Bobby D. Harrison, 79, of Woodlawn, went home to be with the Lord following a short bout with cancer, on Friday, July 18, 2014, at his home surrounded by his loving family.
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He was born Sept. 17, 1934, in Galax, to Arlie D. and Ethel Crawford Harrison.
In addition to his parents, Bobby was preceded in death by two brothers, Earl Harrison, and Willard Harrison, both of Galax; and one sister, JoAnn Hackler also of Galax.
Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Shirley Melton Harrison of the home; and one son and daughter-in-law, Ronny and Donita Harrison of Woodlawn; four grandchildren, Chad Harrison and wife, Amy of Woodlawn, Hannah Boles and her husband, Josh of Tappahannock, Va., Nathan Harrison and Kaylin Harrison of Woodlawn; three great-grandchildren, Logan Harrison, Lacey Harrison and Joanna Boles; and one brother, Carroll Harrison of Woodlawn.
Bobby was a veteran of the United States Army, having served two tours of duty.
Bobby was a widely known musician, regarded as one of the creators of what came to be known as the "Galax sound" within the genre' of music that became known as Bluegrass. Combining the drive and rhythm of old-time mountain music with the smooth harmonies of the brother duets that were popular in the 1930's and 40's, the Galax sound was born. He began making music in the early 1940's. He was highly respected and an often awarded guitarist and singer. Some of the groups he performed with were the Virginia Mountain Boys and the Foothill Boys, which made an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn., in 1972. He recorded albums for the County and Folkways labels, five albums of which are part of the Smithsonian Institute collection. His later music was made with The Harrison Family, a bluegrass-gospel group made up of four generations of his family.
He was a faithful member of Landmark Baptist Church in Galax, where his son, Dr. Ronny Harrison is the pastor. He served in the Sunday School, Soul-winning and bus ministry for many years. He also served as a deacon and trustee for the church.
Bobby retired from Sara-Lee Knit Products in Galax, where he was employed as a supervisor.
A memorial service was held at Landmark Baptist Church at 110 E. Center St. in Galax on Monday, July 21, 2014, at 2 p.m. Visitation was held on Sunday, July 20, 2014, in the chapel of Vaughan-Guynn Funeral Home in Galax, from 6 to 9 p.m. The body will lay in-state for one hour prior to the funeral service. Interment followed in Monta Vista Cemetery, Galax, Va.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Landmark Baptist Church, 110 E. Center St. Galax, Va. 24333.
A guest book is available online at www.vaughanguynn.com.
Vaughan-Guynn Funeral Home is serving the family
Vaughan-Guynn Funeral Home - Galax
201 West Center Street
Galax, VA 24333
Published in Galax Gazette from July 23 to July 24, 2014