Raymond Fairchild

Born: Wed., Mar. 15, 1939
Died: Sun., Oct. 13, 2019

Memorial Service

2:00 PM Sun., Oct. 20, 2019
Location: Maggie Valley Stompin Grounds

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Music by The Piano Brothers

Raymond Fairchild

March 15, 1939-October 13, 2019

Born in Cherokee, North Carolina, Raymond began playing the banjo at the age of eighteen. A natural entertainer, he was a musician for over six decades entertaining audiences around the world with his unique and individualized style of banjo playing.

Raymond met wife, Shirley in 1965 while playing in Maggie Valley, NC. They settled in Haywood County, NC and raised three children. In 1988, Raymond and his wife, Shirley opened the Maggie Valley Opry House where he performed regularly for over 30 years. Raymond was loved by many and he was a people-person, never meeting a stranger.

Raymond traveled the world sharing his love of music. In the mid-70s, Raymond found the sound that he always wanted when he began performing with the Crowe Brothers; Josh and Wayne, whom he thought of as sons. In 1977, they performed at the Grand Ole Opry for the first of many times and also performed on numerous television shows throughout the years.

A 5-time world champion banjo player, he was inducted into Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Hall of Fame and he was also voted a member of the Society for the Preservation of Blue Grass Music in America’s (SPGMA) “Hall of Greats”. Among the numerous albums he recorded, two were awarded Gold Records for his banjo instrumentals and his music is archived in the Smithsonian Institution.

When he wasn’t playing his music, Raymond was proud to be a “32nd Degree Master Mason” and an Oasis Shriner. He was a champion and advocate for the Shriners Hospitals for Children and Saint Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Predeceased by his parents Joseph and Mary (Ballew) Fairchild, brothers, Calvin, Herman, Frank and Melvin, and infant son Daniel, he is survived by his beloved wife Shirley (McGaha) Fairchild, daughter, Mary Sue Fairchild, sons John Fairchild (Marlene) and Zane Fairchild and three grandchildren, Hannah Meissner (Dustin), Harper Delia and Jackson Raymond, and sister, Sue Hendley and many nieces and nephews whom he loved.

Raymond will certainly be missed but his legacy lives on in his family and his music.

A memorial service will be held at The Stomping Ground in Maggie Valley, NC on Sunday, October 20 from 2-5 pm.

In Raymond’s honor and In lieu of flowers, donations will be accepted at the memorial or can be made directly to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

Long House Funeral Home Assisted with Arrangements

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Condolence Booklet

Raymond and Pat Smith
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Raymond was a dear friend and great banjo picker, he will be missed.

Milton,Betty and Kate Simmons
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
We are so sorry to hear of Raymond's passing. We started coming to Maggie Valley from Cheraw, South Carolina ,years ago and always went to see him at Maggie Valley Opry House. One of the greats....we will miss him.
May God give you all comfort as you grieve.

Tina Jenkins
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Our sincerest condolences to the Faichild family. Raymond you were 1 of a kind & will be missed by our entire family. I could never thank you enough for letting Butch & James play music with you. They really admired you. Your music will live on & u will never be forgotten..RIP my friend!

Billy Ballowe
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Although I never met Raymond, I have long enjoyed his music. He was a true master of the five string banjo.I may never see another with his talent in this lifetime.I wish his family God's blessing and strength to endure their loss.

Leon R. Martin
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Raymond we know our HEAVENLY FATHER is our MAKER and also the TAKER and you have ENTERED that ETERNAL HOME as we are taught there’s no more SORROW OR PAIN and GOD takes his ANGELS as he needs them and you’re definitely leaving a VOID here on his OLD EARTH but as the gates OPENED knowing you JUMPED in and your SWEET BANJO SOUNDS WERE GRACIOUSLY PRESENTED AND EXCEPTED TOO ALL and all your FRIEND MUSICIANS THAT HAD GONE ON BEFORE. WOW what a moment that must have BEEN. As a BROTHER RAYMOND FROM A LIFE WELL TRAVELED and your MEMORIES WITH ME FOREVER. Bro. Leon R. Martin 1961 was the best years in MAGGIE VALLEY and just meeting YOU. The old STOMPING GROUND. 🤟🤟🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

Millie B Smith
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
My brother idolized Raymond. He kept a picture of Raymond and himself until his death. Roger played guitar with Raymond for a brief period of time. That was the most important thing in Roger's life. On behalf of the Buchanan family I want to say "thank you, Raymond", from the bottom of our hearts.

