John Townsend 2015

      John was born on August 16, 1926 to Elmer and Lois Townsend in
Chicota, Texas. He first heard the fiddle as a young boy while
listening to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio and from that
moment on, he developed a love for Old Time Fiddling. At the age
of 14, he saved up enough to acquire his first fiddle and taught
himself to play both the fiddle and guitar. He was heavily
influenced by Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys, along with many
     After graduating from Chicota High School, he was drafted into
service during World War II, but luckily was just out of basic
training when the war ended. He then moved to Aransas Pass,
Texas and started working at the Reynolds Aluminum Plant. Soon
after he met his one true love, Pat and they were married in 1952.
The two had a son, Gordon and a daughter, Rhonda, and resided
in Aransas until his retirement 34 years later.
     John began playing, judging and accompanying other fiddlers in
contests throughout Texas in the early sixties and continued
throughout his life. He held many jam sessions at his home over
the years. John was known for welcoming any musician into his home at any time. He considered them part of
his “Music Family”. His wife, Pat, was only too happy to keep everyone fed and many enjoyed themselves while
fiddling went well into the night. He couldn’t have been happier than when his son Gordon started playing the
fiddle around age seven, and they competed in many contest over the years. What could be more satisfying
than being able to share his love of the fiddle with his only son? John was always ready to help anyone
interested in learning to play and many came to him for instruction over the years. Keeping the tradition alive
was extremely important to him.
     John has a great deal of admiration for Major Franklin, a well-known fiddler inducted in the Hall of Fame in
1979. His greatest moments were spent at jam sessions either playing or listening to Major accompanied by
Omega Burden playing “Billy in the Low Ground” and “Durang’s Hornpipe”.
After retirement, John and Pat moved to Kirbyville, Texas where they lived until his death in 1994. He continued
to attend and play in contests, jam sessions, town parades, firemen auxiliary functions and nursing homes until
his illness would not permit.
     In addition to playing the fiddle, John was known for his generosity and willingness to aid any musician who
needed his help. Over the years, he gave away many fiddles to those who couldn’t afford to buy their own. His
greatest friends were the musicians he played with through the years. He would have been so proud and
honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame for something he loved so much, let alone being inducted with his
son. Without a shadow of doubt, John Townsend is in Heaven beaming with pride.

Rhonda Townsend Aldridge