Local News

April 9, 2014

Otis Head, businessman and radio personality, passes away

‘Folksy appeal’ remembered

Otis Head, a musician and longtime radio personality in Whitfield County known for his showmanship, passed away on Tuesday.

He was 94.

Randall Franks, a friend of Head’s for some 25 years who will help officiate his funeral, said Head “had a great ability to relate with other people, a great ability to communicate.”

“His personality was very outgoing,” Franks said.

Many people in the area, Franks said, heard Head, the self-proclaimed “Mayor of Plainview,” on local radio stations. According to Head’s obituary, his “Otis Head Show” and its predecessors appeared on Dalton-area radio stations for more than 50 years. His final live broadcast on WTTI was last month.

The obituary said Head started hosting live radio shows featuring country and bluegrass music in 1959 on WBLJ. He moved to WRCD for 28 years, and spent 27 years at WTTI.

Head, who is a member of the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame, hosted many bluegrass and country music stars on his radio shows over the years, including Raymond Fairchild, Arnold Sanford, the Fort Mountain Boys and the Bell Brothers. As a producer, he assisted the careers of Fairchild, country singer Clyde Beavers and numerous bluegrass and gospel acts, his obituary said.

Franks said Head was known for his sharp mind.

“He knew every commercial off the top of his head,” Franks said. “Just like the business owner wanted. He had this wonderful folksy appeal.”

Franks said Head was also known for his love of Western-style clothing — including an iconic cowboy hat and boots — and performed gun shows throughout the region and as far away as North Carolina. The shows featured “an array of Western-themed street plays featuring gunfights for audiences in Western theme parks,” his obituary said. “Head was a quick-draw pistol artist and usually played the role of the town marshal in the productions.”

Head was born near Prater’s Mill north of Varnell at Gobbler’s Knob and said he grew up listening to the adults around him, who were playing mountain and country music. He learned to play the harmonica as a result.

Head worked in Detroit during World War II, returning to Whitfield County in 1944 where he bought property about six miles north of Dalton.

“I called it Plainview and the name just stuck,” he said.

His obituary said he opened a grocery store and restaurant called the Plainview Superette on Cleveland Highway in the 1940s. The business evolved over time into a clothing store and video store and ended up as a tanning and hair salon.

The funeral service for Head will be Friday at noon at the Pleasant Grove Chapel of Julian Peeples Funeral Home with Minister Doyle Partin and Franks officiating.

The family will receive friends at the funeral home Friday from 10 a.m. until the time of the service. Burial will be in Varnell Cemetery.

 

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