People throughout the North Carolina music community are mourning the deaths of two musicians killed in a recent head-on crash in Durham County.
Alex Almasy, 56, and Carter “Ray” Doyle, 71, were killed on Farrington Mill Road near Kepley Road on April 10. Those close with the two men told WNCN they were going home after a rehearsal.
Henry Mason, a trombone player and founder of the N.C. Revelers Orchestra, played with Almasy and Doyle for many years. The two men played trumpet in the band and were founding members.
“Those two were just the best,” Mason said. “They’d say they’d be there, they’d be there.”
The news of their deaths left the band in shock.
“Devastating is about the right word,” Mason said.
Mason said Almasy was known for being an exciting player, always cheering on bandmates.
“Alex would bring a certain wildness, if that’s the right word, to his playing,” Mason said. “Any person in the band would take a solo, Alex would be yelling or saying something (like), ‘Good job.”
Meanwhile, he said Doyle was always there for the band.
“Just a thoroughly nice southern gentleman, in the best sense of the word,” Mason said. “He was the most dependable person I’ve ever met. (He) always did exactly what he said he would do.”
Jimmy Weaver played with Almasy in different bands for more than a decade.
“He could do whatever was necessary to make a song work,” Weaver said. “He always had a smile on his face.”
Steve Owens with Steve Owens and Summertime also remembers playing with Almasy.
“I’ve known Alex for close to 20 years. I’ve been in three different bands with him over the years, and the last he was my trumpet player in Steve Owens and Summertime for the last seven years,” Owens said. “There’s never been a kinder soul on my stage. Alex has a whit like no other and was a team player. The loss of Alex has left a huge void not only in Steve Owens and Summertime but in much of the music scene in the Triangle. He was a friend to many.”
A private service will be held for Almasy. A service for Doyle will be held this Saturday at the Hope Valley Baptist Church in Durham.