Title: U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 (database)
Publication: citing Social Security Administration, Social Security Death Index, Master File
Note: 1930 U.S. Federal Census [see father's listing]
Publication: Daily News-Record (Harrisonburg, Virginia) Published: March 28, 2003 Headline: Jessie S. Irvin Jessie Smith "Smitty" Irvin, 73, Hartwood, died Monday, March 24, 2003, at Mary Washington Hospital. Mr. Irvin was a well-known bluegrass musician and had held the world title of five-string banjo champion for five years and was named a member of the "First Generation" pioneer of bluegrass music by the International Bluegrass Museum. He was a Korean War veteran. He is survived by a daughter, Jessica Lynn Irvin of White Oak; two brothers, George Irvin of Louisa and Roy Irvin of Holladay, Tenn.; five sisters, Myrtle Green of Shelby, N.C., Donnis Lail and Nancy Carmouche, both of Locust Grove, Reba Turner of Ooltewah, Tenn., and Brenda Mullins of New Hope, and two grandchildren. A memorial service will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday at White Oak Rescue Squad. Please come as you are. Covenant Funeral Service in Frdericksburg is in charge of arrangements.
Publication: The Free Lance-Star Published: 4/1/2003 Headline: Friends and family pay tribute to a bluegrass pioneer - Local bluegrass star Smitty Irvin brought an original style and a background that was in his blood to a world of fans. Byline: Rob Hedelt Donnis Lail says it's a good thing her brother, Hartwood's own Smitty Irvin, became a world-known musician and bluegrass pioneer with his banjo and piercing tenor. The Orange County resident says her Stafford County brother, who died last week, didn't get much of an education because he just couldn't stand school. "He and another brother--there were nine of us growing up in a little sharecropper's house in Shelby, N.C.--used to tell the teacher they needed to use the bathroom, then crawl out the window and walk several miles back home," she said. "Smitty didn't want to do anything but try to fix stuff and play music." The latter worked out pretty well for Irvin, by any measure. His talent was never in question, especially on the banjo, the instrument he used to win the national banjo pickin' title four times in the 1950s. Commercial success came as well, once Irvin followed his father, H.G. "Curly" Irvin, to Washington, playing the bluegrass music that had filled the Irvins' North Carolina home with the sounds of banjos, fiddles, mandolins and more from players who stopped in most nights. Before long, the five-string, three-finger style that Irvin's grandfather had helped pioneer had earned Smitty a spot in a band called the Texas Wildcats, which became the house band for a morning show hosted by a relatively new country and bluegrass musician in Washington, D.C. His name was Jimmy Dean and, in more than a dozen years on the air in Washington, he and his house band played with all the rising bluegrass and country stars, a cavalcade that include names like Roy Clark, Patsy Cline, Buck Owens and many more. Irvin also played with another group of bluegrass stars who drew legions of fans, Bill Harrell and the Virginians. Mark Newton of Stafford, the son of a bandmate of Irvin's who has become a bluegrass star in his own right, said it's not overstating it to call Smitty Irvin a bluegrass pioneer. "He came from an area rich in traditional bluegrass," said Newton, "the home of people like Earl Scruggs and others, bringing to the forefront that five-string, three-finger roll that was so different from the traditional claw-hammer style of playing." Newton said he was inspired by Irvin and other bluegrass pioneers he got to meet while with his father, Frog Newton, an accomplished bluegrass musician as well. Newton, who joined others at a memorial service at White Oak Rescue Squad on Sunday where Irvin's life and career were celebrated, said generations of fans have enjoyed Irvin's talented banjo playing and his singing. "But as a youngster, I was so impressed to be around one of the original bluegrass pioneers, that first generation of bluegrass players who made the music well known in this country and around the world," Newton said. Newton said that although Irvin was an extremely talented player, it was his stage presence and natural, "raised on it" feel for the music that made him special. Lail, who came with other family members when her father and Smitty made Hartwood home in the late 1960s, said her brother was almost as good at fixing things as he was at playing the banjo, a talent that has earned him spots in a bluegrass museum and a hall of fame. "In the junkyard he owned off Route 17 in Stafford, or at home, he was always working on some car or fixing a clock or a radio," said Lail. "He called it piddlin', but he could fix anything you put in front of him, from a guitar to a Corvair, which he developed a real knack for fixing." Whether for his music, his family connections or his flair with a wrench and screwdriver, Irvin's loss makes our community a little poorer. The consolation for music fans, especially those who love bluegrass: His recorded music will live on and entertain fans for generations. ROB HEDELT can be reached at The Free Lance-Star, 616 Amelia St., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401; by fax at 373-8455; by phone at 374-5415; or by e-mail at rhedelt@freelance star.com.
Bluegrass Generations - November 22, 2005 Name: Irvin, Smitty Born: 1930 State: NC Died: 2003 Age: 73 Gender: Male First recorded: 1957 at age 27 Last recorded: 1965 at age 35 Instrument: Banjo [Source: http://www.fredbartenstein.com/bggensprd.html]
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