Hubert “Hoot” Hester, founding member of The Time Jumpers and former Grand Ole Opry player, has died after a long battle with cancer. He was 65.
Hester began his career by playing in the backing bands of many country stars, including Randy Travis, Conway Twitty, Mel Tillis, Bill Monroe and Hank Williams Jr. After stepping away from the road, he became a popular session player during the 1980s and 90s. He was known for being an incredible instrumentalist, but was especially renowned for his talents with the fiddle. He previously finished in the top five of Nashville’s Grand Master Fiddler Championship.
In 1998, he co-founded the western swing band The Time Jumpers with bassist Dennis Crouch. He regularly performed and worked alongside his youngest daughter, Rachael Hester. He was a part of the Grand Ole Opry staff band from 2000 to 2014, and spent his final years performing regularly with his daughter at Nashville’s famed honky tonk, Robert’s Western World.
Funeral arrangements are currently pending, but are tentatively scheduled for this weekend at First Baptist Church in Dickson, Tenn.