Marty Godbey passes

Sad news to share just before Christmas…

We are working on a more complete remembrance of this remarkable woman, but will quickly share this note that Tom and Betsy Adler have passed along.

I’m truly sorry to report that our very dear friend, Marty Godbey – wife, lifelong companion, and best friend of BGRASS-L and IBMA-L listowner Frank Godbey – has suddenly passed away.

On Monday, Marty had undergone what was supposed to be a straightforward and relatively minor surgery to correct several lingering problems from previous cardiac bypass surgery, done about five or six years ago.  Though she seemed at first to be recovering properly, she died sometime early this morning.

No memorial arrangements have yet been made, but Frank has said that there will be no public funeral, and that cards and flowers should not be sent.

Marty was a faithful friend to bluegrass music and those who play and sustain it.  She published many essays, articles, and critical liner notes, and was a brilliant photographer, whose many pictures have helped immeasurably to document the past half-century of our music’s history.  Her forthcoming artistic biography of J.D. Crowe is still on track to be published in the coming year by the University of Illinois Press, and will, I’m sure, both delight us and remind us all of the great loss we’ve suffered today.

She was a constant treasure in our own lives – she never let her many friends’ birthdays, anniversaries, triumphs or tragedies go unnoticed, always sending out personal cards and letters to let people know she and Frank were thinking of them.

Today, sadly, all our thoughts are with Frank and family.  Rest in peace, Marty.

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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.

  • Chris Stuart

    This is very sudden and sad news. It’s rare for someone to be graced with equal measures of humor and dignity as was Marty. I will miss her smile, her wit, and her unerring take on all things bluegrass. If there was a First Lady of bluegrass, she was it. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Frank.

  • Russ Farmer

    I am so devastated by the news of my good and kind friend, Marty Godbey. Marty was such a vibrant woman and such a force in the community of bluegrass music. I believe she and Frank were the yin and yang of bluegrass music.
    Together they possess such a knowledge of everything bluegrass. If Marty didn’t know the answer, Frank did and vice versa.
    Marty was one of the most thoughtful people I know. I never had a birthday, or a sad day in my life that I didn’t get a card from Marty and Frank with either best wishes or condolences. Only this past week I got a sympathy card from Marty and Frank in regards to the death of my mother.
    Marty, Frank and I had traveled a lot of miles together over the past few years conducting interviews for the Crowe documentary we produced and more recently, a documentary on The Osborne Brothers Marty and Frank were helping me with.
    And I will miss the long phone conversations we had through the years regarding the who’s who in bluegrass community and her experiences with them.
    I will miss Marty so much. She was a part of my life now gone. Rest in eternal peace Marty.