Carl Maloney, a Maytown grocer who started a popular music venue in western Morgan County, died Tuesday at home. He was 77.
Maloney had battled prostate and bladder cancers in recent months, but he didn't let that keep him from singing Tuesday nights at Carl and Norma's Li'l Opry House.
"He missed one week and that was last Tuesday night," said Kathy McMurry, girlfriend of Randy Maloney, Carl Maloney's son. "He had been here every week up until last week."
The Maytown opry house began about 14 years ago in a building that was once Maloney's Grocery. Carl Maloney and his wife, Norma, later moved the store into another building across the road. The grocery business, which opened in 1980, closed in January as Carl Maloney's disease progressed.
McMurry said the family intends to keep the opry house open. Located at Ky. 946 and Ky. 1010 near the spot where Morgan, Menifee and Wolfe counties meet, the opry house is a gathering place for musicians to play bluegrass and gospel standards.
In recent months, the opry house was an important source of emotional therapy for Carl Maloney, who acknowledged in a December story in the Herald-Leader that singing with fellow musicians "means everything to me."
"I think that's all that God wants me to do right now, is sing gospel songs," Maloney said at the time. He, his wife and fellow church member Quentin Murphy appeared several times as The Gospel Travelers on WLJC, the cable TV station that originates from Beattyville.
Before going into the grocery business, Maloney sold cars for 3W Chevrolet in Ezel from 1954 to 1980. From then until about 2004, he worked for Woodmen of the World, the fraternal benefit society that sells life insurance, annuities and investments.
In addition to his wife and son, survivors include a daughter, Pam Maloney Ratliff of Jessamine County. Another son, Eddie Dean Maloney, died in 1993. Porter & Son Funeral Directors in Campton is handling arrangements.