Del, G.C., and Jerry McCoury in 2002
This remembrance of G.C. McCoury is a contribution from Del McCoury’s son, Ronnie McCoury.
It is with a heavy heart that I send along the sad news of the passing of Grover Cleveland McCoury II on February 27, 2017. Affectionately known by the family as G.C. He was born on February 14, 1930 and was 87 years old.
Uncle G.C. was my father’s first musical teacher showing him guitar chords at the age of 9 years old. In the early days Dad and G.C. would play and sing in their Missionary Baptist church. By the late 1940’s, G.C. was playing in Hillbilly bands in and around the local area of York County, Pa. He was a talented musician and strong singer with quite a vocal range. It was during this time that he discovered this new music from the Grand Ole Opry that was in his words…”hot as fire!” It didn’t have a name yet but would eventually be called bluegrass. He said, “it hit me and Del pretty hard.”
When G.C., who was 9 years older and could buy 78 records, brought home Flatt & Scruggs’ 1951 recording of Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms, my Dad’s life was changed forever. Earl Scruggs’ banjo playing captivated dad and he had to learn to play the banjo and G.C. had to learn bluegrass guitar rhythm. My dad said he wore the 78 record’s hole oblong playing it over and over figuring out Earl’s playing. They would play together till G.C. got married and started a family, and dad began playing with Keith Daniels. This would put my dad on his musical journey which continues to this day.
Uncle G.C. would continue to play music mainly as a hobby and in church with his younger brother Jerry McCoury, and his son Grover Cleveland lll, through the 1970’s.
Uncle G.C. always had a loving and kind spirit and a wonderful smile to greet you. He indirectly influenced mine and my brother Rob’s lives by being the catalyst for my Dad and for this I am so grateful.
Because of our move to Nashville in 1992, our time was so limited with Uncle G.C. but I always looked forward to the McCoury family show at Delfest featuring G.C., Dad, and Uncle Jerry. This is what I consider my roots in music and it was so rewarding to the family to have these moments. Fortunately, their sisters Elizabeth, Vivian, Jeanette and their families could always attend these wonderful special times too.
So many people would come up to me throughout the year on the road and sincerely thank us for doing the McCoury family show. I know he’ll be there in spirit smiling and watching from above.
Uncle G.C. was a devoted Christian with the strongest of Faith. My Dad said “he knows where he’s going and was ready to go.”
In loving memory and God Bless Grover Cleveland “G.C.” McCoury II
Ronnie McCoury and the McCoury Family