By Paul T. Choate
June 4, 2012. On Sunday, June 3, around 400 people turned out at the Laurel Springs Baptist Church in Deep Gap for the legendary High Country musician Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson’s funeral.
“We’ve had people call and say it was the most wonderful service and tribute that could have been done for Doc,” said Greg Hampton, of Hampton Funeral Services of Boone.
Hampton said he estimated the turnout at around 400 because he had 500 packets of worship printed and “only a few were left.”
Though a service can never be totally void of grief, the message was that of love for Doc Watson. As many have said, maybe Watson is finally reunited with his beloved son Merle.
David Watson, brother of Doc Watson, told High Country Press on Monday, June 4, that he wondered if his brother and his late wife Betty Jo Watson were talking in Heaven.
The service on Sunday saw many familiar faces from the folk and country music world, including Sam Bush, T. Michael Coleman, David Holt, The Kruger Brothers and others, as well as Watson’s manager Mitch Greenhill.
“There were probably about 12 musicians that had either performed at MerleFest or somewhere else with him there,” said Hampton.
Hampton said that due to scheduling conflicts, Randy Travis was unable to attend the funeral but sent a pre-recorded message.
According to Hampton, the service lasted a little over 90 minutes.
After the service, Watson was taken to his final resting place, the Doc and Merle Watson Cemetery.
To view Watson’s obituary on the Hampton Funeral Services website, click here.
Rest in peace, Doc.