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Jerry Stephen Lightsey

Obituary for Jerry Stephen Lightsey

January 23, 1935 - October 25, 2017
Austin, Texas | Age 82


Music is always in the air in Austin and Central Texas but the venue has changed for one of its noted bass player's, Jerry Stephen Lightsey, aged 82.

Jerry passed away October 25, 2017 after battling Parkinson's for several years. He was born January 23, 1935 in Austin, Texas to Stephen Monroe Lightsey and Pansy Sutton Lightsey.

He was preceded in death by his parents, three sisters; Mignon Wagener, Louise Marie Graham and Yvonne Duderstadt, brothers Kenneth and Donald Lightsey, also daughter DeLeslyn Lightsey, grandson Joseph Debeneato and granddaughter, Kayla Crumley.

Jerry is survived by his sister Jo Larue Stannard of Buda, his son Steve Lee Lightsey of Tahlequah, Ok, daughter Dawn Dennette Stone of Round Rock, husband Michael, Kimberley Rodgers of San Angelo, Jerry is also survived by the Love of his Life, Louise Owen Lightsey. Also surviving him are 6 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild, numerous nieces and nephews, family members and a host of dear friends and large host of musician friends from coast to coast.

He grew up and lived in Austin all of his life. At the age of fifteen, his father instilled a lifelong love of music by teaching him to play the guitar and upright bass. His father Steve Lightsey had the first western swing band in Austin during the nineteen fifties. Jerry started playing with some friends in junior high school. They played parks in the Austin area including music shows at Zilker Hillside Theater. Jerry joined a band in the early fifties and played dances in the central Texas area.

In 1957, Jerry volunteered to join the US Army. He was stationed with the US Army in Stuttgart, Germany as a Peace Keeper. Upon arriving on Post, the first thing he did was purchase an upright bass and gathered musicians to play in the NCO club and other gigs. He was honorably discharged in 1959.

After his time in the Army he played with Aubrey Lowden, Jack Hill, Buck Fowler and the Black Diamonds, Dave Perry and the Swing Boys, Marsha Karr, Dan James, Bobby Roberts and the Ramblers, Adolph Hofner and the Pearl Ramblers, and Doug and the Swing Boys. These gigs were played at Club 21, Gils Club, The Skyline, The Broken Spoke, The Hilltop Café, Big G's, and Dessau Hall. In recent years Jerry has played with the Over the Hill Gang from Austin, with Jody Meredith, Dowell Smith, Joe Villegas, Junior Burrow, Jim Brown, Jimmy Grabowske, and Ray Tesmer and with his own band The Five Strings. On May 17, 2014 he was honored by his induction into the Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame. Jerry's humor and quick wit laced with stories "Mostly about himself" that was reflected in the music business card that showed him in true character and stating, "Crazy Bass Player & All Around Nut"!!!!!!!!

Jerry loved fishing. Every chance he got, he would escape out to the lake or the coast with dear friends and family. He and Louise travelled extensively and loved to go to new and exciting places with their close friends.

In his spare time from music and fishing, Jerry was a plumber and pipefitter for over fifty years. He was a member the Plumbers and Pipefitters Union Local #286, also Hill City Masonic Lodge #456, Scottish Rite, and Ben Hur Shrine of Austin. He served as a deacon and elder of South Austin Christian Church. He was also a member of local charities and clubs that served the greater Austin community.

Visitation will be held from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm on Monday, October 30, 2017 at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home 2620 South Congress with Funeral Service to begin at 1:30 pm. Interment will follow at Jeffrey Cemetery, McMahan, Texas. In lieu of flowers, the family ask for donations to be made to Shriners Hospital or a charity of your choice.

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Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home South

2620 S. Congress Ave
Austin, TX 78704
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