Dorothy W. Acuff, 86, of Maryville, Tennessee passed away on July 4 after a long period of declining health. She is survived by her husband of 57 years, old-time fiddler Charlie Acuff. She will be especially remembered for the warmth and hospitality she showed toward their many visitors. The Acuff home was often filled with string band music and laughter from the parade of appreciative musicians there to share a tune or story. Dorothy acted as hostess, and would sometimes chime in with her husband on favorite songs such as “Better Times a-Coming.” Below are some memories and thoughts about Dorothy Acuff that friends have shared.
Dorothy played tambourine and sang with Charlie when he fiddled at the Museum of Appalachia and at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. She was also a regular backstage guest at the Grand Ole Opry and at the Breaking Up Winter event in Lebanon, Tennessee. She and Charlie were both from Union County Tennessee. There’s a nice photograph of the couple at www.acuff.org.
During our visits Dorothy tended to stay in the background most of the time, often reading, but she was a good hostess and loved all of the music. When Marcia and I were at their home, I can’t recall that Dorothy ever requested any tune except “Carroll County Blues.” It must have been her favorite!
-Mike and Marcia Bryant
Dorothy had a warm way of inviting and welcoming guests into the Acuff home. It ranged from the simple hug that she insisted on as soon as you came in the door, to the sweet piece of pie she would have ready after a long set of tunes, to the cold Coca-Cola she would give you to sip on the ride home. Aside from her hospitality, I will always remember the look on Dorothy’s face whenever Charlie sang “Charming Betsy.” The exchange between the two was beautiful. Charlie would look back over his shoulder at Dorothy while singing the verse that exclaims, “My gal smells like an old billy goat” while Dorothy would slowly look up from her romance novel with a stewing look of mock anger. That was about the most Charlie could ever get away with. Anything much more than that and she would have straightened him out.