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Otis Head dies at 94

Veteran bluegrass radio host,
Appalachian musician and Western stunt performer dies at 94

     Harmonica stylist
and 60-year radio host Otis Head, age 94, of the Plainview Community, died
Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at Heritage Health Care in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga. He was
born near Prater’s Mill, North of Varnell, Ga. at Gobbler’s Knob. 
     Head was also a prizefighter, Western and
Appalachian music promoter and performer and record producer. He began his
performance career competing on a talent show in “Doc” Chamberlain’s Medicine
Show hosted by country legend Rambin’ Tommy Scott in the late 1930’s.
     As a producer,
he fostered the careers of multi-million selling banjo stylist Raymond
Fairchild; country singer Clyde Beavers and numerous bluegrass and gospel acts.
He hosted seasonal western shows in Florida and North Carolina featuring an
array of western-themed street plays featuring gunfights for audiences in
western theme parks. Head was a quick draw pistol artist and usually played the
role of the town marshal in the productions.
     He promoted
music shows in the Northwest Georgia area featuring Country Music Hall of Famers
Bill Monroe and Charlie Louvin, Boys from Indiana, the Bailes Brothers, the
Lewis Family, Randall Franks and Raymond Fairchild. His “Otis Head Show” and it
predecessors ran on Dalton area radio for almost 60 years with his final live
broadcast on WTTI in March 2014. He began hosting live radio shows featuring
country and bluegrass in 1959 on WBLJ. He moved to WRCD for 28 years and
finally settled at WTTI sharing bluegrass gospel for 27 years.
     Head was an
entrepreneur and entertainer that opened the Plainview Superette, a grocery
store and restaurant, famous for his Otis Burger, north of Dalton, Ga. in the
1940s. Working to meet the changing needs of the community, his business
location changed its focus from food to clothing, shoes to videos and finally to a tanning and hair salon.
     He was a
volunteer of the Share America Foundation donating his time to raise funds for
scholarships encouraging youth in Appalachian music. Head was highlighted in
Ramblin “Doc” Tommy Scott’s autobiography “Snake Oil, Superstars and Me” in
2007. He was inducted into the Atlanta County Music Hall of Honor for his
contributions to music in 2008.
     He was preceded
in death by his parents, Daniel and Cleo Head; his first wife, Floy Felker
Head; his second wife, Mary Pittman Parris; brothers, Euelle, Floyd, Basil,
William, and Dewey Head; sisters, Ruby, Edith, and Betty.
     He is survived by
his sons, Kenneth O. Head of Atlanta, Chris Davidson of Dalton, Judy (John)
Hayes of Dalton; sister, Alise Cline of Palm Bay, Florida; grandchildren, Holly
and Keith Rollins, Shana and Jim Medlen both of Dalton, and Glen and Danette
Head of Memphis, TN; seven great-grandchildren; special niece, Connie Long;
step-children, nephews, nieces; long time friends, Randall Franks, Don and Pam
Poteet, Deborah Jones and listeners also survive.
     The funeral
service to honor the life of Mr. Head is Friday April 11, 2014 at 12:00 pm at
the Pleasant Grove Chapel of Julian Peeples Funeral Home with Minister Brother
Doyle Partin and Randall Franks officiating. Burial will be in Varnell
Cemetery.
     In lieu of
flowers, please make donations to the following: Central Church of Christ
building fund, PO Box 1527 Dalton GA 30720 or the Share America Foundation,
Inc., P.O. Box 42, Tunnel Hill, Ga. 30755 (www.shareamericafoundation.org)
or the American Cancer Society.

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