Chilton Price Searcy (January 14, age 96, natural causes): a songwriter who wrote Pee Wee King & Redd Stewart's hit "Slow Poke" and the classic "You Belong to Me," covered by the likes of Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline (and lampooned by Homer & Jethro).
Carl Smith (January 16, age 82, complications of stroke): Country Music Hall of Famer with a long and productive career (and father of Carlene Carter).
Richard A. "Pete" Peterson (February 8, age 77, unknown causes): historian and author of the book Creating Country Music: Fabricating Authenticity.
Michael Blosil (February 26, age 18, suicide [jumped to his death]): the son of Marie Osmond.
Matt Wariner (April 16, age 28, car wreck): the nephew of country singer/songwriter/guitarist Steve Wariner and local (Noblesville, Indiana) musician himself.
Hoot Borden (May 1, age and cause unknown): the longtime bus driver for Ernest Tubb.
Ernie Harwell (May 6, age 92, cancer): the voice of baseball's Detroit Tigers for decades was also a songwriter. The first song of his that was ever recorded was "Upside Down," which appeared on Homer & Jethro's 1967 album Somethin' Stupid.
Judy Lynn (May 26, age 74, congestive heart failure): an underrated singer who had one major hit, 1962's "Footsteps of a Fool," and gave up her career in 1980 to go into the ministry.
Thomas "Slim" Bryant (May 27, age 101, illness): singer, songwriter, and guitarist whose talent went all the way back to the Skillet Lickers. He was also the last living person who recorded with Father of Country Music Jimmie Rodgers (he played on Rodgers' recording "Miss the Mississippi and You").
Jimmy Dean (June 13, age 81, natural causes): a pioneer in country music and Muppets (Jim Henson's creation Rowlf the dog was a regular on Dean's TV show), he had a long career as a singer ("Big Bad John," "PT 109") and as a sausage maker. He was one of the 2010 Hall of Fame inductees.
Bill Porter (July 7, age 79, Alzheimer's disease): when Chet Atkins was asked how he developed the Nashville Sound, he had a two-word answer: "Bill Porter." The legendary RCA engineer worked with rock's Presley and country's Reeves with equal, amazing results.
Hank Cochran (July 15, age 74, pancreatic cancer): he wrote songs. Boy, did he write songs: "I Fall to Pieces," "A-11," "The Chair," "Don't Touch Me," "I'd Fight the World," "It's Not Love (But It's Not Bad)," and so many more.
Fred Carter, Jr. (July 17, age 76, stroke): the father of Deana Carter was also a prolific session musician.
Margaret Ann Rich (July 22, age 76, Alzheimer's disease): the widow of Charlie Rich was also the writer of his songs "Field of Yellow Daisies" and "Life Has Its Little Ups and Downs."
Grady "Tiny" Harris (July 23, age 81, blood clot): the leader of the Tiny Harris Band, an outfit that played behind the likes of Freddie Hart and Tammy Wynette.
John L. "Johnny" Carson (July 27, age 77, heart failure): the grandson of Fiddlin' John Carson helped to found the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
Ben Keith (July 27, age 73, heart attack): when Neil Young wanted a country sound he called on Keith's steel guitar prowess, which were evident on Patsy Cline's "I Fall to Pieces."
John Aylesworth (July 28, age 80, pneumonia): he created a countrified version of Laugh-In for the CBS network. He called it Hee Haw.
Mitch Miller (July 31, age 99, illness): the king of the "sing-along" records also produced sessions for Marty Robbins.
Mitch Jayne (August 2, age 80, cancer): Mayberry's favorite band the Darlings were actually the Dillards, with Jayne on bass. Jayne and the Dillards were inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2009.
Kenny Edwards (August 19, age 64, prostate cancer): Edwards co-founded the Stone Poneys, a country-rock band with a young lead vocalist by the name of LInda Ronstadt. After the band disbanded Edwards lent his talents on guitar, steel, and harmony to Ronstadt's music.
Bill Phillips (August 23, age 74, diabetes): an underrated songwriter (he co-wrote "Falling Back to You," which Webb Pierce recorded) and singer, his biggest hit was "Put It Off Until Tomorrow," a song that introduced the world to co-author and background singer Dolly Parton.
Linda Hargrove (October 24, age 61, leukemia/complications of bone marrow transplant): Nashville songwriter who gave us the classics "Tennessee Whiskey" (George Jones) and "Just Get Up and Close the Door" (Johnny Rodriguez).
Ronny Scaife (November 3, age 63, brain hemorrhage): the songwriter behind Travis Tritt's "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'."
Don Meredith (December 5, age 72, brain hemorrhage): "Dandy Don," the color commentator on ABC's Monday Night Football, turned Willie Nelson's "The Party's Over" into a household song.
Nick ("Nick the Stick") Hunter (December 16, age 67, cancer): he promoted the likes of Hank Williams Jr. and Dwight Yoakam and founded what is now known as Koch Records.
Farewell, and thanks for the music.
Thank you goes out to K.F. Raizor for doing this guest-column for That Nashville Sound. She is an independent scholar and free-lance writer since 1989 whose work has appeared in "Lefthander" magazine and "Hard Country Beat", where she had her own column from 1994 until the magazine ceased publication in 1998. Her current project is a biography of Country Music Hall of Famers Homer and Jethro. Her country blog is Raizor's Edge.