After a difficult couple of weeks marred by the passing of two country music icons and back-to-back devastating hurricanes, the country music community is once again in mourning at the passing of another one of its notable figures—Ben “Lovey” Dorcy III.

Ben, also known as the “King of the Roadies,” was a 50-year veteran of the entertainment industry. His resumé reads like a who’s who of country music after logging time on the road with artists ranging from Hank Thompson, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Kris Kristofferson all the way up to Cody Canada, Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen.

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In fact, Wade may have given the most complete and perfect eulogy on his Instagram page. He wrote, “Ben Dorcy III was my friend. He always took care of me as he did so many artists. He worked his ass off even when he was 92 years old, always asking when we were going out on the road again so he could work. He was a hard ass in many ways, but that’s what made him great at what he did. He unselfishly gave and gave to artists his entire life so that we could enjoy our jobs and perform to the best of our abilities. I loved his stories and he loved telling them. Loved it!! Yes, You can go out on the road with us next weekend and forever. Miss you Lovey! #Getyourshittogether”

In a soon-to-be released documentary that chronicles the life of Lovey, Willie calls Ben the first roadie ever, but the bearded gentleman also had a background in Hollywood.

The website for Texas concert venue John T. Floores Country Store, the location of the annual Ben Dorcy Day concert, reveals more of Lovey’s background, which also included tenures in Hollywood with Nudie Cohn, the man behind the bedazzled rhinestones suits worn by Opry legends, as well as the Ice Capades, and legendary actor John Wayne. But music was his passion, and he left the west coast to resume traveling with musicians.

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Stories vary on how the 92-year-old earned his nickname. While many say it was because of his great passion for Texas, some say it was the term of endearment he used on others that they then turned back on him. And, unknowingly, it reflects how greatly this man was loved.

Tributes from the artists whose lives the occasional tambourine player impacted fill social media, but singer, songwriter, novelist and humorist Kinky Friedman offers a lovely insight into Lovey’s longevity: “To make it that long, you’ve got to be good at it. And I can see why they would want Ben there. He’s like a talisman.”

Rest easy, Lovey.

Based in Nashville, Tammy is a 20-year veteran of the country music community. She has worked in marketing, PR and artist development. Follow her @TammyGooGoo and join the conversation @RareCountry
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