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Who Skeeter Davis
What 'Grand Ole Opry' member Skeeter Davis dies of cancer at age 72
When September 20, 2004
Where Nashville, TN

Excerpts from above story/link

Skeeter Davis, the Grand Ole Opry member who became an international star on the strength of her million-selling crossover single, The End of the World, died yesterday at Alive Hospice in Nashville after a lengthy battle with cancer. She was 72.

With its strings, piano and smooth vocals, The End of the World was a classic ''Nashville Sound'' recording that brought Ms. Davis to the attention of many listeners who previously had ignored country music.

Though her remarkable voice — a pliant, nearly twangless instrument that was as well-suited to pop ballads as to country songs — brought her to attention, it was often Ms. Davis' bubbly personality that was most impressive to fans and friends. Though she faced hardships during an impoverished childhood, during some contentious marriages (she was wed three times, including a well-publicized one to legendary disc jockey Ralph Emery) and during later years in which she faced debilitating health problems, she remained one of the Opry's most accessible, talkative and effervescent stars.

Unafraid of unpopular positions, Ms. Davis was supportive of the long-haired country-rock band The Byrds after that group was treated harshly by an Opry audience in 1968.

"We walked out the back door with our tails between our legs, and Skeeter caught up with us and said, 'You Byrds don't be afraid of these people: they're just not caught up yet,' " said Byrds member Chris Hillman. "I told her later, 'You were the only one who stood up for us. You were there for us, and I'll never forget you for that.' "

Ms. Davis was born Mary Frances Penick on Dec. 30, 1931, in the Appalachian village of Dry Ridge, Ky. Her "Skeeter" nickname was bestowed by her grandfather. In her 1993 autobiography, Bus Fare From Kentucky, Ms. Davis wrote that she was so-named because her grandfather said she was "just like a little 'ol water bug skeeting here and there.' "

Funeral arrangements are incomplete. Williamson Memorial Funeral Home, 3009 Columbia Ave., Franklin, is handling the arrangements.

Survivors include sisters Shirley Katherine Elfers of Ormond By The Sea, Fla., and Carolyn Sue Penick of Fairview, Tenn.; and brothers James Williams Penick of Dry Ridge, Ky., and Harold Lee Penick of College Grove, Tenn.

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Contact Tim Ghianni and Peter Cooper
The Tennesseean


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