Bonsall of The Oak Ridge Boys passes away
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Bonsall of The Oak Ridge Boys passes away

Tuesday, July 9, 2024 – Joseph S. Bonsall, tenor vocalist of The Oak Ridge Boys for 50 years, died today at 76 in Hendersonville, Tenn. from complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.

As a member of The Oak Ridge Boys, Bonsall was a member of the Grand Ole Opry and inducted into the Philadelphia Music Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

"When I think of the Oak Ridge Boys and their place in Country Music history, the image of Joe with his huge smile and boundless energy comes to mind so clearly. His commitment to serving others while developing Country Music into a worldwide sensation will never be forgotten and our industry has been made better because of him. Today, we lost an incomparable energy and voice in music. He will be missed greatly by all who were fortunate to know him," said Sarah Trahern, Country Music Association CEO.

Bonsall, a Philadelphia native who was a member of the Keystone Quartet and recording on Oak Ridge Boys memner Duane Allen's Superior label, joined in April 1973. Bonsall was in the Keystones during the late 1960s, recording much of the Oak Ridge Boys' songs.

Bonsall has a solo chart credit alongside the band Sawyer Brown in their 1986 single "Out Goin' Cattin'," on which he was credited as "Cat Joe Bonsall".

In 1997, Bonsall released a four-part children's book series, "The Molly Books," and in 2003 published "GI Joe and Lillie," a book about his parents' lives during and after World War II.

As of September 2023, the Oak Ridge Boys have been on their American Made Farewell Tour. On Jan. 3, 2024, Bonsall released a statement announcing his retirement from touring with the Oak Ridge Boys, citing a neuromuscular disorder as the reason. For the rest of the tour, Bonsall was replaced by Ben James.

He was also the author of 11 books including his latest, a memoir, "I See Myself," which releases in November

There will be no funeral. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The ALS Association or to the Vanderbilt Medical Center ALS and Neuroscience Research Center.

He was born in 1948 to Joseph Sloan Bonsall Sr. (1925–2001), and Lillie Maude Collins (1924–2001).

Bonsall leaves behind his wife, Mary Ann, daughters Jennifer and Sabrina, granddaughter Breanne, grandson Luke, two great grandsons, Chance and Grey, and a sister, Nancy. He is preceded in death by his parents Joseph S. Bonsall Sr. and Lillie Bonsall.

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