Ed “Beanpole” Efaw passes

Longtime Ohio-based musician/singer/songwriter, Edward “Beanpole” Efaw, 92, passed away on January 17. He had led The Bluegrass Mountaineers for more than four decades before retiring.

His son, Larry, shared, “I couldn’t ask for a better dad. He loved us all and we loved him. He was a faithful Christian. He loved his bluegrass music and every one of his friends and fans.”

Larry shared a little musical history.

“Dad started the band in 1963, and I started at age 10 in 1968. We were together side-by-side for 45 plus years.

My dad played a pivotal role in bluegrass music in the eastern United States and Canada. He had seen so many musicians come into the band. Each and every one became family, no matter how long they were there. 

People admired my dad and looked up to him, not only because of his music, but because he was a great person. He played music until being on the road was just a little too much for him, but he continued to write songs and always asked about how our shows went when we would be out for the weekend. Our family is very sad and heartbroken, but we feel very fortunate that we had him for so long. We want to thank everyone for the calls, texts, and prayers. Dad might not be here with us now, but we know him and Mom are in heaven waiting on us.”

Former banjoist with the Efaws, Chris Smith, shared…

“When I heard the news, I shed quite a few tears, and then got a big smile on my face thinking of him. Northeast Ohio bluegrass fans lost someone who played a pivotal role in our music, and more importantly, was a great man. I can only imagine the smile Dora Efaw had on her face when Beanpole walked into heaven. I remember them walking around at bluegrass festivals, holding hands, laughing, and thinking to myself how solid and picture-perfect they were together. They sure loved each other and their family unconditionally. Carris, Larry, Shirley, Doris, Lola, and Patti, and all the grandkids, I can’t tell you how sorry I am. So many miles, so many great memories. The stage act that Beanpole and I had made thousands of people laugh, that was both of our goals. Bean loved to see people laugh, and so did I. Nothing was ever planned. It was all off the cuff comedy. I never heard him say a sour word about anyone, unless it was about me.

He wrote a song called The City of Gold. How lucky he is to see it! We weep, but he is in paradise. 

In 1986, at 13 years old, Beanpole asked me to fill in for Ron Dawson at the Mercer County Coonhunters. My dad and I loaded up and headed to Pennsylvania. Beanpole pulled in in an old school bus, and I thought boy oh boy, I have hit the big time! Shortly after, Ron Dawson retired, and thus started a lifelong friendship. The entire Efaw family took me in, made me family, and treated me as one of their own. RIP Ed ‘Beanpole’ Efaw, my friend, my family, and my partner in laughs. You will never be forgotten. This is a tough one for all of us.”

Edward Efaw’s visitation will be held on Thursday January, 19, from 6:00-8:00 p.m. His funeral service will be conducted on Friday, January 20, at 1:00 p.m. at the Schermesser Funeral Home in Akron, Ohio.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.