Headstone installed at James King’s gravesite

Through the work of a number of dedicated volunteers, most notably Pam Pruett and Chipper Covington, funds have been raised to erect a custom headstone and footstone at the place where James King was laid to rest last year.

We lost the iconic bluegrass singer and entertainer to the complications of advanced liver disease on May 19, 2016. Owing to his inability to perform during the last year of his life, the man so many looked up to in bluegrass music had been rendered impecunious, and had no funds available to him – or the family ensuring his care – to erect a marker at that time.

But a group of his close friends and dedicated fans held a benefit concert in Cana, VA that generated enough to purchase the stone, and it was installed yesterday where he is interred in the King family plot in Cana. Funds had also been raised online.

The stone was designed by Ronald Leonard, using a large image of a guitar and an engraving of a photo of James taken by Jimmy Riddle. Beneath the photo is inscribed “The Bluegrass Storyteller” and his full name, James Elroy King. A smaller footstone was also installed, reading “Father of Jamie Carter & Shelby Ann.” Work was done by Acme Stone in Mount Airy, NC.

Pam tells us that it was a grey, dreary day yesterday when the stone was delivered and set in place, perhaps befitting how so many people feel without his music or his big, smiling face at festivals around the country.

Funds raised in excess of the cost of the stones is being donated to the elementary school James attended as a child, to encourage music education and appreciation among the students.

Pam also shared these additional photos.

Well done all! It is a fine memorial to someone who gave most of his life to the music we all love.

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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.