Florida native and famed country singer Slim Whitman died Wednesday, June 19, at the age of 90.
ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Florida native and famed country singer Slim Whitman has died at the age of 90.
A family member confirmed Whitman passed away peacefully surrounded by family overnight Wednesday at Orange Park Medical Center. He had heart and kidney failure.
Witman sold more than 120 million records and he's known around the world for songs like Rose Marie, I Remember You, and Indian Love Call. People in Middleburg say he was just a humble, down to earth guy.
Middleburg McDonald's owner Richard Johnson says, "The first time I met him, I was at the front counter and he was sitting at the table by his picture. I was looking at the picture, looking at him, looking at the picture, looking at him. He got up, came over, took my hand and said 'hi I'm Slim Whitman.'"
Whitman's grandson Dewey Beagle says his handshake is something he'll always remember.
"Told me to shake his hand at an early age. And he said, 'Shake it like you mean it. Don't let people think they're shaking a wet dish rag when they grab your hand.' And for some reason, that has stuck with me, probably more than anything else he taught me," remembers Beagle.
He also remembers how simple he was.
"He would be out at the farm out in Middleburg. He mowed his gown grass, grew his own garden, hoe the weeds, bring the vegetables in. He was Paw-Paw to me," says Beagle.
Beagle shares a story about when he found out who his "Paw-Paw" was. They were on vacation and went to Knots Berry Farm in California.
"He set us down in front of the stage and said I'll be right back. Then all of the sudden they introduced this guy Slim Whitman. And he comes out in this white rhinestone suite. And I'm like, 'That's Paw-Paw what's he doing?' And he goes through this whole show and he goes back and takes his suit off and he said 'alright, let's go on the log ride'," says Beagle.
That's the kind of man Slim Whitman was.
"The way he presents himself, you would never know that he was a celebrity," says Middleburg resident Don Fudge.
"Just a really nice guy... Every time he came in he would just be very nice, and just sit there and eat quietly... Didn't really know it was him," says Johnson.
He has two children, two grand-children, and three great grandchildren. His wife died in 2009.
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Slim Whitman's song list from his 20 Greatest Hits album released in 2002:
1. Indian Love Call
2. Singing Hills
3. Something Beautiful To Remember
4. Tomorrow Never Comes
5. More Than Yesterday
6. The Twelfth Of Never
7. North Wind
8. It's No Sin
9. My Heart Is Broken In Three
10. I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
11. Secret Love
12. Keep It A Secret
13. Cattle Call
14. It's A Sin To Tell A Lie
15. Rose Marie
16. Rainbows Are Back In Style
17. Guess Who
18. Love Song Of The Waterfall
19. I Remember You
20. That Silver-Haired Daddy Of Mine
First Coast News