William Lee Golden Says “Sadness Continues” After Losing Son Rusty & Bandmate Joe Bonsall Within Days

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William Lee Golden Mourns Back-To-Back Losses

The Oak Ridge Boys’ William Lee Golden recently lost two important people in his life: his son, Rusty, and his longtime bandmate, Joe Bonsall.

This year has been a difficult one for the Oak Ridge Boys. In January, Bonsall announced his retirement after 50 years of performing with the group.

Many of you know I have been battling a slow onset (over 4 years now) of a neuromuscular disorder,” Bonsall shared in a statement on X. “I am now to a point that walking is impossible so I have basically retired from the road. It has just gotten too difficult. 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.

Then, in March, the Oak Ridge Boys shared that member Duane Alllen’s wife of 54 years, Norah Lee Allen, had passed away. She was 76 years old.

We took time singing with and to her, telling her stories, and loving her every second that God let us share her here on Earth,” Allen said.


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The Oak Ridge Boys suffered another devastating loss when William Lee Golden’s son, Rusty, died on July 1 at the age of 65.

Rusty was a friend to all and a multi-talented songwriter, singer, and musician. We love you, Rusty, and we will see you on the other side,” the Oaks shared in a statement after Rusty’s death.



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Breaking His Silence After Joe Bonsall’s Death

Just eight days after Rusty’s death, Joe Bonsall passed away. The Oak Ridge Boys issued a press release about his death, which read:

“Joseph S. Bonsall (76) of Hendersonville, Tennessee passed on to Glory on July 9, 2024, from complications of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis [otherwise known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease],” the press release read. “He leaves behind his precious wife, Mary Ann, daughters Jennifer and Sabrina, granddaughter Breanne, grandson Luke, two great grandsons, Chance and Grey, and a sister, Nancy. He is preceded in death by his parents Joseph S. Bonsall Sr. and Lillie Bonsall.”

Bonsall’s family says people can honor him by making donations in his memory to The ALS Association or the Vanderbilt Medical Center ALS and Neuroscience Research Center.

William Lee Golden mourned the loss of his friend and bandmate Joe Bonsall
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William Lee Golden broke his silence about Bonsall’s death later on Tuesday (July 9) in a post on Facebook.

He shared the Oak Ridge Boys’ statement, captioning it, “Sadness continues,” alongside a broken heart emoji. His short message captured the pain he’s surely experiencing after losing his beloved son and bandmate within days of each other.

Fans shared their support for Golden and the other Oak Ridge Boys in the comments section, writing:

“So sorry for another loss! Sending you all continued Healing, Strength and Prayers!”

“I’m devastated for everyone…..this has truly been a very tough year for the entire ORB family. Praying the good Lord grants everyone peace.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss, sir.”

“This is so sad. My husband and I enjoyed seeing the Oak Ridge Boys many times. Praying for all of them.”

“Lost a great friend, great human and great singer. Prayers with ya WLG.”

We too, will be keeping the Oak Ridge Boys in our prayers during this difficult time.