Susan Jones and Vernon Hearn
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Shirley and family, we are thinking of you and your family at this very sad time. We always loved coming up from Mississippi to visit and listen to Raymond and who ever joined him at that time. Vernon has #6 of Raymond’s banjos. We will cherish it always. We know that Raymond, Steve Brown and Popcorn is playing beautiful music eternally in Heaven now. Love, Susan and Vernon from Mississippi

Ed and Patsy James
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Ed really enjoyed listening to Raymond play his banjo any time he could and talk to him, it was a joy. He was one of Ed's favorite banjo pickers, and Ed considered him his friend. Raymond will be dearly missed by both of us. R.I.P. dear friend. Ed and Patsy James

Sandra Templeton
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
I am sorry to hear of the passing of Raymond, he was a dear friend of my dad, Bobby Bigham. May the Good Lord bring you peace and comfort in the days to come. I can imagine Raymond and Bobby in heaven enjoying heavenly bluegrass again playing for Jesus💞

With much love, Bobby Bigham's middle daughter Sandra

Marilyn Chadwick
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Raymond has been a dear friend since my college days at Haywood Tech in the '70's, when I had the honor of playing on occasion with his band at the Maggie Valley Stompin' Grounds, along with Granny and Charlie Cannon. I knew right away that Raymond was unique & special, and I'm very grateful to have known him. And I thank him so much for the amazing gift of music that he shared with the world. Although life took me on my way after college, I have always kept the wonderful memories of those Maggie Valley days, and Raymond was my inspiration to learn to play banjo. I am very grateful to have seen him in recent years at the Maggie Valley Opry House, where to my delight I saw that his playing had not changed at all, even at 79 yrs. old. Proud of you, Raymond. May you rest in peace always, and may God bless and heal your family.

Charlie Hanchett
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
So sorry for your loss. As s fellow banjo player, I really enjoyed Raymond's picking and innovations. He will be missed.

Robert Catlin
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Sorry to see Raymond pass. He will be rewarded in Heaven for all he did here on earth. God Bless and RIP Raymond Fairchild.

Dennis crawford& harlan county grass
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Raymond will be greatly missed.we will cherish the many times we got to pick with him.and sharing time and stories and old memories ,fly high dear friend.

   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
This is sad news. The first time I heard raymond play I couldn't believe what I was hearing. A awesome banjo player. Will surely be missed

jeanette waid
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
He will be missed, I always enjoyed coming to his opry. prayers for the family.

Rebecca Dill
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Maggie Valley just won’t be the same without Raymond and his banjo.We came to this precious town for many years and always went to his show.He was always so kind to my husband and I.

Steve Richards
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
I will miss Raymond and his banjo playing. Will miss and remember the nights of music at the Maggie Valley Opry House and always playing the Marine Corp Hymn for me. Raymond honored all Veterns and was proud of us all, as we are of him. He warmed everyone's heart and put smiles on their faces.

Thank You Raymond Fairchild.
Steve. Donna and Bach (my service dog)

Gone but never forgotten.......

JC Wagoner
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
A great man and a great friend taken too soon. Will be sorely missee.

Dan&Annie Daniel
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
What a wonderful man he was,He was the best of the best.we love you and if need anything give us a call.our prayers are with you and your family.

Patricia Lewis
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Thoughts and prayers for the family. So sorry for your loss.

Wanda Williamson & Family (Asheboro, NC)
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Shirley & family, we are so sorry for your loss. Always loved coming to the Opry House back in the day. Loved all the people and music. A one of a kind experience.

Charlie Bigham
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Great person and banjo player we enjoyed seeing him play in Maggie Valley the
Last 3 years. Sad loss to Maggie Valley and the Bluegrass world

Tammy Null Burkey
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
I am so saddened to hear of Raymond's passing! I have been a friend and fan for so many year. There was no greater privilege that to have Raymond sit in our home in Parkersburg, WV and listen to him play. I am so blessed to have know him for over 55 years! My condolences to the family. May God Bless you all! That you for sharing Raymond with us for all of these years! He will be greatly missed!

Henry /Dorothy Adams
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Condolences and prayers
He will be missed

Roger Rholetter
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
My condolences to Shirley and family and friends may God give ya'll comfort and peace as no one else can. Our love Roger and Linda Rholetter

Wayne and Lori Bridges
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Will miss our great friend Raymond 'condolences too the family and many blessings of comfort ' will see you on the other side friend

Rick Polston
   Posted Tue October 15, 2019
Rest easy Raymond - Play great music with the Angels

BettyJo Gabbard
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
Sending my thoughts and prayers from Ohio. So blessed to have known Raymond. My deepest condolences to Shirley, John, Susie, Zane, Hannah and the rest of the family!

Jim Nicely
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
I always loved his music, and loved watching him play. I only got to meet him twice, but enjoyed talking to him both times. Raymond was the best of the best to me and always will be.I know he will be missed by so many, as I am sure he had many many friends. My prayers are for you ,his family, and may GOD give you the comfort and peace you will need.GODBLESS.

