On August 16, 2008, the storytelling world mourned the passing of Ernest "Doc" McConnell, age 79, of Rogersville, Tenn. While battling cancer, McConnell presented a workshop and performed in the most recent National Storytelling Network conference.
He became a professional storyteller after attending the very first National Storytelling Festival in 1973, and was featured the next year. Doc McConnell's Old-Time Medicine Show and the artful Doc himself, one of America's premier storytellers, soon became legends of the annual Festival held in Jonesborough, Tenn. and in America's storytelling revival.
According to an October 2 story in the Bristol Herald Courier, McConnell's "friendly face and folksy ways...provided heaping doses of humor - and a throwback to the vaudeville era of a century ago. McConnell's work also won acclaim. He had been named Tennessee's first Storytelling Laureate."