John Dopyera passes

John Dopyera, JrJohn Dopyera, Jr, son of the inventor of the Dobro guitar, John Sr, passed away on November 12. He was 85 years old.

Though he wasn’t a performer, he had dedicated much of his life to helping promote the instrument his father had developed, and made several trips to Slovakia during the early days of DobroFest. That festival originally honored the Dobro and John Sr, and was held not far from where he was born, but it developed into a massive pop music festival with no connection to resonator guitar.

Dopyera, Jr also hosted gatherings at the home he shared with his wife Margaret where fellow reso-guitar enthusiasts assembled around the 4th of July. These were held both when they kept a home in Pennsylvania, moving to Wilkesboro, NC in 2005.

IBMA members will recall John accepting a Distinguished Achievement Award in 2005 on behalf of his dad, and his two uncles, Emil and Rudy. The three brothers gave the name to the slide resonator guitar which is so prominent in bluegrass today. Dopyera Brothers was shortened to Dobro when the three of them formed their own company in the late 1920s.

A service will be held on November 22 to commemorate the life of John Dopyera at First Unitarian Society of Ithaca, in Ithaca, NY. It is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. Instruments are encouraged.

R.I.P., John Dopyera.

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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.