Former Record Executive D Kilpatrick Dead at 88

William David “D” Kilpatrick, a former record executive, Grand Ole Opry manager and founding member of the Country Music Association, died Wednesday (May 21) at his home near Nashville. A spokeswoman for the Williamson Memorial Funeral Home and Gardens declined to give the circumstances of his death or list his survivors. Kilpatrick, who was known as D Kilpatrick, was 88. Starting as a salesman for Capitol Records in North Carolina in the 1940s, Kilpatrick soon moved on to producing such country and gospel acts for the label as Martha Carson and the Statesmen. In his biography of Kilpatrick in The Encyclopedia of Country Music, historian John Rumble credits him with being “the first salaried country producer to be based in Nashville.” After producing Hank Thompson, Tex Ritter, Carl Butler and others for Capitol, Kilpatrick then signed to Mercury Records, where he produced Johnny Horton, Jimmy Dean and bluegrass-gospel great Carl Story among others. In 1956, Kilpatrick was named manager of the Grand Ole Opry and two years later joined with other key Nashville music figures to establish the Country Music Association. He subsequently worked for the Acuff-Rose Publishing Co., Warner Bros. Records and Philips Records before returning to Mercury in the mid-1960s. Funeral services will be held Saturday (May 24) at Williamson Memorial Funeral Home in Franklin, Tenn.