Fay McGinnis passes

Fay McGinnis, the president of the Stanley Brothers’ Fan Club for a number of years, passed away on Friday, March 17, 2017. She was 89 years old and lived in the Wyandotte suburb of Detroit, Michigan.

Fay M. McGinnis was born on November 25, 1927, and served as the manager of her husband’s band, Roy McGinnis and the Sunnysiders. Also, she was a tireless promoter and preserver of bluegrass and old-time music across the Michigan area.

McGinnis, who favored big band music while she was in high school, was for a while running a regularly scheduled cable television program called Mountain Echoes. Her studio was a mandatory meeting point for visiting bluegrass musicians.   

Her most active period as head of the Stanley Brothers’ Fan Club and, subsequently, the Ralph Stanley’ Fan Club was from 1965 to 1975.

At a time when means of communication were very limited, Fay McGinnis worked diligently in her basement office, which she actually hated, but in which she often toiled from evening, “after my children went to bed” to daylight. In so doing, she expanded interest in the Stanley Brothers with their fan club so much so that, as she wrote in the liner notes to the brothers’ LP, The Legendary Stanley Brothers (Rebel SLP 1487), it “has members from the four corners of the earth and staff members who actively promoted the group located in 15 states of the United States and the following countries, Australia, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Japan, Germany, Sweden and England.”

She never forgot what Carter Stanley told her, “Write anything that you want [in the fan club newsletter] as long as it’s the truth”.

R.I.P., Fay McGinnis.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.