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Joe Offer Obit: Caroline Paton (1932-2019) (29) RE: Caroline Paton's Health-18 March 2019 18 Mar 19

Linnea also posted photos of Sandy & Caroline's home, all cleaned out and ready for a new owner. That was a lovely place where so many of us enjoyed Sandy and Caroline's hospitality. We had an evening of conversation with Dan and Bonnie Milner; and then I slept in the library, surrounded by amazing songbooks. Thank you for everything, Caroline and Sandy. We'll miss you.

I found an obituary written by Michael Kornfeld at Here's the text of the article:
    Caroline Paton – Folksinger, Folklorist and Co-Founder of Folk-Legacy Records, 1932-2019
    by MICHAEL KORNFELD on Mar 19, 2019 • 7:42 pm

    Caroline Paton, a traditional folksinger, musician, folklorist and co-founder of Folk-Legacy Records, has died at the age of 86. Paton, who launched the independent label based in Sharon, Connecticut with her late husband Sandy and the late Lee Haggerty in1961, passed away on March 18. She had been living in a Connecticut nursing home since last year.
    While in Berkeley, California in 1957, she met her soon-to-be husband, Sandy (1929-2009). After traveling cross-country, singing songs, the couple sailed to the British Isles, where they performed in pubs and coffeehouses for a year –accompanying themselves on guitar, dulcimer and autoharp. After meeting noted collectors Hamish Henderson and Jeannie Robertson, they began collecting and learning traditional folk songs and old ballads themselves. Upon returning stateside, the Patons settled briefly in the Midwest along with their two young sons.
    The couple moved to New England in the early 1960s, and, in 1961, at the urging of Haggerty, whom they had met in Chicago, and with financial support from him and his sister, launched Folk-Legacy Records to release their own recordings of traditional folk music and to make “available to the discerning public good field recordings of authentic traditional artists.” The label’s first release was a collection of field recordings that the Patons had collected from North Carolina-based banjo player and singer Frank Proffitt (Although he didn’t write it, Profitt is credited as the source of “Tom Dooley”).
    Among the more than 120 recordings released by Folk-Legacy were albums by songwriters Gordon Bok, Michael Cooney, Skip Gorman, The Johnson Girls, Cindy Kallet, Jean Redpath, Ian Robb, Rosalie Sorrels and Bill Staines. Of course, the Patons also released their own recordings on the label. Besides being sold to and enjoyed by the general public, many of the label’s recordings have been used in college folklore courses. For decades, Folk-Legacy operated out of the Paton’s home — a large, remodeled barn on a rural hillside in Sharon, CT – to which they had moved from rural Huntington, Vermont in 1967 and in which they also had a recording studio. Folk-Legacy Records was acquired last November by the Smithsonian Institution (also home to Smithsonian Folkways Recordings), which will continue to make the music available and keep the legacy alive.
    As performing artists, and in keeping with the folk tradition, the Patons encouraged folks during their own concerts to sing-along on choruses and be active participants in the folk music experience, preferring, as they put it, “to sing with people, rather than at them.” In 1993, the Patons were named Connecticut’s State Troubadours. The California Traditional Music Society, the Memphis Dulcimer Festival in Tennessee, and the Eisteddfod Folk Festival at the University of Massachusetts in North Dartmouth also honored them.
    “Caroline Paton was one of the kindest, gentlest, most wonderful folk music people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing,” said Wanda Fischer, longtime host of “Hudson Valley Sampler” on WAMC-FM/Northeast Public Radio in Albany, NY. “She was one of a kind, and our world of music and humanity is a better place because she shared it with us.” Calling Folk-Legacy Records “a great foundation for the music I’ve played on the radio for more than 40 years,” Fischer said: “The vinyl Folk-Legacy albums I have are well-worn from many years of listening.”
    Noting that Caroline lived in WAMC’s terrestrial listening area, Fischer told “One of my favorite things was to get a handwritten note from her, on Folk-Legacy stationery, with the Green Man Folk-Legacy logo on top. She would send me little anecdotes about having met certain artists and thank me for introducing her to new artists. Thank ME? Seriously? After all the wonderful people she and Sandy had introduced ME to, over the years?”
    Fischer expressed thanks to Caroline and Sandy Paton “for their gifts of music and introducing so many people to the music we love, inspiring people to sing and sing along… Caroline was an extraordinary person–kind, gracious, soft-spoken, and yet, a walking encyclopedia of music. If there’s a heaven, she, Sandy and my other wonderful friend who left us a couple of weeks ago, Bill Spence [hammered dulcimer player, Fennig’s All-Stars], are having an enormously great time together.”
    A memorial service for Caroline Paton is being planned for Sunday, May 12 at 2 p.m. near Sharon, CT. Updates about that will be posted online at

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