Father of Cadillac Three singer Jaren Johnston dies at 65
Former Grand Ole Opry drummer Jerry Ray Johnston, whose son Jaren Johnston followed him into the music industry as lead singer and guitarist for the Cadillac Three, has died.
According to his online obituary, Johnston died Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at age 65 in the rural Nashville suburb of Franklin, Tenn., after battling COVID pneumonia.
Born in Monroe, Louisiana on September 8, 1956, Johnston moved to Nashville at age 24 to pursue a career as a drummer. His 40-year career has seen him drumming for a wide range of country artists, and he was also a drummer in country band Bandana, which recorded for Warner Bros. Nashville from 1982 to 1986. This band released a string of country radio singles, scoring two Top 20 hits with “The Killin’ Kind” in 1982 and “Outside Lookin’ In” in 1983.
He then landed a gig as the drummer for the Grand Ole Opry, fulfilling the dream he had set for himself when he moved from Louisiana to Nashville. His memorial says he focused on helping other musicians who made the decision to move to Nashville, networking with them to help them find work. He also volunteered to play drums in his church’s “Little Band That Could” whenever called upon.
Johnston is remembered as an enthusiastic cook whose Thanksgiving gatherings were open to anyone who wanted to come. He is also remembered as a devoted husband and father who made time for all his children’s school games and functions, and later was a frequent presence in the crowd at Cadillac Three concerts. , flying out for as many shows as possible. he could.
Johnston is survived by his wife of 45 years, Karen Roark Johnston; children, Jaren Ray Johnston (Evyn) and Texa Rae Johnston; one grandson, Jude Daniel Johnston; brothers, Jody Lane Johnston (Judy), Randy McKnight (Diane) and Jimmy Johnston (Deborah); uncles Billy Johnston (Irene) and Clifford Johnston (Novis). He also had 4 brothers-in-law and a sister-in-law, as well as several nieces and nephews.
Johnston was buried in his native Louisiana at his request, in a private service in West Monroe with his brother-in-law, Robin Roark, an officer. A memorial service in Tennessee will follow, details of which have not been announced.
The family is asking for donations to Music Cares, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, the Wounded Warriors Project or charity of their choice in lieu of flowers.
Jaren Johnston took to social media to honor his father’s memory with a series of happy photos from his life, writing: “Dad, thank you for everything. I will always text you whenever something happens. cool happens in my life I’ll probably call you again every time I try to take a shortcut down a side road in Nashville to get somewhere faster I’ll try to learn how to make Mexican cornbread for Mom and Texa…and most importantly, I’ll never forget how much love I’ve felt my whole life. I’ll make sure Jude feels the same love every day.”
The singer and guitarist also gave his followers a grim warning, sharing that his father tested positive for COVID, entered hospital and died within just weeks.
“And if you’re reading this and you have someone in your life who doesn’t want to get vaccinated for whatever reason, I’m going to tell you this… My dad chose not to be vaccinated and would have had a chance to live if he was,” he wrote. “My Superman fell in 3 weeks. This virus is not a political joke. It’s real. It’s scary. mine. I’m not sure I’ll get over one.”
In memory of the country stars who passed away in 2021:
May they rest in peace…