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
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.