Joe Carter (search), a member of the famous Carter Family (search) of music, died of cancer Wednesday at his home. He was 78.

Carter was a cornerstone of the preservation of old-time mountain music and helped build the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Va., which presented shows of country and bluegrass music every weekend.

"We had been anticipating and trying to get ourselves ready for this, but it still hurts to give him up," Carter Fold executive and Carter's niece, Rita Forrester, told the Kingsport Times-News. "They broke the mold when they made my Uncle Joe."

Carter was 5 months old when he traveled with his parents, A.P. and Sara Carter, from Maces Springs to Bristol in 1927 for a recording session that has been called "the big bang of country music." It launched the careers of A.P., Sara and her cousin Maybelle Carter as the Carter Family trio.

Joe Carter, who performed at the Carter Family Fold, was the last direct connection to anyone who was at that original session, his friend Tim White said Thursday.

Marty Stuart, Tom T. Hall and John Carter Cash, son of Johnny and June Carter Cash (search), are listed among the pallbearers for Carter's funeral Sunday. June Carter Cash was Maybelle Carter's daughter.

Joe Carter is survived by three daughters and seven grandchildren.