Richard "Cousin Richie" Zackarian, 79, of New London Avenue, a well-known Rhode
Island entertainer and recording artist, and a former car-dealership owner,
died Wednesday at Kent Hospital, Warwick.
As young men, he and his brother, "Eddie Zack," who died in 2002, entertained
themselves with homemade musical instruments, singing on street corners and
performing at school events, leading to live radio and public performances.
A vocalist, Mr. Zackarian and his brother made a name for themselves in
country music, playing guitar and fiddle at numerous East Coast venues,
including the former Jack Witschi's Arena, in North Attleboro, where they
would play to 2,000 on weekends, and were the first country-music group
to perform in Boston's Symphony Hall.
Recording on Columbia and Decca Records, they were part of an NBC radio
show from 1951 to 1958 that was syndicated to 128 stations coast to coast.
Speaking of his onstage persona, "Cousin Richie," Mr. Zackarian said,
"It's a stage name. Brother Richie would have meant I'd have to wear a collar."
Performing regularly for 60 years, they were still working every weekend
until a few years ago, and had even begun to reprise their radio acts
from many years ago on WJJF-AM in Hope Valley, bringing back the days
of the old Hayloft Jamboree.
The band has had a loyal fan club since 1948, now coordinated by a couple
from Brockton, Mass., Shirley and Jim McMorrow, who remember traveling more
than 100 miles to see the band play, and who are lobbying to have the Zacks
nominated for the Walkway of Stars, in Nashville, Tenn.
Mr. Zacharian was the husband of Barbara G. (O'Keefe) Zackarian. Born in
Providence, a son of the late Peter and Elizabeth (Zackarian) Zackarian,
he had lived in Cranston for many years.
He was a Navy veteran of World War II, serving aboard the Prairie.
Besides his wife, he leaves a son, Richard M. Zackarian, and two daughters,
Mary E. Zackarian and Doreen B. Zackarian, all of Cranston; two sisters,
Marilyn Albro of Coventry and Mercedes "Babs" White of Exeter; and
four granddaughters. He was the brother of the late Edward Zackarian.
Full Obituary found in link above.