Rusty McNeil dies at 81; U.S. folk-music historian who teamed with her husband

Raising their children and several dogs in a converted school bus, the couple toured the country for 15 years, teaching its history through its grass-roots music.

Folk singer Rusty McNeil was willing to take her husband-and-wife act on the road in the early 1970s, but the mother of five had one stipulation: "Family had to come first."

So the McNeils converted a retired 1949 school bus into a home on wheels that they called Amazing Grace because it was "amazing we ever got anywhere," she later said.

Keith and Rusty McNeil, as they billed themselves, traveled the United States for 15 years on the bus, raising their children and a succession of dogs as they forged a career teaching American history through folk music.

Rusty McNeil died Dec. 15 at her home in Riverside of complications from a stroke she had in early 2009, said her son David. She was 81....

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