Old-time fiddler Ramona Jones, who was a veteran of radio, television and the live concert stage, died Tuesday (November 17th) in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. She was 91.
Born Ramona Riggins in Indiana, Jones met her first husband, country entertainer Louis Marshall “Grandpa” Jones while both were working at Cincinnati radio station WLW. They moved to Nashville in 1947. Grandpa Jones was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and a longtime Grand Ole Opry member. They were married 52 years until his death in 1998. (Later, she took the last name of her second husband.)
A musician from a young age, Jones learned the fiddle from her father, then taught herself several other stringed instruments, competing in (and winning) several amateur contests during high school. She made her solo debut on the Opry in 1947 and performed all over the world with Jones, including shows for service members on the front lines during the Korean War. They later toured U.S. military bases in Italy, Austria and Germany. In the mid-Fifties, the couple regularly appeared on the Washington, D.C.-based TV series Town and Country Time. She would go on to record numerous duets with her husband as well as a handful of solo singles for Monument Records and albums that spotlighted her fiddle work. From its 1969 debut — and for the next 25 years — the couple appeared on TV’s Hee Haw.
Jones is survived by her husband, Reverend W. Eugene Gober, three children, two grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.