We have just learned that Jack Cooke, long-time member of Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, passed away last night (12/1) after suffering a massive heart attack. He collapsed at home and was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Cooke performed with The Stanley Brothers in the 1950s before going to work for Bill Monroe from 1956-1960. He returned to perform with Ralph Stanley in 1970 not long after Ralph reformed his band following brother Carter’s passing in 1966.
His baritone vocals formed a part of some of the most soulful bluegrass trio and quartet singing ever recorded, blending with such stellar singers as Roy Lee Centers, Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks, Charlie Sizemore and, of course, Dr. Ralph Stanley.
Jack had just recently retired from the band after 38 years as a Clinch Mountain Boy. More information will be posted as soon as we can confirm it.
What a great loss to the bluegrass community. Rest in peace, brother Jack.
UPDATE 3:45 p.m. – Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Hagy & Fawbush Funeral Home in Norton, VA. Though a date and time have not yet been determined, the burial will be held at the Burial Huff-Brummitt cemetery in Wise County.
UPDATE 12/3: The following was posted last night on the Kingsport Times News web site:
Vernon Crawford “Jack” Cooke, 72, died Wednesday at Norton Community Hospital. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Hagy & Fawbush Funeral Home. Funeral services will be conducted at 7 p.m. Thursday in the funeral home chapel. Graveside committal services will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday at the Huff-Brummitt Cemetery. Family and friends will meet at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the funeral home to travel in procession to the cemetery.
Also of note is the fact that Ralph ‘Hank’ Smith, who played lead guitar with The Clinch Mountain Boys during the 1980s, also died on December 1 – 43 years to the day since the death of Carter Stanley. This will be a sad day of remembrance for Ralph.