master Masonic Lodge, Past Secretary of Lodge, and President of GARA, Giles Amateur Radio Assn.

His favorite quote was “This too shall pass.” May your tremendous influence, your shared knowledge, commitment to your country and music, your love of family, the joy you shared, the many untold acts of kindness always be felt in our hearts and your memory never pass away.

Nancy Jordon posted: So sad to hear of the passing of our good friend Les Sears. We enjoyed his visit and stay with us here in Melrose Fla at The Pickin’ House last year. He was so gifted with music and knew so many in the music field. We also enjoyed his radio show on The Bluegrass Jamboree. We are so sad and will sure miss him here in Fla but he is with the Lord and was a strong believer and that brings so much peace. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to his son Lester and his family.
Listen to Les playing Red Wing at a jam in Ray Sponaugle’s home in Newton Falls , Ohio, 08-20-11. Performers are: Les Sears- guitar, Ray Sponaugle- fiddle, Ferrell Nottingham-banjo, Cheryl Garrett-mandolin, and Danny Garrett-second guitar

His last post on Keepin’ Time Band wall announcing his show, January 6 at 12:10 PM:
DJ / Host Les Sears has a Fantastic Show lined up for you today! Coming to you today from Beautiful Arcadia, Florida……Today’s show includes lots of brand new music…(some yet to be released) Please share and get the word out about the great Bluegrass on the BG Jamboree! Here is the link to download the Jamboree APP.. …See you there!

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