Beloved “Hee Haw” Star Roni Stoneman Dies At Age 85

Beloved “Hee Haw” Star Roni Stoneman Dies At Age 85 | Classic Country Music | Legendary Stories and Songs Videos

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Roni Stoneman Dies – The Hee Haw Star & “The First Lady Of The Banjo” Was 85

Musician and comedian Roni Stoneman, who served as a longtime member of the Hee Haw cast, has died. She was 85 years old. Billboard confirmed she passed away on Thursday (February 22).

Veronica Loretta Stoneman was born on May 5, 1938 to her parents Hattie and Ernest V. “Pop” Stoneman. Roni was the second youngest of the couple’s 23 children.

Roni seemed to inherit her love for music from her father. He was a bluegrass musician himself, most well-known for recording “The Sinking of the Titanic” in 1925.

As Roni grew, she started to participate in her family’s band, appropriately named The Stoneman Family. The group went on to win a competition hosted by Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts in 1956.

Roni started playing banjo in the group in 1960. They released two projects for Starday Records before going on to record for MGM and World-Pacific.

Additionally, The Stoneman Family got their own syndicated television show during the 1960s called Those Stonemans. The 60s were a good decade for the group, as they earned multiple hit singles, including “Tupelo County Jail” and “The Five Little Johnson Girls.”

The Stoneman Family was named the Vocal Group of the Year at the inaugural CMA Awards in 1967.

Roni’s History As A Hee Haw Cast Member

Roni left The Stoneman Family in 1971. Soon after, she joined the cast of Hee Haw, a comedic and musical variety show with a country setting. She remained a member of the cast for 18 years.

The talented musician showcased her banjo skills on the show. She also demonstrated her comedic talent, and was known for playing the hilarious “Iron Board Lady” Ida Lee Nagger.

Roni also participated in the recurring “PFFT! You Was Gone!” skit, which was always hysterical. She would perform the song in character as Ida Lee.

Hee Haw Star Roni Stoneman Dies At Age 85
Here, Ronie Stoneman is pictured in character on “Hee Haw” as Ida Lee Nagger. Photo Credit:

Roni remained active as a performer in the later years of her life. She and her sister, Donna, were the last two surviving members of the Stoneman Family following the death of their older sister Patsy in 2015.

Roni joined the ranks of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in 2021 when her family was inducted into the Hall.

Country Music Hall Of Fame CEO Kyle Young Releases Statement About Roni Stoneman’s Death

Kyle Young, the CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, released a statement about Roni’s passing. He said:

For Roni Stoneman, known as ‘The First Lady of the Banjo,’ country music was a birthright and her life’s work. The second youngest of twenty-three children born to Hattie and Ernest ‘Pop’ Stoneman, Roni was an integral part of a bedrock country music family, who were longtime fixtures in the country music scene of Washington, DC. For eighteen years on ‘Hee Haw,’ she stole scenes as both a skillful banjo player and as a comical, gap-toothed country character. She was a great talent and a strong woman.”

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Roni’s family, friends, and fans during this difficult time. May she rest in peace.

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