LARRY KNECHTEL DEAD AT 69

On Thursday, August 20th 2009, Larry Knechtel passed away at the age of 69, the result of an apparent undetermined illness.  Apart from being a brilliant musician, Larry was loved by many for his character – honest, humble, hard-working, and charismatic.  He was a loving and devoted father and husband.  Larry preferred a simple rural lifestyle and valued the quality of life.  Those close to him knew Larry as a student of western lore and history, an outdoorsman, a farmer, and a good neighbor. 

Larry Knechtel, a Grammy award-winning keyboardist who accompanied big-name musicians such as Elvis Presley, Ray Charles and the Dixie Chicks, is dead at 69. Knechtel, who moved to Yakima in 2003, died Thursday at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital of an apparent heart attack. His death was confirmed by a spokesman for Valley Hills Funeral Home.Knechtel was born in Bell, Calif., and performed live and in studio recordings with a wide range of artists, including Neil Diamond, Randy Newman, Ray Charles, The Beach Boys, The Doors, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams Jr. and Elvis Costello.He earned a Grammy award for his arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water," played keyboard on the Dixie Chicks' Grammy award-winning album "Taking the Long Way" and performed on the Hammond organ for the group's tour of the samename.