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Jimmie Hart
and his Merrymakers
Born:  June 11, 1915
Died:  November 2, 1999
WSM Grand Ole Opry
KPAC Port Arthur, TX

Jimmie Hart was the stage name for Deane Loes Hart, Jr., born in Cleveland, Ohio. The family moved to Lakeland, Florida in 1924 when he was just nine years old. He graduated from Lakeland High School in 1933. He continued his education by attending Stetson University in Deland, Florida.

In 1935 he moved to Port Authur, Texas and began working as a performer and broadcaster for the local radio station, KPAC.

In 1937, a new group, the "Jubileers" was formed. Jimmie Hart at that time also worked for Sears in Port Authur as their Merchandising Manager. Sears sponsored the band and locally, they became known as the "Sears Jubileers".

Jimmie started playing the piano at age of 16, but not by reading music - he played entirely by ear.

He spent 12 years in Port Authur and married and had two daughters. However, after a lengthy battle with Lou Gehrig's disease, his wife passed away. This may be why Jimmie decided to leave the band. He also left his job at Sears and moved to Lakeland, Florida in 1947 so his parents could him raise the two girls.

While in Lakeland, he met his future second wife at church. They dated for about two weeks. They then hopped a plane and flew to Atlanta, Georgia where they were married. Their marriage lasted over 53 years.

He started working for Borden's Dairy as a display merchandiser and sign painter. He was next hired by the founder of PUBLIX Super Markets in 1951 to manage the interior decor, merchandising, and signage for the company. He also used his entertainment skills with Publix, serving as a Master of Ceremonies as well as entertaining audiences and customers with his talents as a musician, magician, and artist; he hoste many public functions and ceremonies.

He retired from Publix in 1984 after 31 years of service and moved to Weeki Wachee, Florida . Jimmie and his wife lived on the Weeki Wachee River. They were there for ten years, but had to move back to Lakeland so the children could could assist in their mother's health care.

Deane Loes (Jimmie) Hart, Jr. had good health up to his death on November 2, 1999. His wife died two days later from an unrelated illness.

Mr. Hart was a 33rd degree Mason, and was active in Blue Lodge, York Rite, Scottish Rite and Shrine. His enthusiasm, faith in his God, and concern for his fellow man made him a favorite among many. He never met a stranger, had many friends, and no enemies.

"Walk on the sunny side of life" was his philosophy. He was also quoted as saying "Look for the good in people", and "Have great faith in yourself and in God".

Credits & Sources

  • Hillbilly-Music.com wishes to express its appreciation to Tom Hart, son of Jimmie Hart, for providing biographical details about Jimmie Hart and his Merrymakers, the Port Arthur Jubileers as well as the photos accompanying this article.

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Recordings
 
Bluebird
Rec. No. Side Song Title
  8751 A Let's Start All Over Again
  8751 B Little Hula Girl
  8793 A After Thinking It Over
  8793 B Teeny Weeny


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