Wade Mainer Obituary

Music legend and Briarhopper friend, Wade Mainer, passed away,  Here is his obituary from his hometown paper in Flint, MI:

MAINER, Wade E. - Of Flint, age 104, died Monday, September 12, 2011 at his residence. Funeral service will be held 11 a.m. Friday, September 16, 2011 at the Swartz Funeral Home, 1225 West Hill Road, Flint, Pastor Butch Martin, Reverend Ernest Davis and Reverend Darrell Milliman co-officiating. Burial in Crestwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Deliverance Tabernacle, G-4089 Fenton Rd., Burton, MI 48529, Carriage Town Ministries, 605 Garland St., Flint, MI 48502, Feed The Children, P.O. Box 36, Oklahoma City, OK 73101, 1-800-462-8948. Visitation 11 a.m - 8 p.m. Thursday at the Swartz Funeral Home, 1225 West Hill Road, Flint. Wade was born in Weaverville, NC on April 21, 1907. He married Julia Brown on November 28, 1937. He attended Deliverance Tabernacle. Mr. Mainer was employed by General Motors for 18 years, retiring in 1972 and was a member of UAW Local #659. Wade was considered the grandfather of Blue Grass Music and was the oldest living recording artist. He was a pioneer in Blue Grass and Country music. Surviving are wife, Julia; sons, William Frank and wife Eva of North Carolina, Kelly of Flint and Randall J. and wife Carma of Grand Blanc; daughter, Polly Hofmeister and husband Ralph Frederick of Rochester Hills, Michigan; two grandchildren, Stacie and husband Stephan Hoffmann of California and Todd and wife Andrea Hofmeister of Illinois; three great-grandchildren, Melina Hoffmann, Sophia and Benjamin Hofmeister; several step-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son, Leon Spain, in 1985. Your condolences may be shared with the family at swartzfuneralhomeinc.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!