On February 10th, 2021 the family and music community began to mourn the loss of Lee “Lee Boy” Sexton of Linefork, KY. He was the middle of 3 children born to the late Emmitt and Vina Campbell Sexton of Ulvah. As widely told by Lee, he purchased his first banjo at age 7 and was still playing as recently as 2 weeks before his death.
In his near 85-year music career, Lee played for friends and neighbors while headlining workshops, concerts, movies, documentaries, college campuses and festivals. His cameo in Coal Miner’s Daughter, appearance on Smithsonian Folkways album (Smithsonian Institute Washington, DC) performance at the Kentucky Derby, and presentation of the 1999 Governor’s Award in the Arts were a few special distinctions in his life.
Lee was preceded in death by his parents, brother James, son Philip, and first wife Genevia. Those left to grieve are his wife of 48 years, Opal along with his sister Othelle Caudill. Also remaining are his lone son Johnny (Debbie) Sexton, grandson Damon (Samantha), grand-daughters Kim Brewer and Stacey Sexton. Lee leaves 6 grandsons; Landon, Andrew, Leyton, and Kingsley Sexton with Chance and Kade Brewer. There are too many other friends, family and neighbors to name.
Although we are all saddened and empty in this moment, the thousands of students nationwide that sat under his instruction will keep our hearts full of the fondest memories of a true pioneer to the drop thumb method of picking. His larger than life personality, hospitality, story-telling, and simplicity personified the people of Appalachia.
Funeral 1:00 P.M. Sunday, February 14, 2021 at the Letcher Funeral Home Chapel with Damon Sexton officiating. Visitation 6:00 P.M. Saturday, February 13, 2021 at the Letcher Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will follow on the Press Whitaker Cemetery.
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