Virginia Mae Stauffer passes

Songwriter Virginia Mae Stauffer passed away peacefully on Saturday, November 12, 2011, in Nashville, Tennessee. She was aged 71 and had been unwell for the better part of the past decade.

Stauffer was born on September 29, 1940, in St. Joseph County, Michigan, one of four daughters of Christian and Emily (Schwartz) Stauffer. When she was 20 years old, she moved to Nashville where in the mid-1960s she met and became friends with Bill Monroe.

She was a talented songwriter and wrote several songs that Monroe recorded; I Live In The Past (recorded March 1965), With Body And Soul (April 1969), Road Of Life (March 1970), Show Me the Way (March 1975) and That’s Christmas Time to Me (July 1977).

With Body And Soul has become a standard in recording catalogs with James Monroe, Front Range, High Country, the Johnson Mountain Boys and Spring Creek all recording the song.

Roland White, a Blue Grass Boy from May 1967 to February 1969, recalls ….

“She lived and managed an old trailer park off of Murfreesboro Road here in Nashville, and had her own house trailer. She traveled with Bill and the Blue Grass Boys the whole time I was with the band.”

Monroe called her “Gypsy” on account of her dark hair or, just as endearingly, “a little old lady from Michigan” and wrote the instrumental Virginia Darlin’ in her honor.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.