Warner “Country Pete” McGill Jr., lead singer and guitarist of the Cotton Fields Blues Band, died on Dec. 6, 2018, in San Ramon. He was 72.
McGill was born on Oct. 17, 1946, to Warner, Sr. and Gladys McGill in Jasper, Texas. He was the first child out of six born to this union. He became a member of the Dixie Baptist Church at an early age. He attended G.W. Carver Elementary in the Dixie Community and J. H. Rowe High School, class of 1965. After graduation, Country Pete married his high school sweetheart, Gertie Barlow, and started a family. He worked in the logging/ pulpwood industry and at the chicken factory until he and his family relocated to Oakland, Ca, in 1969.
Once in California, Country Pete attended Oakland Hospital and became a respiratory therapist, where he worked until 1974. After leaving Oakland Hospital, McGill became an entrepreneur owning several different independent businesses which allowed him to follow his passion for performing and playing Blues music.
Throughout his career, Country Pete and his Cotton Field Blues Band played at several Bay Area Clubs, and had an impressive 11-year, Thursday night, run at the Fifth Amendment in Oakland. He was a bona fide blues musician and often partnered with the West Coast Blues Society to perform at the Annual Russell City Blues Festival.
Country Pete loved playing the blues and delivered show-stopping performances at private parties, street fairs and for fans in England and Canada. He last partnered with the Kootenay Blues Society for a series of shows in Canada this past September with his brother in blues, Alabama Mike. Country Pete had a way with words and one of his favored expressions was “If you don’t like the Blues, your soul has a hole in it and I feel sorry for you!”
Country Pete leaves to cherish his memory his Wife in Love, Denise Thompson; children Anthony Wayne (Nell) McGill and Allen Thompson of Stockton, Ca., Jacqueline McGill and Ieisha Surrell of Oakland, La Sondra McGill Baker and Roderick (LeNetta) McGill of San Antonio, Texas, and Germaine Lewis of Jasper, Texas;. two brothers Joe Cecil (Eva) Mc Gill of Pflugerville, Texas, and Gerald McGill of Jasper, Texas; two sisters Wanda Payton and Deloris McGill of Jasper Texas; 11 grandchildren and 12 greatgrandchildren; Uncle C.L. Larkin, a host of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, extended family and his faithful dog, Scrappy.
He was preceded in death by his son Anthony (Pam) Land of Jasper, Texas; sister Bertha Marie McGill, granddaughter LaQueshia and great-grandchildren Shuntae and Tristan.
Services were held December 17, 2018, in Oakland CA and will be held Dec. 22, 2018 in Jasper, Texas.