Music 09


Sean "Guitar Dan" Hartley

September 17, 1952 ~ April 6, 2019 (age 66)
Obituary Image

Guitar Dan. The Breezeway Bandit. Mike. Sean. Dad. Pop-Pop. All of his aliases--but no, identities--all of these are just one aspect each of this enormous person.


I thought hard about ways to approach writing this. I could wax lyrical, as he was prone to do (evidenced by his mountains of composition notebooks filled cover to back with his original songs). I could express what a talented musician he was, his crooning voice echoing for years through the breezeway of Downtown Johnson City, Tennessee. He was a loving brother, a truly present friend, a dad who was always there for his kids when we needed him to be, an EXCELLENT Pop-Pop. I mean, I'm pretty sure my kids liked him better than they like me, if that says anything. I could mention how funny he thought he was. "Hey, you wanna hear a joke?" he'd say with a crooked smile. "No, dad, I most certainly do not," we'd respond, knowing he'd tell it anyway.


"A blind man walks into a bar..." 


Huehuehuehue, coughcoughcoughcough. 


I could say all of those things. But how can one condense him into words that don't comprise entire libraries? The answer is simple. One cannot. Dad was larger than life could contain, and the Universe closed in on itself with a woosh when he passed on to sing with God. 


Sherin Winslow Hartley, born September 17, 1952 in Aiken, South Carolina left us on April 6, 2019. He was at his home, surrounded by his beloved guitars and photos of his family. 


He was a native of Florida, where he always wished to return, and did often visit during winter months. His last months were spent there with most of his surviving siblings: Deborah Richter and her husband Frank of Ormond Beach, FL, Jan Hartley of Daytona Beach, FL, and David Hartley of Jacksonville, FL, alongside his brother Daniel Hartley and his wife Rene of Vero Beach, FL. Those he's now with in heaven include his mother Martine Hartley, his father Earl Hartley, his brother Victor Hartley, and his sister in law Barb Hartley.


He sadly leaves behind his four children, whom he had with his ex-wife Laura Hartley: Erin Hartley, Shannon Hartley, Sarah Bennett, and Sean Hartley. Between us, our eight children mourn their Pop-Pop's untimely passing: Gavin Kiddy, Seth Dalton, Destiny Collins, Olivia, Aiden, Jude, and Adeline Bennett, and Arcadia Hartley. 


The legacy Guitar Dan left was as large as the love he gave everyone he knew. It is our hope that our family and his many friends can join us to celebrate his life with the enthusiasm he would expect. 


Guitar Dan's farewell show, which will include an acoustic set by The Twang Bangers, with whom he played many times and adored will be from 5:00 P.M.-7:00 P.M. Saturday, April 13, 2019 at Appalachian Funeral Home 800 E. Watauga Ave., with Pastor Randy Hensley officiating.


Dad, now you're the Appalachian Angel. We love you so much and we miss you. 


In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Coalition for Kids, 2423 Susannah St. Johnson City, TN 37601.


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