Fun_People Archive
30 Apr
Odell Thompson killed in accident

Date: Sat, 30 Apr 94 19:29:05 PDT
To: Fun_People
Subject: Odell Thompson killed in accident

[People who went to the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes last year will
remember Odell and will know what a loss the following message describes... -psl]

From: Bill Evans <wge@ACPUB.DUKE.EDU>

It is with sadness and regret that I pass along the following news:

Odell Thompson, the African-American old-time banjo player of Mebane, North
Carolina, was hit by an automobile and killed outside the grounds of the
Watson festival on Thursday night, April 28th. If I am not mistaken, his
first-cousin Joe Thompson, who plays the fiddle, and Bob Carlin were with
him at the time. Joe and Odell were scheduled to perform for the weekend at
the Merle Watson Memorial Festival. After the accident, Bob Carlin drove
Joe back to this home in Mebane to be with the Thompson family. As of
Saturday morning, funeral plans were not firm; however, Bob told me that a
funeral would likely take place on Monday or Tuesday.

The incident was not result of any problems with arrangements and/or
security at the Watson Festival site, as it occurred off the grounds of the
festival. Odell was born August 9, 1911 and was raised in northeastern
Orange County, North Carolina. He was an important, vibrant representative
of the black string band tradition, perhaps the last of his generation who
played old-time banjo more or less exclusively within the string band

As I am soon to be off-line, I invite all those who attended the Watson
Festival to share more information as it becomes known.

[=] © 1994 Peter Langston []