Sophia (Germanich) McElwaine, 96, Caldwell, died Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007, of natural
causes at a local care center. Cremation was under the direction of Dakan Funeral Chapel,
Hillbilly-Music.com Notes: Sophia and her parents were immigrants from the Ukraine
area that was part of Russia back in the early 1900s. She was less than one year old when
her parents moved to the United States to pursue their dreams.
She began her musical training in high school, but she had to give up her education
for a time and the musical classes because the family economics required her to find a job.
She first found work in the circulation department of Prairie Farmer, the owner of radio
station WLS, back in 1929, working for Mr. G. A. Holt. However, her vocal talents
also got noticed and Mr. Holt agreed with Burridge D. Butler, publisher of Prairie
Farmer, that she should be "moved upstairs" to the radio division.
Sophia was known as a sweet singer, famous for her closing hymn number on the show,
About 1937, she married Bob McElwain of the WLS business department.
She was featured on the cover of the WLS Stand-By magazine in the June 1, 1935 issue.
One of the early WLS Family Albums that Prairie Farmer published annually, noted,
"Sophia has an unusually mellow soprano voice. She sings mostly the old classics,
and a classic, you know, is a song you keep on liking after you've heard it for years."
In June of 1935, she was featured during the Dinnerbell Programs Monday through Friday
from 12:15pm to 1:00pm CST. Other stars who appeared on the program with her included
Ralph Waldo Emerson, organist; Hoosier Sod Busters; WLS Rangers; Dean Brothers (Eddie Dean);
The Westerners; and the Flannery Sisters.
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