Dr. Tom Bibey passes

Dr. Tom Bibey, author of The Mandolin Case, passed away on Sunday following a lengthy struggle with cancer. He was a prolific writer on things bluegrass, with his own web site, Stories of the Bluegrass Music Road. He had also been a contributor to The Bluegrass Blog.

Bluegrass folks knew him as Dr. Tom, but Bibey was a pseudonym he used in the music world. His given name was Bobby Jones, and his medical patients knew him as Bob, Jr. His father had also been a medical doctor in western North Carolina, and Bob, Jr. continued his dad’s tradition of the “country doctor,” seeing patients outside of office hours, and treating them for what they could afford to pay.

Dennis Jones, technical director and bluegrass radio host at WNCW, was a family friend, and offered this lovely remembrance.

“His love of bluegrass, it’s community and culture ran as deep as mine. Bob’s band, Flint Hill, included Earl Scrugg’s brother Horace on guitar. They played in Studio-B many times, even sharing tracks for our fundraising CDs.

Bob loved playing at jams and on stage, playing golf, doing charity work all over, and going to music festivals. He thrived and reveled in being part of the bluegrass world; seeing him at a large festival and working the crowd was uplifting to me. His counsel was a great treasure to me and his family a Blessing.

His dear wife Marta, children and now grandbaby were the center of his life. He was a true family man, and his love of God first and foremost was what Bob was about.

The bluegrass community has lost a passionate man who cared deeply about its future, and took time to mentor young pickers like the Moore Brothers. I’ll miss his phone calls and FaceBook postings on Sunday mornings most I think. His encouragement was priceless. That, and his broad smile and wonderful laugh.

I’ve lost a brother, but I know one day we will be able to laugh together again and visit with the bluegrass heros we talked so much about.”

R.I.P. Dr. Tom.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.

  • David Morris

    Doc was a special man. He had a pair of red high-top sneakers that he wore when he first got sick. He called them his dancing shoes. I wore a pair of the same shoes in his honor. Now I’ll wear them in his memory. I’ll also cherish the two-dollar bill he gave me in change when I bought his book. Every time I think of Doc, the song Long Journey Home pops into my head (“Lost all my money but a two-dollar bill”). Today, that song has a special meaning. Doc’s long journey is over. He’s home. RIP, buddy.

  • Lynwood Lunsford

    Very sad news. I always enjoyed Doc’s perspective on Bluegrass. My prayers and condolensces go out to his family and friends.

    • Tom Williamson

      Very saddened by this news. I enjoyed The Mandolin Case so very much. Tremendously talented and compassionate man with a huge dose of integrity to boot. So few like him around anymore. My sympathy to his family and loved ones.
      RIP, Doc.

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  • don

    Very sad to hear about the Doc. I got to meet Doc in very unusual way,in fact I never knew of him. But we were both awaiting surgery in Charlotte NC.We did not speak at this time. But the next day I met him while we were discharge awaiting elevator and then at the discharge landing. We spoke bluegrass,me being a novice at best and he was an expert,he spoke of musicians, and we talked about Merle fest. He told me about his novel and I
    purchased it the next day and it was great reading. Our time was very short but he just had that cool gentle mojo,one of those rare folks you meet in life that leaves such a lasting impression,that you felt meeting was not just a coincidence.