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Life of Phil Everly Remembered for Contributions to Music and Muhlenberg

DSC 0279POWDERLY, Ky. (1/18/14) — “All I Have to Do is Dream,” sang cousins David Everly and Tim Giageous today as a tribute to their second cousin, the legendary Phil Everly, during a memorial honoring him. Phil Everly died Jan. 3 in L.A.

To say the dream of two country boys from Muhlenberg County to become singers/songwriters and musicians came true might be an understatement. The Everly Brothers, Phil and Don, not only achieved fame and fortune, but they realized the dream of having a community college campus in their hometown become reality.

A birthday celebration for the 75th birthday of Phil Everly for Jan. 19 was in the works a month ago, but after word of his death stunned the close-knit community of Muhlenberg County, the plan soon changed into a memorial service.

Nearly 400 people attended the tribute to Everly at service Saturday, Jan. 18 at the Merle Travis Center in Powderly. Friends, family and fans filled the auditorium as other friends and family took the stage to remember the famous Everly Brothers from Browne, Ky.

Betty and John Williams have been members of the Muhlenberg County Everly Brothers Fan Club since its inception 1989. They sat near the front of the auditorium during the service.

“We remember them when they played at the State Theater at a matinee when they were just boys,” said Betty Williams before the service. “We go way back.”

Williams said the brothers performed during a “talent show” in the afternoons at the State Theater in Central City. That theater, which was located where the library is now, later burned.

The memorial event was orchestrated by Central City Tourism Director Carmel Rich. Other organizers included long-time friend and fan club founder Marilyn Kirtley. Both spoke during the memorial service and Rich read a letter from former Central City Mayor Hugh Sweatt about his memories of Phil Everly.

Kirtley's son, former Muhlenberg Judge-Executive Rodney Kirtley, spoke during the tribute program as well as Bill Greenwood. Both were members of the Everly Brothers Foundation, which set up college scholarships and helped build the Muhlenberg Campus of the Madisonville Community College

Central City Mayor Barry Shaver also spoke and the Rev. Enoch Rich read a letter from his father, musician Dave Rich, who could not attend the service. Enoch Rich also played drums during the music throughout the service.

Musician and lifelong Everly friend, Bill Harlan, emceed the program and offered his memories of the brothers from their early lives through becoming world-famous singers and songwriters that helped form the early genre of music known as rock and roll.

Other performers included Muhlenberg Circuit Judge Brian Wiggins, Marty Brown and Roy Kyle.

Read more and see more stories about the Phil Everly memorial stories at www.surfky.com.

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Rita Dukes Smith
SurfKY News Director
Photos by Rita Dukes Smith

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

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