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Oak Ridge Boys Tenor Joe Bonsall, a Self-Proclaimed ‘Light for Christ,’ Dies

Share Tweet By Tr Goins-Phillips Editor
July 9, 2024

A tenor with the famed Oak Ridge Boys, Joe Bonsall, has died. The Country Hall of Famer was 76.

The longtime singer died Tuesday from complications due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Bonsall retired from touring about six months ago, after announcing he had been diagnosed with the aforementioned disorder five years prior, according to The Tennesseean.

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“Bonsall, of Hendersonville, Tennessee, passed on to Glory on July 9, 2024, from complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis,” his family said in a statement. “He leaves behind his precious wife, Mary Ann, daughters Jennifer and Sabrina, granddaughter Breanne, grandson Luke, two great-grandsons, Chance and Grey, and a sister, Nancy. He is preceded in death by his parents, Joseph S. Bonsall, Sr., and Lillie Bonsall.”

In addition to being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Bonsall was a member of the Philadelphia Music Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

The late singer also has a memoir, “I See Myself,” slated for release in November.

“Joe loved to sing,” the family’s statement continued. “He loved to read. He loved to write. He loved to play banjo. He loved working on the farm. And he loved the Philadelphia Phillies. But Jesus and his family always came first and we will see him again on the Promised Day.”

Bonsall was over the years very open and comfortable talking about his faith in Jesus.

In a 2015 interview with Bible Gateway, the country singer-songwriter said he was at ease talking openly about his Christian beliefs.

“I have never found it difficult to be a light for Christ,” he said. “I dont think its any more difficult than doing anything else with your life. There are always temptations and Satan is everywhere. The battle between doing what is right or slipping away is everyones personal decision, no matter what their vocation.”

As for his salvation, Bonsall said it was Christian kids who lived near him growing up as well as his mother who led him to trusting in Jesus as his savior.

“I was heavily influenced by Christian kids in my neighborhood in Philadelphia that never gave up on me,” he reflected. “But mostly it was my mother who taught me about Jesus and the Bible.”

News of Bonsall’s passing comes on the heels of the announcement that William “Rusty” Golden, the son of fellow Oak Ridge Boys singer William Lee Golden, died suddenly.

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