Hundreds honor Larry Jon Wilson at memorial service

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A few hundred friends and family members gathered Sunday to remember Augusta music legend Larry Jon Wilson.

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Larry Jon Wilson's portrait rests against a table at First Baptist Church of Augusta during the memorial service for the Augusta singer, songwriter and storyteller.   Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Larry Jon Wilson's portrait rests against a table at First Baptist Church of Augusta during the memorial service for the Augusta singer, songwriter and storyteller.

Among them was the infant grandson Wilson was visiting in Roanoke, Va., when he suffered a stroke and later died on June 21 at age 69.

During a memorial service at First Baptist Church of Augusta, Tyler Wilson recalled asking his father what he needed as he lay sick in the hospital.

"Dr. Kevorkian," said the singer, songwriter and storyteller, who made the Augusta area his home.

It was typical Larry Jon, always using humor to lighten things up, his son said.

Musician friends, including Atlanta singer-songwriter Shawn Mullins, attended.

Mullins, who performed an acclaimed series of shows with Wilson at Nashville's Bluebird Café a few years ago, said Wilson was like a father to him.

Wilson was "a huge influence on me, and he was my hero," Mullins said.

"He just meant the world to me, and his spirit and his music will live on. That's the beauty of what he did," he said.

Augusta musician George Croft, a friend of Wilson's since childhood, recalled running into Wilson at North Augusta's Sno-Cap drive-in a few months ago.

"We talked about things to come," Croft said, "of memories, of Maryland Avenue and Wingfield Street."

The pair, who played together as recently as two years ago for a Camp Rainbow benefit, grew up neighbors in Augusta, where Wilson's family moved when he was 4.

"I thought Larry Jon Wilson would live forever," Croft said.

Wilson's surviving brother, Billy Joe Wilson, traveled from California for the memorial, which concluded with a soulful rendition of the gospel classic Farther Along, which Wilson recorded in 1976 on his second Monument Records album.

Other friends who paid their respects included Augusta photographer Jimmy Thomas, who shot the cover portrait for Wilson's first album; Michael Leonard, his manager when he signed with Monument; Bob Melton; Steve Brantley; and Mike Stewart.

"It was an extremely positive service from a lot of people who really cared about Larry Jon, and who he cared about," Augusta Chronicle music columnist Don Rhodes said.

Wilson's body was cremated and his ashes interred at First Baptist's memorial garden.



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