Jerry Kearns passes

Multi-instrumentalist, Jerry Kearns, 77, of Mount Pleasant, NC passed away on Friday, May 5, 2023, following a lengthy battle with cancer. Jerry played with numerous local bands, but most notably played with the touring band, the Jones Brothers and the Log Cabin Boys.

Jerry loved bluegrass music and jamming with area musicians. A celebration of life service was conducted by Randy Mauldin, banjoist with the Grass Strings, on Tuesday, May 16, 2023 at the home of Troy Reavis in Gold Hill, NC, followed by a bluegrass jam. 

Mauldin, an ordained minister, read from Romans Chapter 8, and shared remembrances of Kearns with the approximately 70 family and friends gathered for the memorial.

“Jerry had a big heart. He was a good friend. In a jam session, Jerry would hold his own with the best of them. Yet, he never set out to compete with anyone. He just sat there and picked his heart out, and had a blast doing it. Jerry always had this way about him that gave you confidence to pick what you felt and give it all you had. He had this way of making you feel you belonged among the ‘elite’ crowd of musicians.

We spent some time together in the hospital, and he was clear that he did not want a big to-do when he went home. He did not want a long, sad funeral. He had lived his life open to his friends and not a lot more could be said.

I will miss time with my friend, but I look forward to our reunion in a land where we will never grow old.”

Following the brief memorial service, those assembled enjoyed food, fellowship, and a jam in remembrance of their pickin’ pal. Honored guests included: Lee Jones (former band mate), Vivian Hopkins (past president of the North Carolina Bluegrass Association), numerous musicians including Peden Williams of the Gospel Plowboys, Tom Isenhour (bluegrass musician, historian, and collector), family, and friends.

Host Reavis concluded, “This gathering tonight was exactly what Jerry wanted.”

R.I.P., Jerry Kearns.

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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.