In Memorium: Al Justice (1960-2018)

May 9, 2018, 1:48 PM · Farewell to a very special friend who died in late April at the age of 57. I first met Al Justice right here on Like so many of us, Al found a violinistic home here on v-com, sharing, comparing notes, giving and receiving advice and support. Al always stood out by virtue of his curiosity and imagination, as well as the depth and self-analysis of his posts.

Al was born in War, West Virginia and graduated from Big Creek High School in 1979. He served eight years in the U.S. Air Force, during which he was stationed in Spain, Portugal, Japan, as well as stateside. A self-taught musician, Al played violin, piano, bass and guitar and more, in styles including classical, bluegrass and more. He was also an English teacher, computer programmer, farmer, avid gardener, and more! He was passionate about the West Virginia mountains and participated in group efforts to preserve and protect them. He was the happiest when getting together with fellow musicians for impromptu jam sessions. He was also known to perform for his doggies.

My wife and I were privileged to get to know Al in person. We communicated online for years. Finally, in 2010 he came to Pittsburgh for a visit and a long lesson.

Al Justice and Roy Sonne

In two hours I tried to show him everything I knew about violin playing. I didn’t quite cover it all, so we continued lessons via Skype. Al was passionate and indefatigable in his quest to master the violin. Every day he used to post detailed practice log on FB — inspiring and intimidating!! He will be deeply missed in the violin community. RIP Al.


May 9, 2018 at 10:07 PM · Roy: What a neat guy. The older I get the more I desire to have a breadth of diverse interests and friends. This man seem to have had both ! For that reason, I conducer him very rich.

May 9, 2018 at 10:59 PM · Roy, thank you for your beautiful eulogy for you friend Al Justice. I've never met Al or read his posts here on, but it is evident that he was a fine person. I'm sorry for your loss.

May 9, 2018 at 11:48 PM · Thanks for posting this, Roy. I met Al here on this site years ago when he commented at length on a blog post I wrote about gardening and music, and we became Facebook friends, although we never met in person. He was wonderful to talk to about the violin and many other subjects. He raised food sustainably in the hills of Appalachia and wrote that "the sacred was born in the mountains." He will be missed.

May 10, 2018 at 02:59 AM · Roy, I'm sorry about the loss of your friend. I never knew Al but it sounds like he was a great guy.

May 10, 2018 at 01:56 PM · Thank you for posting this, Roy. I met Al many years ago on and we continued our friendship on Facebook. He was very dedicated to his beloved dogs and to the natural beauty of his home in W Va. Even though I never met him in person, I enjoyed reading his posts and communicating with him online, He died too young. RIP.

May 10, 2018 at 04:45 PM · Thank you so much for sharing this tribute, Roy!

May 13, 2018 at 05:18 PM · It’s more than a little disconcerting to see one’s own name in an obituary. I had to check and see if I was OK.

May 13, 2018 at 06:19 PM · Roy—This is a beautiful tribute to Al. Everyone he knew he touch with his warmth of personality, depth of interest and knowledge, and passion for all he did. Al is a man among men and will be often thought of and very dearly missed.

May 14, 2018 at 08:38 PM · Thank you all for your appreciative messages. And a big thank you to Laurie for making it all possible.

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