Bluegrass musician Curly Seckler’s life read like a fairy tale, right till the very end. Just two days after his birthday and just one day before his 19th wedding anniversary with wife Eloise, Curly died at the age of 98 on Dec. 27.
He was celebrated and he was cherished, and most of all, he was loved by so many.
And don’t we all want our the ending of our lives to be just like that?
Curly’s life was one of milestones and musical accomplishments. As a member of both the Bluegrass Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Country Music Hall of Fame, Curly was perhaps best known for his musical stylings alongside artists Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and their Foggy Mountain Boys back in the 1950s. Through the years, he also performed with artists Mac Wiseman, Jim and Jesse McReynolds and the Stanley Brothers, according to “The Tennessean.”
“In my opinion, the greatest tenor singer of all time,” Marty Stuart has said of Curly, who took him under his wing from an early age. “It was like leaning up against an old oak tree. He was irreplaceable. He didn’t cuss, he didn’t smoke, he didn’t drink, he didn’t talk bad on anybody, he didn’t cheat on his wife … they don’t make them like that any more.”
In the perfect example of making something out of humble beginnings, Carly grew up on the family farm in North Carolina, living without necessities like running water or electricity. This left Curly and his family ample time to fill their home with music, until his father died when Curly was just in the sixth grade, and he and his siblings were forced to keep up the family farm themselves.
Eventually, Curly got a job and earned enough money to buy a banjo, and a musical career was born. “Look at his body of work,” said Marty, who featured Curly on his own show for the last time in 2011 to sing the song “Lord, I’m Coming Home.” “It’s all timeless,” he added.
As news of his death began to spread, friends and fans headed to their social media channels to reflect on the difference Curly made in each of their lives. “The last link to the first generation of bluegrass has just passed away,” one fan wrote tweeted. “Curly Seckler was an outstanding gentleman and an incredible musician.”
Curly is survived by brothers Floyd and Hugh, sons Ray and Monnie, grandchildren Jeffrey, Terry, John Robert, Sherry, Charity and Melissa, and several great-grandchildren. Funeral arrangements are still pending.
During this holiday season, our hearts are hurting for all of those who are mourning Curly’s death. We send our condolences to all who loved Curly, both on the stage and off.