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Ev Huddleston
Born:  February 14, 1921
Died:  November 13, 1973

About The Artist

Promo Ad - Circle M Ranch - Culver, IN - Ev Huddleston and the Hoedown County Boys - Bob Petry - Cowboy Jim - Ford Dickson - Woody Mercer - June 1954
News Photo - Ev Huddleston - Highland Radio Operator - September 1957

Everett Floyd (Ev) Huddleston was born in Gary, IN on Valentine's Day 1921 to parents Porter and Gladys Huddleston. The 1930 U.S. Census shows he was the oldest of five children.

He married the former Pauline Irene Reeder in 1939. She was born on February 16, 1920.

Ev signed his WW2 Draft Registration card on February 16, 1942. A story in the local Hammond Times in January 1945 indicated he was one of about 15 soldiers from that area wounded in action. The story indicated his wife was living at Brooks Place in Gary.

Upon his return from military service, he appears to have turned to the entertainment field and was a disc jockey at radio station WWCA in Gary, IN. Country Song Roundup wrote of him in 1950: "Although a 100% disabled veteran, Ev is making quite a name for himself these days. The popularity of this Hoosier Corn Popper is rapidly gaining momentum..." He had a daily morning show on WWCA from 6am to 7am.

He later had a 9:05 to 10:00am show, playing the best hillbilly and western music, "I've gone for that good old music since I was a lad and guess I'll always go for it." Outside of his radio work, he was doing personal appearances with Roy Robley and his Tennessee Drifters.

By 1952, he the "Kilocycle Cowboy" as CSR termed him was working a 12:30pm to 1:00pm show each day. He had been promoted to staff announcer. They wrote, "...he is an ardent lover of Hillbilly and Folk music, Ev presents to his listening audiences, the "real thing in old time music."

Another magazine article noted he would end the week with a show called "1270 Ranch" (note: WWCA was 1270 on the AM dial.) that aired from 11pm to midnight. During that late hour, he featured Bob and the Lake County Ramblers.

Promo Ad - Frolic Inn - Calumet City, IL - Lake County Ramblers - APril 1951
Promo Ad - Oil Workers Hall - Hammond, IN - Roy Robley and his tennessee Drifters - Bob Short - June 1953

One of his local appearances was at a combined "surprise and birthday" party for a young Louie Meltzer on Sunday afternoon June 21, 1953. The article stated that "hillbilly disc jockey" Ev Huddleston, with just his guitar, sang many requested songs at the party. Readers learned that birthday cake with ice cream and strawberries were served to everyone; pictures taken; and games played by the kids. Ev brought along his son (Billy) and daughter (Dawn) to the party.

That was not the only party he made an appearance at. He was known to visit the home of shut-ins to perform for them. On February 19, 1954, he visited a member of his fan club, Marilyn Roesner at the home of her parents. Huddleston's family were also guests at the visit along with others from the Indiana area.

By 1956, he had apparently taken on the role of communications officer for the Highland (IN) police department. An article discussed the proposal by the Indiana Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to continue just issuing one license plate. But there was sentiment for having two plates. Huddleston was quoted in the article, "...In police work, you have to have something to see and two are better than one. Time is often important and a front license plate aids enforcement."

He was featured in a September 1957 article. Readers learned that the lives of citizens living in Highland, Griffith, Dyer and Schererville "...hinge(d) on the split-second timing of Everett Huddleston." But readers did not know that the 36 year old Everett was a disabled veteran, a father of five children, the architect and builder of his own home, a one-time disc jockey and a part-time guitarist.

He was the only contact that cruising police vehicles in those four towns had with their police stations. He was relieved at 4:00pm by Norman Spence. The radio operators were paid all of $1.25 an hour - yes, you read that right, $1.25 an hour. They did not have any pension rights, no hospitalization benefits, did not receive cost-of-living increases or even a lunch hour and coffee-breaks. In fact, some Highland town residents objected to a 1958 budget proposal giving them a five-cent an hour increase in pay along with a two-week paid vacation. But Mr. Huddleston noted the job was not "...eight straight hours of pounding, hammering, sawing or drilling. It's a pleasant job, which involves meeting lots of interesting personalities."

