91 year-old oldtime fiddler Ramona Jones died this week. The below YouTube video provides a sample of her fiddling, played in 1987 with a woman clawhammer banjoist, in Nashville.
Born Ramona Riggins in Van Buren, Indiana in 1924, she was part of the first generation of Grand Ole Opry performers beginning shortly after she met and married “Grandpa Jones” (Louis Marshall Jones) in 1946. The two were performing together on a radio show in Cincinnati when they met, and continued working together professionally with Grandpa often taking the top billing.
In 1969, they signed on to be featured artists on the new Hee Haw television program for CBS. Though it only ran for three years on the network, Hee Haw was hugely popular in syndication for the next 20 years, bringing down home humor and traditional country music to homes across the nation.
Ramona played fiddle, guitar, and mandolin on shows with her husband, and they often sang duets. In skits, Grandpa would joke and play the fool while Ramona maintained a dignified presence on stage.
She is remembered as a fine old-time fiddler and proponent of the mountain and hillbilly music that characterized early commercial country radio.
In this below 2013 video, embedded on the Tennessean.com (click to access), Ramona recalls her husband, Grandpa Jones, who was in the Country Music Hall of Fame, and how she learned fiddling from her dad, since she was 5 (i.e., long before she met Grandpa)
Below is a photo of David Holt with Ramona and Grandpa, who Holt regarded as a mentor. (https://www.davidholt.com/mentors/grandpa-jones/)