The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band family is saddened to share that our dear Lester Armistead has crossed over. It is now a joyous day for him as he has surely been welcomed warmly to Heaven, but a heartbreaking day for those of us who had the honor of knowing him, working with him, loving him, dancing and playing with him. Please remember our family in your prayers. And please know what great joy YOU gave to him every day by allowing him to entertain you.
“Lonesome” Lester Armistead, (71), founding member of The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band recently underwent surgery recently to remove a tumor. While everyone had high hopes for a recovery, unfortunately, Lester lost the battle with cancer. He has blown his final jug as his tenor voice went silent. The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band made the announcement yesterday about this Lester's passing.
Lester played himself in the 2013 documentary Last of the Breed: The Dave Evans Story and was a guest on The Marty Stuart Show from 2009 through 2011. He, his son and Leroy Troy were the highlights of the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band that mixed music with comedy and always left a happy face upon the audience. Fans brought him as much joy as he gave them. Lester, Mike and Sam Jackson were responsible for Nashville getting their own Bluegrass Festival; The Nashville Music Classic Festival.
Lester's son, Mike, guitar player for the band, posted this tribute on his personal page earlier:
"Never met another man that could measure up to my dad. Honest, hard worker, humanitarian, dancer, banjo picker, singer, grandfather, farmer, and overall just the nicest person you'd ever meet. His journey is almost over. Say a prayer, hoist a drink and remember all the good times."
Lester was described by the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band as:
“Lonesome” Lester Armistead is a shy and retiring retired printer now raising grandchildren on his farm in the Luton‘s District of middle Tennessee. He rarely speaks above a whisper until he uncorks his jug, gets a whiff of greasepaint and footlights, and releases his Force Five tenor voice in song. Lester and his late brother Jack performed extensively in Tennessee’s Davidson County environs as a country duet years ago. They grew up around the Acuff’s Smoky Mt. Boys, as their dad co-owned a bait store with Acuff’s fiddler Howdy Forrester. Lester learned to sing from Bashful Brother Oswald — on this all music scholars agree. When Lester sings, Oswald lives. Lester blows a jug that Os played on the Opry as long ago as 1939. Lester also picks a mean banjo. Mostly, Lester likes to laugh. When Marty Stuart asks, “Lester, how’s your jug?”, the invariable answer is ” ’bout half…”.
Lester was loved by many, respected by all and appreciated by both fans and other artists. He will be missed by many. He resided on his farm north of Nashville, Tennessee.
Family, Friends & Fans Invited to Say Farewell to founding member of The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band
"Lonesome" Lester Armistead (October 25, 1942 - May 2, 2014)
------------ UPDATE ------------
NASHVILLE, TN -- "Lonesome" Lester Armistead, (71), founding member of The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, has died. Armistead passed away at his home, surrounded by family on Friday, May 2nd after a battle with cancer.
A posting on the band's facebook page reads:
"The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band family is saddened to share that our dear Lester has crossed over. It is now a joyous day for him as he has surely been welcomed warmly to Heaven, but a heartbreaking day for those of us who had the honor of knowing him, working with him, loving him, dancing and playing with him. Please remember our family in your prayers. And please know what great joy YOU gave to him every day by allowing him to entertain you."
Arrangements for Lester Armistead of the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band are as follows:
SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2014
Visitation at Cole & Garrett in Goodlettsville
127 N Main St, Goodlettsville, TN 37072
2:00 - 8:00 PM
MONDAY, MAY 5, 2014
Visitation at Lester's home:
8333 Old Springfield Rd Goodlettsville, TN 37072
1:00 - 2:00 PM
Funeral will be from the home beginning at 2:00 PM
(Burial will be at Forest Lawn in Goodlettsville. Pallbearers are: Freddie Armistead, Don Clark, Lee McHenry, Bob Loggins, George Edward Harper, Terry Wilkes.)
In lieu of flowers please make a donation in honor of Lester to the charity of your choice, the Cancer Foundation or Alive Hospice.
Lester played himself in the 2013 documentary