(right) Vernon McQueen on guitar at The Brown County Barn (10/13/63). Jim Bessire on Bass, Roger Smith on fiddle, Gary Hedrick (hidden) on mandolin, Neil Rosenberg on banjo, and David Hedrick on banjo. Photo © Jim Peva.
Vernon McQueen, one-time Blue Grass Boy and life-long bluegrass performer, passed away on March 16. He was 86 years of age when he died.
In 1960 he joined up with Bill Monroe, playing guitar and singing lead and tenor vocals. He never recorded with Monroe, but did get to perform with him on the Grand Ole Opry.
Later he joined The Stoney Lonesome Boys, performing regularly at the Brown County Jamboree in Bean Blossom, IN. Also in that group was Roger Smith on bass, another former Blue Grass Boy.
Vernon worked on the Gospel circuit as well, playing bass guitar with The Evangelaires, and playing guitar and singing as a member of The Gospel Meltones.
Outside of music, he had worked in a number of professions, driving a truck and in manufacturing. He leaves behind a large family, including five great grandchildren.
His larger musical family included everyone who loved bluegrass music. Vernon was a steady participant in jam sessions and at festivals in Indiana where he is remembered not only for his strong tenor voice, but also for his kindness and his huge smile. Jammers recall that you could always look to Vernon for help with the next chord, or when a song was set to end. He was an inescapably happy man, who welcomed everyone who wished to share his love for bluegrass or his Christian faith.
Visitation yesterday at Connersville Baptist Temple found a long line processing through for several hours, such was the devotion for Vernon in his community. Friends brought their instruments to sing and play in his honor. A funeral service was held earlier today at the church, followed by burial in the Dale Cemetery in Connersville.
R.I.P., Vernon McQueen.