5:46pm

Tue January 28, 2014
Kentucky Arts and Culture

Lexington's Michael Johnathon Remembers Folk Icon Pete Seeger

During his 94 years, Folk singer Pete Seeger left his mark on music and social activism across the U.S. and around the world.  But Seeger was also a major influence in the life of a Kentuckian who knew him from childhood.

Pete Seeger performs during a concert marking his 90th birthday at Madison Square Garden in New York on May 3, 2009.
Pete Seeger performs during a concert marking his 90th birthday at Madison Square Garden in New York on May 3, 2009.
Credit Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images via npr.org

To Michael Johnathon, Pete Seeger was more than a musical hero and mentor.  He was also a neighbor and friend.  The creator and host of the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour, grew up in Beacon, New York with Seeger next door. 

Through the years, after he moved to Kentucky, Johnathon had many opportunities to stay in touch and collaborate with the folk icon.  In fact, he received a thank you note from his friend just days ago, “He was a very giving man. He  always took time for people that he appreciated.  And so, here he was, just a week before his passing, he wrote me a little thank you note for just a minor kindness that I did for him.  But he still took the time to write and, you know, the letter got here a couple days ago and now we find he’s gone.”

The 94-year old Seeger was preceded in death by his wife Toshi, who died last summer just days before their 70th wedding anniversary.