Remembering An Icon: Doc Watson
Hearts are heavy across the nation and right here in the high country after the passing of a musical icon. Doc Watson passed away last night in the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center after suffering from complications from Colon Surgery performed on May 24th. Watson's family was called to his bedside Sunday at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center after he took a turn for the worse. Fans from all across the high country payed their respects at the Doc Watson statue on King Street, laying flowers in memorium of the musical icon. Born Arthel Lane Watson in Stoney Fork Township, near Deep Gap, North Carolina, on March 3, 1923, Watson was blinded from an eye infection as a baby. He toured with his son Merle before Merle's death after a farming accident in 1985, and continually played at an annual festival called MerleFest in his son's honor.Watson was steeped in music as a child, from the time his mother held him in her arms at the Mount Paton Church and he listened to the harmony and shape-note singing of such songs as "The Lone Pilgrim" and "There is a Fountain,". In 1997, Watson received the National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton. He also received an honorary degree from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, where an endowment for Appalachian Studies is in his name, and he also received an honorary doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Those who visited the statue today spoke on Doc and how influential he was not only to the music industry, but everywhere he went.
Doc won 7 grammy awards in his career, including a grammy lifetime achievement award and was inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2010. Doc Watson was 89