Valley Springs, CA — Delbert Lavern Williams Senior was a musical celebrity living here in the foothills.
His impact on bluegrass music received him the Blue Grass Music Association´s Award of Merit and an honorary lifetime membership.
Sadly though, “Vern” Williams, as he was called by friends, passed away early last month at Mark Twain St. Joseph´s Hospital of respiratory failure.
Some say Williams helped bring bluegrass to California.
He was born in Newton County, Arkansas in 1930. He moved out west in 1952 with the Marine Corps. He resided in Calaveras County for the last 40 years.
Williams first played the mandolin with his brother John Jr. and then with Ray Park. The Vern and Ray duo became well known. Later in his career the Vern Williams Band played behind bluegrass legend Rose Maddox.
Williams was recognized by the state of California with a tribute in 1987 and by commendation in 2001.
A Billboard review called Williams one of the great unheralded masters of bluegrass music.
He is survived by his wife of 52 years Marge, 5 brothers and sisters, 2 daughters, and a son, 3 grandchildren, and 2 great grandchildren.
Written by Vanessa Turner.