For more than five decades, Ben “Lovey” Dorcy served as a trusted roadie for some of the most famous country music artists. He is known as the “World’s Oldest Roadie,” loved by many despite being behind the scenes. Last September 16, he passed away at the age of 92.
Ben H. Dorcy III was born in Dallas, Texas, on May 19, 1925. He served in the military and worked for the Ice Capades before making his foray into the world of music. In 1950, Dorcy got his start in the music business as a roadie for country singer Hank Thompson; from there, he went on to serve as John Wayne’s personal valet and toured with Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and dozens of other major artists. Though he may not be as well known as the artists themselves, Ben Dorcy is one of the most revered individuals in all of Texas music.
A Friendship with Willy
Dorcy primarily formed a special bond with fellow Texan Willie Nelson, with whom he worked up until a few months before his death. According to Austin360, Dorcy was on hand at Nelson’s annual Fourth of July picnic earlier this year. Dorcy was also the first person inducted into Nashville’s Roadie Hall of Fame back in 2009.
Nelson mourned the loss of his longtime friend, whom he and many others called “Lovey,” in a post on his official Facebook page: “Ben ‘Lovey’ Dorcy was our friend and part of the Willie Nelson Family,” reads the post. “Thank you, Ben, for years of hard work and sound advice. We love you.”
Known for his spiritual glow and ever-present smoking pipe, Ben’s contributions to side stages and behind-the-scenes had waned over the past few years due to his advanced age, yet he was a figure in the wings, backstage, and tour buses for artists up until his death.
“I’ve learned I have the perfect person to steer me. When I’m contemplating one of life’s difficult decisions, I generally consult with Ben Dorcy,” said Willie Nelson in his book The Tao of Willie from 2009. “Bless his barely thumping heart, Ben is my canary in the coalmine. When faced with a difficult decision, I observe Ben and do the opposite of what he does.”
Funeral services for Dorcy have not been announced.
Again, it’s sad to have lost a valuable man in the country music industry; our condolences go out to the family of the bereaved. May you rest in peace, Lovey.
ben dorsey, lovey, willy nelson
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