A dear member of the Grand Ole Opry family has passed away Twitter/@tnwaltzgirl

As everyone will certainly be celebrating the passing of the year of 2017 come Dec. 31, many members of the country music family will find themselves mourning a dear member of the Grand Ole Opry family.

Grand Ole Opry announcer and former WSM radio host Hairl Hensley has passed away.

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“Our entire staff is saddened to hear the news of the passing of our longtime coworker and friend, Mr. Hairl Hensley,” read a Dec. 31 Facebook post from WSM Radio. “Considered the Dean of Grand Ole Opry announcers, Hairl’s voice was heard over the WSM airwaves for many years. He became a member of the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in 1995. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time.”

As news began to spread regarding Hairl’s death, many others within the country music community headed to their social media channels to express their sadness over his passing. “Just got word that Hairl Hensley, for so many years a beloved Grand Old Opry announcer has passed away,” the legendary Charlie Daniels said on his Facebook page. “Rest in peace my friend, you left a lot of good memories behind you.”

Many other influential members of the country music family also added their condolences on Twitter.

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“Years ago, when I was a young radio man in a hurry but had so much to learn, the great CMA-winning, Tennessee Radio Hall of Famer, and Opry announcer Hairl Hensley always gave me great advice, was always funny, was always kind,” noted country music industry member Larry Pareigis. “He died today. #RIP, dear friend. Safe travels.”

“So sad to hear of the passing of Hairl Hensley,” added Rhonda Vincent. “Loved his #Bluegrass shows @WSMradio and seeing him at the Grand Ole @opry.”

According to “The Tennessean,” Hairl was a native of East Tennessee, and initially dreamt of a day when he would make a career as a country musician. Yet, broadcasting called his name while still in high school, and he made a distinguished career out of his love for the spoken word. In fact, Hairl was first hired by WSM Radio in 1972 after moving to Nashville in the 1960s. He remains one of the Opry’s longest serving announcers.

Hairl was inducted into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in 1995 and was heard on The Roadhouse channel on Sirius XM until his death.

Everyone here at Rare Country sends our deepest condolences to the family, friends and fans of Hairl. Rest in peace dear friend.

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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