Earl Hamner Jr., the creator of one of America's favorite family shows, The Waltons, has died at the age of 92. He passed at Cedars Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles after battling pneumonia, his Scott posting on Facebook that Hamner was surrounded by his family and listening to John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” when he died. Time published an obituary remembering the life and work of Hamner.

Like John Boy (played by Richard Thomas), the show’s character he modeled on himself, Hamner was born in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, on July 10, 1923. Also like John Boy, he was the eldest of eight children and named after his father.

It was there that Earl Henry Hamner Jr. grew up in such modest circumstances that his family owned few books other than the Bible and had no telephone. It wasn’t until a high school field trip to the World’s Fair in New York City in 1939, Hamner once said, that he actually learned how to use a phone. Until that trip, he said, he had never been more than 40 miles from home.

Head over to Time to read the full obituary.

Feature image via Warner Bros.