MEBANE — Nationally known old-time fiddler and folk musician Joe Thompson died on Monday night at Alamance Regional Medical Center with family members at his bedside. He was 93.
An Orange County native who was born in 1918, Thompson moved to Alamance County in 1948 and lived in the Mebane area ever since. He was a renowned musician who learned to play the fiddle from his father John Arch Thompson. He received a National Heritage Fellowship in September 2007 from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Thompson died at 6:20 p.m. Monday at ARMC after a period of declining health, said his son Hassell McCoy Evans. Evans said his father was in good spirits on Saturday.
Evans said his father would be missed by many. Thompson first played the fiddle when he was about 8 years old. Thompson played his fiddle for audiences all over the world during his musical career.
“I am going to miss him,” Evans said. “It’s going to be tough for awhile. He was just a wonderful man.”
Larry Vellani, of Mebane, was at Thompson’s bedside when he died. Vellani was a fellow musician who admired Thompson’s musical abilities. Thompson’s style of black country fiddling has almost disappeared, Vellani told the Times-News in 2007.