Joel Ray Sprowls, 93, owner and operator of The Lincoln Jamboree and Joel Ray’s Lincoln Village Restaurant of Hodgenville, passed away Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020 at Signature Healthcare in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

He was born 2 miles east of Buffalo, Kentucky to the late Will and Sarah Houston Sprowls on Oct. 18, 1927. Joel Ray attended Mt. Tabor School then later Buffalo High School and was an avid basketball player. Joel Ray graduated high school in 1946. In high school, Sprowls was a regular toastmaster for all the banquets and festivals. On Sept. 11, 1954, Joel Ray went out on a limb and rented the Cardinal Theatre where the Jamboree was held for seven years; then on June 6, 1959, Joel Ray purchased the Lincoln Village Restaurant and adjoining property, where The Lincoln Jamboree continues to operate today. Joel Ray’s passion in life was show business and making people laugh. His wishes were for the show to continue on in his name with things done his way.

Joel Ray is survived by a host of family, friends, entertainers, employees and his special best friend and companion, Mary Lois Morris, who worked the restaurant for 59 years and has been his primary bookkeeper, secretary, and caregiver for the past decade. Without the care from Morris, Joel Ray couldn’t have existed the last years of his life. He is also survived by his beloved dog, Snowball.

To carry out Joel Ray’s wishes, the celebration of life he had pre-planned for his funeral will be held at 3 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, May 2, 2021 at The Lincoln Jamboree in Hodgenville. All Masons are invited to attend masonic rites at 2 p.m. at The Lincoln Jamboree.

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