I found out earlier this morning that Charlie Collins has passed away at the age of 78. Charlie was born in 1933 near Caryville, Tennessee. After serving in the Army, he joined the Pinnacle Mountain Boys and after entering the Pet Milk talent contest, they made it all the way to the Grand Ole Opry. In 1966, Charlie moved to Nashville and joined up with Roy Acuff, becoming one of the Smoky Mountain Boys. He remained a member until Roy's death in 1992, after which Charlie played guitar with Brother Oswald. Charlie also was part of the Opry's Squaredance Band with Earl White, continuing in that role through last week's Opry show.
I had the pleasure of meeting Charlie one time and that was in Opryland back in the 1990s. He was friendly and I enjoyed meeting him. He even signed a birthday card for my wife. People tell me he was a joy to have around the Opry and he will be missed.
I know Charlie was not an official member of the Opry, but he has been a part of the show for the last 45 years. I hope that during this weekend's shows Pete Fisher will give a special mention to Charlie and that the shows will be dedicated to him. For sure, I would expect something to be said when the squaredancers come out for their performance.
Prayers and thoughts go to Charlie's family through this difficult time.