Danny, and Amy McCullough
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
Fantastic banjo player, and Entertainer. So sorry to hear of his passing. Prayers for the family in their time of sorrow.

Abby Silver
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
So sorry to hear of your loss. May God grant you peace as only he can and may you cherish his memory and legacy.

Bill Knowlton
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
You were the BEST Raymond! Bill Knowlton "Bluegrass Ramble," WCNY-FM, Syracuse NY

alice wyatt powers
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
my friend from our teen years. will miss you dear one. shirley besides his great talent, you made him great, thanks.

Rebecca Howell
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
Go with God, Raymond. Safe journey.

WAYNE/Brenda Slegona
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
Another one to bloom in the Master's Bouquet. We know everyone is aging, but when the end comes to a loved one, it's hard to accept even though we know they're with God now. We loved Raymond and met him personally in Maggie Valley at his Opry House in 2004. I have a video which I did of his whole show. Love and will miss you, Raymond. A true example of a righteous human being.

Leroy Worley
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
We will miss Raymond, Leroy & Patricia Worley.

Eddie and Amy Warren
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
Raymond was a western north Carolina gem! His music will always in our hearts. Our thoughts and prayers to his family during this difficult time.

Joe and Kay Casey
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
I'll never forget Raymond's hospitality. We love the Opry House and even spent our wedding night there. Raymond honored us with front row seats and dedicated a song to us that night. We're sad for the loss and the grief so many will suffer. But he lived a very full and rewarding life. Now he is with the bluegrass greats of his generation at the THE BIG Opry House.

William Woods
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
Sorry to hear of the loss of this unique man. As a fan of the banjo, and a PM of Eureka, IN Masonic Lodge, I can appreciate what this man represents. We should all be grateful for his contributions to our world.

Peter and Tamara Davidyock
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
We only had the opportunity to meet you once Raymond but we will never ever forget you.

Helen Walker, Terry Walker, Sharon Colwell, John Colwell
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
We are so sorry to hear of Raymond's passing. We were so glad we got to come to the Maggie Valley Opry House a few weeks ago to hear Raymond and visit with him and Shirley. He was such a wonderful banjo player. He will be missed. The family is in our prayers.

Ricky C Netherton
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
Dear Family, I am so very sorry for your great loss. I understand that words cannot express the sorrow you feel at this time. I pray the Holy Spirit of God brings you the peace that passes all of our human understanding during this time of grief. You will all be together again in God's time and what a great reunion that will be! To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. Take comfort in Jesus who defeated death and has prepared a place for all that believe in Him. God Bless you all in the name of Jesus Christ.

Jeanie Stanley Allinder
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
I met Raymond several years ago in Dunnellon, Florida, at the Withlacoochee Bluegrass Festival. He put me at ease right away & talked to me fondly of my father. He treated me as if I were family. He was also very helpful when I called & interviewed him for the book Gary Reid is writing about my Dad. Raymond was a true master of the 5-string banjo. He was most definitely a people person. He invited me to come up to Maggie Valley & visit with him & his family. I wish now that I had done that. We're sure going to miss him. What a band he's in now. One day I hope I'll see you again, Raymond.

Karen Holmes (Fairchild)
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
Dearest Fairchild Cousins, We cannot bring back the one we have lost, we can just live in the memories and love he has left behind. I and the Pennsylvania Fairchild Families are with you during this difficult time of your lives sending prayers and love. You have our deepest of sympathies. Many Blessings and May God give you Peace in your hearts, and may the angels surround you all... Truly Yours Karen Rousseau Holmes (Fairchild)

Ross Williams
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
May I offer my condolences in the loss of a good friend and very talented Raymond
Fairchild. I had the honor to be Raymond's Bass Player when The Maggie Valley Boys played in Alaska. Being associated with Raymond has been the one thing in my life I will never forget. We stopped in Maggie Valley to visit with Raymond, Shirley and Family this past March but found the Opry House was closed. I'm sure sorry I missed all of you on that visit. Raymond I have very fond memories of those days in Alaska with you and the others in the Maggie Valley Boys. I have re-lived those days many many times.I remember you and Shirley and little Zane during those days. You have gone to be with the Lord but you will always live in my mind until I come to Join you. Shirley and family you have lost a great man as well as a musician and entertainer just remember that you will not grieve alone. I and I'm positive his many friends are grieving with the loss of a truely wonderful friend. With love Ross, Nancy & Todd Williams

The Langfords
   Posted Wed October 16, 2019
Raymond was just a awesome man and banjo picker. Visited him every time I could being from Florida. He might not remember your name but he always knew his friends had come to see him. Rest In Peace my friend. Our condolences to his wife and family.

