Ramona Jones passes

Ramona JonesMultiple sources in Nashville are reporting the death of Ramona Jones, old time fiddler, vocalist, traditional country music entertainer, and wife of the late Grandpa Jones. She was 91 years of age.

Born Ramona Riggins in Van Buren, Indiana in 1924, she was part of the first generation of Grand Ole Opry performers beginning shortly after she met and married Jones in 1946. The two were performing together on a radio show in Cincinnati when they met, and continued working together professionally with Grandpa (Louis Marshall Jones) often taking the top billing.

In 1969, they signed on to be featured artists on the new Hee Haw television program for CBS. Though it only ran for three years on the network, Hee Haw was hugely popular in syndication for the next 20 years, bringing down home humor and traditional country music to homes across the nation.

Ramona and Grandpa JonesRamona played fiddle, guitar, and mandolin on shows with her husband, and they often sang duets. Perhaps their biggest bit was their Bells routine where Grandpa and Ramona would strap cowbells to their feet and hands and use them to play familiar melodies. In this, and many other skits, Grandpa would joke and play the fool while Ramona maintained a dignified presence on stage.

She is remembered as a fine old time fiddler and proponent of the mountain and hillbilly music that characterized early commercial country radio.

R.I.P., Ramona Jones.

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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.