With the news that broke of the passing of actor Paul Reubens, better known as Pee-Wee Herman, and his connection to Oneonta, we thought we would look back at another entertainment icon who hailed from the small Upstate New York town.

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Jerry Jeff Walker was born Ronald Clyde Crosby on March 16, 1942, in Oneonta and as a young man, Walker found himself immersed in music. That love of music would stay with him until the day that he died.

Walker's passion for music developed at a young age and was influenced by his family. His parents were avid square dancers, and his maternal grandparents were amateur musicians.

READ MORE: Pee-Wee Herman: From Oneonta, New York to Hollywood

Walker received his first guitar at the age of 12 and played in a band called The Tones during high school. Following high school graduation, Walker moved to New York City where he immersed himself even deeper into music.

Eventually, Walker settled in Texas and that is where he became a key player in the Texas outlaw movement alongside artists like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. Walker had a talent for captivating those who listened to his music through his impeccable storytelling. Walker’s most popular song was "Mr. Bojangles" which was written and recorded by Walker for his 1968 album of the same title.

“Mr. Bojangles” would become such a popular song that Bob Dylan and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Sammy Davis Jr. all covered it. Throughout his career, Walker released numerous albums and continued to perform live, captivating audiences with his unique style and storytelling abilities.

No matter how big he got though, Walker remained connected to his hometown of Oneonta. In 2010, Walker was inducted into the OHS Wall of Fame in 2010.

Walker passed away at the age of 78 on October 23, 2020, after battling throat cancer but his impact on the world of music and Upstate New York will always be remembered and celebrated.

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