David Deese's Obituary in the Salisbury Post

SALISBURY - Clonnie "David" Deese, Jr., 69, passed away Sunday afternoon, March 13, 2011, at Rowan Regional Medical Center.

Born July 9, 1941, in Rowan County, he was the son of the late CD "Tom" Sr. and Lizzie Ludwig Deese. He was a 1959 graduate of Granite Quarry High School, a graduate of Salisbury Business College and a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church.

Mr. Deese served our country in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam era and was an accountant and tax service preparer for more than 37 years, owning Deese Accounting and Bookkeeping.

David began playing and performing music at age 12 with his father, Tom Deese. His love of good music led him to become an accomplished professional bluegrass musician, playing his banjo for people such as Arthur Smith, Bill Monroe, Red Smiley, The Jones Brothers, Betty Fisher and the WBT Briarhoppers.

He was inducted into the International Bluegrass Museum in Owensboro, Ky., and was made a Kentucky colonel. He received several Lifetime Achievement Awards in North and South Carolina, including the N.C. Heritage Award.

Mr. Deese was also a member of Keller Memorial Lodge, Oasis Shrine Temple, Rowan Shrine Club and Order of Eastern Star in Rockwell.

Surviving family members include his wife, Barbara Bernhardt Deese, whom he married June 11, 1961; his daughter, Connie Dee Christman; his sister, Nina Deese Ridenhour and husband Don, both of Salisbury; grandchildren Connor Allen and Strider Lee Christman; and a number of nieces and nephews.

Visitation and Service: The family will receive friends Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. and Wednesday 2-3 p.m. at Linn-Honeycutt Funeral Home in China Grove. Funeral will be at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the funeral home chapel, conducted by the Revs. William Ketchie and George Kluttz. Burial will follow in St. Paul's Lutheran Church Cemetery.

Memorials: May be made to Rowan Regional Hospice, 720 Grove St., Salisbury, NC 28144; St. Paul's Lutheran Church, 205 St. Paul's Church Road, Salisbury, NC 28146; Shriner's Children's Hospital, P.O. Box 560666, Charlotte, NC 28256; Order of the Eastern Star Scholarship Fund, Attn: Fredia Nettles, P.O. Box 61660, Apex, NC 27502-9998; or to the donor's choice.

Online condolences may be made at www.linnhoneycuttfuneralhome.com

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The Legendary Briarhoppers!

In 1934, a potential advertiser called WBT's Charles Crutchfield to ask if the station had a hillbilly band to help advertise its products. Telling a fib, Crutch said "Yes," which led to the birth of the Briarhoppers. The name comes from WBT announcer Bill Bivens who, during a hunting trip with Crutch, was startled by a rabbit jumping out of a thicket, and Bill yelled, "Look at that briarhopper!" At that moment, Crutch found the name for his hillbilly band.

The original band members were Johnny McAllister, Big Bill Davis, Don White, Thorpe Westerfield, Clarence Etters, and Jane Bartlett. The last original 1934 Briarhopper, Don White, died in 2003. Billie Burton Daniel, who joined the group in 1936, is happy and well in Wilmington, NC. Since that time, The Briarhoppers' fans are/were Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs (who filled in on banjo a few times), Curly Seckler, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and many other entertainment stars.

In keeping with the tradition, the band kept going through the years by adding new musicians to those who left the station or who died. Today, Alana Flowers and Tom Warlick head the band with their stage show including the old Briarhopper songs, new songs, and the original scripted commercials of Peruna, Kolor-Bak, Zymole Trokeys, and Radio Girl Perfume! Enjoy this site and learn about the Briarhoppers' storied past and the bright future that is ahead. Don't turn that dial...Hit's Briarhopper Time!