The Oak Ridge Boys’ Joe Bonsall Passes Away at 76

Bonsall was a 50-year member of the legendary country group.


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

July 9, 2024


10:26 am

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Joe Bonsall; Photo by Jon Mir

Joe Bonsall, a longtime member of The Oak Ridge Boys, passed away this morning, July 9, 2024, at the age of 76. His full name was Joseph S. Bonsall and he resided in Hendersonville, Tennessee. 

Bonsall passed away due to complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). 

According to a press release, 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 preceded in death by his parents, Joseph S. Bonsall Sr. and Lillie Bonsall.

Joe Bonsall poses for a photo.
Joe Bonsall; Photo Courtesy Indie Bling Studio

Joe Bonsall was a beloved member of The Oak Ridge Boys, a member of the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Philadelphia Music Hall of Fame, the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame.

Bonsall, an author of 11 books, will release his latest work, a memoir titled I See Myself, this November. Joe had a passion for singing, reading, writing, and playing the banjo. He cherished working on the farm and was a devoted Philadelphia Phillies fan. However, above all, his faith in Jesus and his love for his family were paramount in his life.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The ALS Association or to the Vanderbilt Medical Center ALS and Neuroscience Research Center.

Joe Bonsall; Photo by Daniel Tommasino
Joe Bonsall; Photo by Daniel Tommasino

Earlier this year, Bonsall announced plans to retire from touring with The Oak Ridge Boys to focus on his health. 

“Many of you know I have been battling a slow onset (over four years now) of a neuromuscular disorder. I am now at a point where walking is impossible, so I have basically retired from the road,” he stated. 

The singer truthfully admitted that touring has “gotten too difficult.” He later reflected on his five-decade run as part of the award-winning group. 

The Oak Ridge Boys; Photo by Photo by Brandon Wood
The Oak Ridge Boys; Photo by Photo by Brandon Wood

“It has been a great 50 years, and I am thankful to all the Oak Ridge Boys, band, crew, and staff for the constant love and support shown to me through it all. I will never forget, and for those of you who have been constantly holding me up in prayer, I thank you and ask for you to keep on praying,” he shared.

Bonsall was replaced by Ben James (Doyle Lawson, Dailey & Vincent) for the remainder of The Oak Ridge Boys’ farewell tour. 

“There is a young man named Ben James singing for me out there, and he needs your love and encouragement … his sound is different than mine, but he brings a ton of talent to the table,” Bonsall said at the time. “The Oak Ridge Boys will finish the Farewell Tour without me, but rest assured, I am good with all of it! God’s Got It!!!”

The Oak Ridge Boys have tour dates planned throughout the rest of 2024.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.