William Lee Golden Mourns the Loss of Son Rusty and Bandmate Joe Bonsall in the Same Week: ‘The Sadness Continues’

William Lee Golden Faces Consecutive Tragedies

The Oak Ridge Boys’ own William Lee Golden has endured the profound losses of both his son Rusty and his longtime bandmate Joe Bonsall recently

“It’s been a challenging year for the Oak Ridge Boys. In January, Joe Bonsall announced his retirement following a distinguished 50-year tenure with the group.

Bonsall revealed his struggle with a progressive neuromuscular disorder over the last four years in a statement on X. ‘Walking has become impossible, leading me to retire from touring. The road has become too difficult,’ he explained. ‘It has been an incredible 50 years, and I am deeply grateful for the unwavering love and support from the Oak Ridge Boys’ band, crew, and staff throughout this journey.'”

In March, tragedy struck again for the Oak Ridge Boys when Duane Allen announced the passing of his wife, Norah Lee Allen, after 54 years of marriage. She was 76.

“During her final moments, we spent time singing to her, sharing stories, and cherishing every second we had with her on this Earth,” Allen shared.

The Oak Ridge Boys faced another heartbreaking event as William Lee Golden’s son, Rusty, passed away on July 1 at the age of 65.

“Rusty was everyone’s friend and a gifted songwriter, singer, and musician. We love you, Rusty, and we will see you on the other side,” the Oaks expressed in a statement following his passing.

Addressing the Loss of Joe Bonsall After Rusty’s Passing
Just eight days following the death of Rusty, Joe Bonsall also passed away. The Oak Ridge Boys shared details of his death through a press release:

“Joseph S. Bonsall, aged 76, from Hendersonville, Tennessee, passed away on July 9, 2024, due to complications from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” the statement announced. “He is survived by his beloved wife, Mary Ann, daughters Jennifer and Sabrina, granddaughter Breanne, grandson Luke, two great grandsons, Chance and Grey, and his sister, Nancy. He was predeceased by his parents, Joseph S. Bonsall Sr. and Lillie Bonsall.”

William Lee Golden responded to Bonsall’s death with a poignant Facebook post on Tuesday (July 9).

He reposted the Oak Ridge Boys’ official statement and added the caption, “Sadness continues,” accompanied by a broken heart emoji. His brief remark conveyed the profound grief he is enduring after the loss of both his cherished son and bandmate in such quick succession.

Fans rallied around Golden and the rest of the Oak Ridge Boys, expressing their condolences and support in the comments section:

“So sorry for another loss! Wishing you all continued healing, strength, and prayers!”

“I’m devastated for everyone… This has truly been a tough year for the entire ORB family. Praying that the good Lord grants everyone peace.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss, sir.”

“This is so sad. My husband and I have enjoyed many Oak Ridge Boys concerts. Sending prayers to all involved.”

“Lost a great friend, a great human, and a great singer. My prayers are with you, WLG.”




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