Gerald Poulsen, known on the WAMU airwaves as bluegrass host Jerry Gray, died Feb. 2 in Roanoke, Va. He was 78.
His son Mark Poulsen told the Washington Post that his father had complications from a heart transplant that he received after suffering a heart attack on the air in 1989.
Poulsen started in 1971 at WAMU, the pubstation licensed to American University. He spent 30 years as host of The Jerry Gray Show on Saturday afternoons, featuring traditional country music such as Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, Roy Rogers and Patsy Montana. In 1978, he began co-hosting Bluegrass Country, a weekday drive-time show, and later became its host."Mr. Poulsen carried each day’s selections to the studio with him, drawn from his personal collection of more than 12,000 records," the Post noted.
In 2001, when the station went to news and public affairs format, Poulsen retired to Hardy, Va.
He was born Oct. 9, 1933, in Washington, D.C. He graduated in 1951 from McKinley Technical High School, served in the Army, attended American University and studied at a local private radio training academy.
Survivors include his wife of 52 years, Louise “Kay” Gregory Poulsen of Hardy; five children: Donna Catron, Jon Poulsen, Lora Whitehurst, Mark Poulsen and Kathryn Dorshimer; his mother, Vesta Poulsen; one sister; nine grandchildren; and one great-grandson.