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Tsawwassen music icon Jerry Doucette dies

Doucette provided his talents for many fundraisers over the years
jerry doucette dies delta, bc
Doucette received the inaugural Mentor of the Arts Award, an honour handed out at the annual Tsawwassen Sun Festival.

Local Delta music legend Jerry Doucette has passed away.

The singer, songwriter, guitarist and Juno Award winner died April 18 of cancer at the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner, surrounded by family. He was 70.

He’s perhaps best known for his song Mama Let Him Play from the album with same title, which was certified Platinum in Canada in 1978, as well as hitting the Billboard Top 100.

The South Delta resident’s band, Doucette, won the 1979 Juno for Most Promising Group of the Year.

He was born in Montreal on Sept. 9, 1951, and grew up in Hamilton, Ont., where he began playing guitar at the age of six.

He moved to Vancouver in 1972 and played with The Seeds of Time and The Rocket Norton Band before he was signed as a solo act by the legendary Mushroom Records.

A news release following his passing noted that the title for Doucette’s hit song was inspired by something his dad said when he was growing up.

The elder Doucette, Louis, worked shifts and when he came home to find Jerry practicing the guitar his mother would tell their son to be quiet.

“Mama let him play!” Doucette recalled his father saying. “Later I thought, what a great title. I finished the song in about an hour.”

Doucette released five albums as a solo artist between 1977 and 1999. He continued playing in small venues and clubs in Western Canada until 2018, when heart problems put his performing career on hold.

He was a frequent regular at several Delta venues and also participated in many local fundraisers.

Some of those fundraisers included the annual Christmas toy drive for Deltassist, fundraising for the Reach Child and Youth Development Society and Variety - The Children's Charity.

A fundraiser was held in Tsawwassen in 2018 to help Doucette with his medical expenses following a car accident and the discovery of his heart condition.

At the time, Dave McIlroy, one of the organizers, said Doucette was a brilliant guitarist who was admired by fans and loved by fellow musicians.

“When you play with Jerry, you raise your game, he brings it out in you. Jerry makes every other player around him better,” he said.

McIlroy also said a side many fans don’t see was that Doucette is a family man and loyal friend.

In an earlier interview, musician Ken Boychuk described Doucette as “one of the best Hammond B3 players in Canada."

Doucette is survived by his wife of 43 years, Maggie, as well as five children and 10 grandchildren.

Details regarding a celebration of Jerry’s life will be provided at a later date.