BLUEGRASS legend Roni Stoneman, acclaimed as the First Lady of the Banjo and a beloved fixture on the popular variety show Hee Haw, has died at age 85.

Stoneman, who was born Veronica Loretta Stoneman, died on Wednesday, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum announced.

Roni Stoneman was a member of the trailblazing country music family The Stoneman Family

Roni Stoneman was a member of the trailblazing country music family The Stoneman FamilyCredit: YouTube/CountrysFamilyReunion
Roni Stoneman, one of the first female country music musicians, died at age 85

Roni Stoneman, one of the first female country music musicians, died at age 85Credit: Facebook/Roni Stoneman
Stoneman was a fixture in the popular variety show Hee Haw

Stoneman was a fixture in the popular variety show Hee HawCredit: CBS

Stoneman was part of the renowned country music group The Stoneman Family.

She was the youngest daughter of Ernest “Pop” Stoneman, the patriarch of the famous country music family.

“For Roni Stoneman, country music was a birthright and her life’s work,” Kyle Young, the CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said.

“She was an integral part of a bedrock country music family, and for eighteen years on ‘Hew Haw,’ she stole scenes as a skillful banjo player and as a comical, gap-toothed country character.”

A cause of death was not immediately disclosed.

Stoneman’s father, Pop, was one of the first country musicians.

He left his home in Galax, Virginia, about 11 miles north of North Carolina, to pursue a music career in New York City.

Stoneman’s dad was the first to record The Sinking of the Titanic, one of the biggest hits of the early 1920s.

Her mother, Hattie, was a fiddle player who introduced music into her children’s lives at an early age.

By the mid-1950s, Hattie and Pop started playing with their children, rising in popularity after being featured in various television shows.

In the late 1960s, the family got their TV show, Those Stonesmans, and eventually won the CMA Award for Vocal Group of the Year in 1967.

After her father’s death in 1968, Roni Stoneman became famous after joining the cast of Hee Haw in the 1970s.

As a cast member on the show, Stoneman was known for her gap-toothed smile and comedic talents, earning the title The First Lady of the Banjo.

She continued to perform in the 1980s alongside her sister Donna.

Donna earned the title of The First Lady of the Mandolin.

The sister duo mostly recently performed in 2020, according to the Banjo Newsletter.

Stoneman is survived by her sister, Donna.



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