Between calls, he noted he has to be on his toes. There's only about 40 seconds between the time you get the call and then inform the proper officer. If one cannot be reached, he has to find someone else. A life can be hanging on the quickness of response, "nerve-wracking."

Death Notice - Everett Huddleston - November 1973 But how did he support his family? He repaired radios and played lead guitar with the Jack Bradshaw Tennessee Trio on weekends. Those extra funds along with the disability pension from the US Government helped him support his wife, Pauline, and kids - Lee, Dawn, Billy, Larry and Gladys.

Idle time was rare. In the 1957 article, he noted he was building a three room addition to the home on Minnesota Avenue in Gary. During the summer he tended to his plants in the yard - four rose bushes, two grapevine, a Scotch pine, weeping willow, a mock orange bush, apple, pear, dogwood and wild cherry tree along with numerous hedges.

Discussion then turned to his military service. He was wounded twice during World War II. While he felt he could be a millionaire, he did not want the added weight that might carry. He liked to stay in his own realm of people. He did feel though that he and his fellow radio operator deserved a pay bump to $1.30 an hour.

In fact, all three radio operators were disabled and the Police Chief, Harold Yoder, noted it was a conscious effort as the men were competent, conscientious individuals. But at a town meeting, one citizen felt the jobs were not meant to pay a living wage (an argument one hears about the minimum wage in this modern era). He asked "Don't these fellow all have other jobs?" The original plan was that members of the Highland Police Association were to support staffing the position on a volunteer basis.

Another 1958 article notes the three people working for Highland were disabled; two were World War II veterans; the other had multiple sclerosis.

The 1958 article relates a bit more of his war time experience. He manned a machine gun with the Third Infantry Division in Europe. He was wounded in action and received two Purple Hearts along with the Combat Infantryman's Badge and Bronze Star. He played the electric guitar and was said to have been known as "...the Red Foley of the Open Hearth..."

Mr. Huddleston worked for the town of Highland as chief radio operator for about 17 years. He resigned from the force in October 1973. Little else was published about Mr. Huddleston until 1973. In November of that year, a death notice was published - he was found dead in his car at home, an apparent suicide from carbon monoxide poisoning at the age of 52. He left behind his wife, Pauline, five daughters and five sons as well as his mother.

Pauline passed away in June of 2002 at the age of 82.

Promo Ad - Jim and Teddy's Tap - Hammond, IN - Jack Bradshaw - Marty Winkfein - Ev Huddleston - October 1957

Credits & Sources

  • Lt. Nowak Missing; 15 Area Solders Are Wounded; January 12, 1945; The Hammond Times; Hammond, IN
  • Our Album Of Country Song Folk; December 1950; No. 9; Country Song Roundup; Charlton Publishing Corporation; Charlton Building; Derby, CT
  • Disc Jockey Roundup; September 1952; No. 22; Cowboy Songs; American Folk Publications; Charlton Building; Derby, CT
  • Silver On The Sage; April 1952; No. 17; Country Song Roundup; American Folk Publications; Charlton Building; Derby, CT
  • Silver On The Sage; June 1953; No. 24; Country Song Roundup; American Folk Publications; Charlton Building; Derby, CT
  • Westville Youngster Given Surprise art; Birthday and Farewell; June 23, 1953; Vidette Messenger; Valparaiso, IN
  • Steger Personals; February 19, 1954; The Chicago Heights Star; Chicago Heights, IL
  • Police Slit On Number of Plates; July 31, 1956; The Hammond Times; Hammond, IN
  • Highland Police Radio Men On The Job; September 5, 1957; The Hammond Times; Hammond, IN
  • Alert Police Radiomen On The Job In Suburbs; October 26, 1958; The Hammond Times; Hammond, IN
  • Highland Police Radio Center Celebrating 10th Birthday; October 26, 1965; The Hammond Times; Hammond, IN
  • Huddleston Rites Today; November 15, 1973; The Hammond Times; Hammond, IN
  • Obituary: Pauline I. Huddleston; June 7, 2002; The Hammond Times; Hammond, IN

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