Ben Pellom
   Posted Thu October 17, 2019
A great man who lived a great life. It will be many generations, if ever, before a person comes along with his background and talent. His music will live on as long as humans are on this earth. May the Lord bless and keep his devoted wife Shirley and their children.

Ben Pellom
Dalton, GA

Bob and Susie Sizemore
   Posted Thu October 17, 2019
Shirley, We wanted to send you and family our heartfelt condolences when we heard that Raymond had took his journey home! May the Lord be ever so close at this most difficult time, bringing strength, comfort and peace only He can bring. Susie and Bob Sizemore

Ed and Patty Fisher
   Posted Thu October 17, 2019
To the family,
Our deepest sympathies to the family. We were at the Opry House on October 3. There were only 4 people there at the night's performance. But the show went on. We spoke with Raymond and he made us feel like we had known him forever. He was a "people person" and a definite one in a life time talent.

Patricia Parrish
   Posted Thu October 17, 2019
Praying for the family. He was a legend that’s for sure and he will be missed. With deepest sympathy , Woody & Patricia Parrish

Keely Bee
   Posted Thu October 17, 2019
My sincere sympathy to the Raymond Fairchild family. What a blessing he has been to me and so many, not only with his musical talent but also his integrity.
With love and prayers for you all,


Caney Caldwell & Family
   Posted Thu October 17, 2019
My family & I visited the Opry house three times this year. Might say we got hooked, not just by the musical talent, but by the kind & down to earth gentleman Raymond Fairchild. We are most glad to have known him and will miss him. Our thoughts & prayers are with all his family.

Gail Bailey
   Posted Fri October 18, 2019
The family of Floyd Wilson offers sympathy to all of you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you! Our father, Floyd Wilson played blue grass music with Raymond back in the day. We grew up having Raymond in our home and hearing his wonderful music. Heaven is now hearing blue grass music with Raymond and Floyd playing again at the feet of Jesus! God bless all until we can join them and spend eternity.

Somer Webb
   Posted Fri October 18, 2019
Uncle Raymond, you will be so missed! Your talent was like none other, your character was truly special. Praying for your family as they mourn your loss, we love you!

Rebecca Howell
   Posted Fri October 18, 2019
Rest in well earned peace Raymond. Safe journey.

Remus & Linda Keen
   Posted Fri October 18, 2019
It is so heartbreaking to hear about Raymond. We will always treasure the times we spent together at the Opry House. Remus enjoyed all the times they got to pick together and I enjoyed being there to watch. We enjoyed the Tennessee Home Coming and meeting so many wonderful musicians and fans. Prayers for comfort for you all. Raymond was very special and one of a kind. He was a Great Banjo Picker and a Friend.

Karen Kessler Church
   Posted Sat October 19, 2019
Raymond has been an inspiration to me through his music. You will be missed. Keeping family in my thoughts and prayers.

Cheryl Gumz
   Posted Sun October 20, 2019
I have many wonderful memories of Raymond... living at Buck Hill Campground with my Mom and Dad - working, pickin and grinnin... Going to bluegrass festivals on Gentleman Bill's bus..and visiting the Opry House...There will never be another man like him! There's a better home a-waiting in the sky, lord, in the sky... R.I.P. Raymond...

Jeff Brown
   Posted Sun October 20, 2019
John, Donna and I are sorry to hear of the passing of your Father. Our prayers are with you and your family.

Naomi R Crawford
   Posted Sun October 20, 2019
We were very sorry to hear of Raymond's passing our prayers go out to Shirley and the family. Roger was so fond of Raymond and loved to sit and talk with him all the time when we came to visit Maggie Valley ... he was very sorry we could not see him the last time we were down...he wanted to come down for his memorial but he is not doing well, we loved to buy his shine and bring it back home to our family... he was a great musician and a wonderful person...he will surely be missed.. Roger & Naomi Crawford Charlottesville, VA

Z. F.
   Posted Mon October 28, 2019
Dad…I love you with all my heart. I will see you again.

   Posted Wed November 20, 2019
To my Precious Father! Oh how my Heart aches for you. I will rejoice the day I am reunited with you. I love you so very much!

Darrell W. Redding
   Posted Sat December 07, 2019
My mother and I enjoyed coming to the Opry House whenever we vacationed in the Great Smokies. The highlight of our trip always was to relax and enjoy the great music Raymond and his band played. I just now found out about his passing and wanted to send my family's condolences and prayers to his family and close friends. Raymond, you leave a legacy of music that we won't ever forget and will always enjoy.

Darrell Redding
Northport, Alabama

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