William Russell Staines, Bill, of Rollinsford, New Hampshire, left this life aged 74 on December 5, 2021, the result of very aggressive prostate cancer. He was born on February 6, 1947, in Medford, Massachusetts, to William Henry and Dorothy Trask Staines.
Bill is survived by his wife of forty-five years, Karen Elrod Staines, their son, Bowen Keith Staines, daughter-in-law, Andrea Collins Staines, his brother Stephen Staines and his wife Sherri and their two sons, Benjamin and Joshua, his loving mother-in-law Nancy Smith Elrod, his Springer Spaniel, Lily, and countless friends and fans.
Bill was proud to say that he had been a musician for 57 years, singing his songs and delighting audiences at colleges, clubs, and coffeehouses. He wrote and recorded too many songs to count and gained an international reputation as a gifted songwriter and performer. He wrote his autobiography, ‘The Tour’, which detailed his life on the road. His song, “A Place in the Choir”, is a popular children’s book, and has touched the hearts of millions; his several songbooks allowed others to play and sing, too.
Bill’s music is a slice of Americana, reflecting his feelings about the prairie people of the Midwest, the adventurers of the Yukon, the on-the-road truckers, or the everyday workers that make up this land. Bill has been described as a modern-day Stephen Foster. His songs, which have been recorded by many artists, will still be around 100 years from now.
In 2015, Yankee Magazine published an edition which included Bill as one of the 80 gifts New England has given to America. This was a true honor for the veteran folksinger.
Most importantly, despite his long weeks, years, and three million miles on the road, he always came home to his family.
In lieu of flowers, Bill would be deeply honored if donations may be made to The Learning Skills Academy in Rye, NH, in remembrance of his love and support of the students that attend the Academy, and his wife Karen’s work.