Remembering Brown Loflin

A large crowd gathered on Monday afternoon inside the music hall of Denton FarmPark, home of the Southeast’s Old Threshers’ Reunion, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver’s Bluegrass Festival, and the Country Christmas Train. They weren’t there to be entertained, but came to remember and pay their last respects to its owner, Brown Loflin.

Loflin, who passed away September 10 at age 84, laid in state at the foot of the stage where numerous bluegrass bands have performed for almost four decades.

His pastor, Rev. Chris Smith, began with one of Brown’s quotes about the FarmPark. “He would say, ‘God owns it, I just run it.'”

Doyle Lawson’s Quicksilver quartet, host band of the annual bluegrass festival, rendered three a cappella hymns during the service.

Lawson praised their relationship. “39 years and we were to the point that we told each other how we valued our friendship. He knew I loved and respected him. We never had a cross word.”

Rev. Claudie Harrison listed several of Loflin’s attributes. “Brown was a family man, a friendly man, a man of many talents. He was a man of faith, a man of great vision. He’s already preached his own funeral.”

His niece, Katie Loflin, also spoke during the two hour memorial service. “Uncle Brown was always finding ways to bring people together. His impact can be seen across North Carolina.”

Rev. Smith agreed, “He put Denton on the map. Though he quit high school in tenth grade, he did things that others marvelled at. He felt divinely led. He believed in hard work and love of fellowship.”

A neighbor, Deric Skeen, summed up Loflin’s qualities in three words. “Visionary, ambassador, friend. Rather than a thumbprint, he put his whole handprint on Denton FarmPark.”

“I came here in 1980,” Lawson reflected at the close of the service. “First thing that I would see when I came into the park was that little church. We call it the Model Church. That means everyone is welcome.” He then invited the congregation to join him in singing Amazing Grace.

Karen Miller, Loflin’s daughter, was the last to take the stage, vowing to carry on his legacy. “I loved my daddy. He was my hero.”

She concluded Loflin’s memorial service by reading a poem written by her daughter-in-law, Mariah Miller, about boarding a train for Heaven. Once the poem was read, a train whistle sounded and the Handy Dandy Railroad, the FarmPark’s steam locomotive, made its journey past the music hall.

Brown Loflin’s wooden casket was carried to the top of the hill, placed on an antique trailer pulled by a Farmall Tractor, and taken for one final ride.

“We lost a good friend,” Lawson shared.

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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.