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KC Goodwill store returns Roy Acuff fiddle to family that donated it

This fiddle owned by the late country music legend Roy Acuff was mistakenly donated to Goodwill, and the family asked to have it returned.
This fiddle owned by the late country music legend Roy Acuff was mistakenly donated to Goodwill, and the family asked to have it returned.

A fiddle owned by the late country music legend Roy Acuff and donated to Goodwill in Kansas City has been returned to the family who owns it.

The fiddle was donated anonymously to Goodwill of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas and was put up for auction on Dec. 27.

But after bidding began, a member of the family that donated the fiddle said it was mistakenly donated and that the fiddle was a family heirloom and asked to have it returned.

“Goodwill appreciates how valuable this fiddle is to music lovers,” Kevin Bentley, interim president and CEO of Goodwill of Western Missouri & Eastern Kansas, said in a statement. “It is also a family heirloom that came into our possession by mistake. Because of that, we have honored the request to return the item.”

Acuff’s fiddles were made by Evart Acuff, his uncle, who numbered each one. A sticker inside said the fiddle, No. 19, was handmade in August 1945 in Maryville, Tenn. (although the sticker says “Merryville”).

The fiddle was donated to the Goodwill store on North Oak.

Acuff, a native of Maynardville, Tenn., first became famous as the singer and fiddler for the Crazy Tennesseans, who later became the Smoky Mountain Boys. Their hits included “Wabash Cannonball,” “Wreck on the Highway,” “Pins and Needles” and “Night Train to Memphis.” Later hits included “I’ll Forgive You But I Can’t Forget,” “The Waltz of the Wind” and “Tennessee Waltz.”

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Roy Acuff, a native of Maynardville, Tenn., first became famous as the singer and fiddler for the Crazy Tennesseans, who later became the Smoky Mountain Boys. File photo

He also performed regularly at the Grand Ole Opry and starred in the 1940 film “Grand Ole Opry.” In 1942, he and Fred Rose formed Acuff-Rose Music, which became the most powerful publishing firm in country music. He was awarded a National Medal of Arts and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. He was also the first living inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He died in November 1992. He was 89.

Timothy Finn: 816-234-4781, @phinnagain

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