Raymond Wilson Woolfenden, Sr.
Raymond Wilson Woolfenden

September 5, 1916April 21, 2000 (83 years old)
Hometown: Kopp, VA
September 5, 1916April 21, 2000
(83 years old) | Kopp, VA


Born in the community of Kopp, Virgina in 1916, Raymond held a number of jobs in his early years, including sales and delivery for candy companies and dairies. But his passion was Country music. Ray learned at an early age to play the bass fiddle and guitar, thanks to his musical mentor, his maternal grandfather, Maurice Abel, who played the fiddle. By the 1930's Raymond was traveling the country playing bass in various bands. In 1945 Raymond was drafted by the U.S. Army. He had been running a grocery store, Texaco service station and managing a dance hall at the time. But even in the Army Raymond found himself playing bass in an Army band entertaining the troops in Japan during the occupation in late 1945 and 1946 [see picture]. After his discharge from military service, he continued playing in various bands and began his first radio program in Ohio. It was during this time that he and George Morgan played together, prior to George going to Nashville and recording his big hit "Candy Kisses".By the early 1950's Raymond was managing a sandwich shop in South Hill, Virginia and playing bass in Paul Westmoreland's band [see picture]. Paul was then recording for Decca Records and is best known for writing "Detour", a big hit for Spade Cooley and Patti Page. Ray was among the founding members of the Country Music Association [see picture].The early 1950's was not a good time in Raymond's personal life, as his marriage to Mable Irene Liming ended in divorce in the summer of 1952. However, by 1954 Raymond had re-married, this time to Doris Mae Lynch. By the mid 1950's Raymond was back in Ohio, playing music and selling Lifetime Cookware. By 1961 Raymond was in Northern Virginia again, managing a grocery store and restaurant, playing music and DJ'ing Country Music on one of the early FM Country stations, WXRA in Woodbridge, Virginia. By 1963 Raymond would be recognized by WSM and the Grand Ole Opry as "Mr. DJ, USA" during the Country Music DJ Convention in Nashville, TN. During this time Raymond was managing two grocery stores, two restaurants, a record store, and a used car lot, in addition to his DJ work at WXRA.By the mid 1960's Raymond was back in South Hill, Virginia, again running a restaurant. It was during this time that he came down seriously ill, ending up in the Veterans Hospital in Richmond, Virginia for months. By the time that he finally made it home, his health would require him to find an easier career than working a restaurant. One of his friends in the music business, Marshall Pack, who had worked with him at WXRA, helped him land a job at WSHB in Raeford, N.C. There he continued to be a DJ in Country Music, play in various bands and sell radio air time. He would later work at WBYB in St Pauls, N.C. and at WFNC-FM in Fayetteville, N.C. Raymond's stint at WFNC-FM was as manager and he changed the call sign to WQSM. During this time he also was also emcee of a TV program featuring a family band that played Country Music on Channel 6 in Wilmington, N.C. and was emcee at a number of Country Music Concerts at the old Fayetteville [N.C.] Municipal Auditorium for the likes of such artists as Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Tom T. Hall, Loretta Lynn and many others. By the early 1970's Raymond had moved to Water Valley, MS where he managed WVLY. As usual he also played in a band and was emcee for a number of Nashville acts that appeared in the area. By 1972 Raymond moved his family to Milton, Florida in what proved to be an unsuccessful bid to purchase the local AM radio station in town. While there once again he managed a local record shop.In November of 1973 he had moved back to Northern Virgina again, this time managing WQVA while awaiting FCC approval of its purchase by his company, which occurred in June of 1974. The call sign was changed to WPWC and Raymond would manage the station until it was sold in 2000. During this time Raymond continued to play in various bands, was emcee at a number of concerts and parades, including Christmas parades in Quantico and Dumfries, Virginia, and the July 4th parade in Washington, D.C. on multiple occasions. By 1979 Raymond had moved the station from Quantico, Virginia to Dumfries, Virginia and changed the station's power and frequency, from 1530 AM at 250 watts daytime only to 1480 at 500 watts day and night. Later the station would increase the daytime power to 1000 watts. Remote broadcasts at various sites around Prince William County were a regular occurrence, including annual daily broadcasts at the Prince William County Fair. His station highlighted the arrival of Santa to Prince William County for years by various means, including via parachute, helicopter and fire truck.Raymond was a finalist in 1982, 1983, 1985-1989 for the Country Music Association Small Market Broadcast Personality of the Year at WPWC. During the 1980's and 1990's Raymond was heavily involved in the local Salvation Army, serving on its local board, as well as the American Legion Post 28, where he served as Chaplin. He was also involved in a number of other organizations, including the Toys for Tots campaigns in Price William County, the VFW, and the Odd Fellows [as was his father Raymond]. The Country Music Association, Inc. and The Grand Ole Opry honored "Cousin Ray" Woolfenden, a country music pioneer, for participation in the family reunion of Country Music Artists, Ninth International Country Music Fan Fair, June 14, 1980 in Nashville, TN.In June of 1999 Raymond was honored for his life in Country Music by being inducted into the Country Radio Broadcasters DJ Hall of Fame [see pictures]. Among those there to honor him were his friends Liz and Casey Anderson, Nashville songwriters. Liz also recorded for a time with RCA Records. Their daughter Lynn Anderson had a number of big hits in the early 1970's, including "Rose Garden". Visit http://countryradioseminar.com/ray-woolfenden for Raymond's bio at the Country Radio Broadcasters web site. Shortly after WPWC was sold in early 2000, Raymond suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized. Complications from this event would lead to his passing in April of 2000.