Jimmy Stephens - Wheeling Jamboree (1963) * (photo from Judie Lee Fizer * 14.4.2020, thanks!).
Jimmy Stephens, New England Country Gentleman and Star of WWVA Jamboree, Died in 2006.
James F. “Jimmy Stephens” Papillo known as the “New England Country Gentleman”, 76, of Valley Grove, Wheeling, WV, passed away Saturday, April 29, 2006 in the Wheeling Hospital, after a long, valiant battle with many cancers.
He was born in Hartford, Connecticut, May 26, 1929, son of the late Frank and Antoinette Falvo Papillo.
“Jimmy” enlisted in Special services of the Armed Forces. Six weeks after, a heart murmur was detected, and he was given an honorable discharge.___________________________
He was a self-employed musician and entertainer as a member of the WWVA Jamboree USA for forty years, at the Capitol Music Hall, and also performed at the Victoria Theater in Wheeling, and performed at the very first Jamboree in The Hills event. He performed at many Benefits in the local area as well as the many concerts throughout the North East and Canada, and was well known in many local churches for his gospel music. He worked many of the U.S. O. tours including Thule Air Force Base in Greerland.
A loving and caring person, he touched the hearts of each and every person he met and was dearly loved by his family, friends and many fans.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a sister, Marie Gilberto.
Surviving are a daughter, Jomana M. Krupinski and her husband, Mark of Triadelphia, WV; three sons, James F. Papillo and his wife, Joanne; Stephen Papillo and his wife, Kathleen all of Conn.; and Anthony F. Papillo and his wife, Annette of West Hollywood, CA; two step-children, Robert L. Young and his wife, Lori of Valley Grove, WV; and Robin L. Raineri and her husband, Jim of Avella, PA; his step-mother, Mary Janice Papillo of Norma, NJ; eight grandchildren; several nieces and nephews; two life-long, musical friends, Smiley Roberts, of Nashville, Tenn. and Alan McElwain of Wheeling; two special friends, Joseph Mascolo of CA, and Cleo Whitecotton of Wheeling; Jimmy had a very special relationship with his singing partner of 41 years, and former wife, Jo Ann Davis (Vandergriff).
Sweethearts of the Jamboree receive star at Capitol Theatre.
(by Crissy Clutter, WTOV9 FOX, May 12th 2016):
WHEELING, W.Va. — The "Sweethearts of the Jamboree" were honored Wednesday at the Capitol Theatre in Wheeling with a star.
JoAnn Davis and her husband, the late Jimmy Stephens, wrote many songs and recorded two albums together.
The Sweethearts performed at the Jamboree in Wheeling for more than 40 years and at the first Jamboree in the Hills. They also were goodwill ambassadors for the Wheeling area as they traveled through the U.S. and Canada with their gospel and country music shows.___________________________
"Most of the experiences that I have had were just meeting all the kind, wonderful good friends because I have never called them fans. We have played in front of thousands of people and ten people and I would do either all over again," writer and performer JoAnn Davis said.
Davis's career was cut short when she developed a cancer in her throat, but a new door opened when she started writing children's books.
The star will be placed inside the Capitol. The stars already in place outside the theatre will soon be moved inside as well when the sidewalk is replaced.
(Wikipedia, 2020): On December 13, 1969, the WWVA Jamboree moved its live-audience shows back to the same Capitol Theatre used for the 1933 broadcasts. The Capitol Theatre had been purchased in the summer of 1969 by Communications Inc. and had its name changed to Capitol Music Hall. The Jamboree changed its name as well to the more cosmopolitan sounding Jamboree U.S.A. Special guest stars such as Buck Owens, Ray Price, Charlie Pride and Tammy Wynette, who weren't part of the regular cast, began to appear, and the regular artists were overshadowed. Despite the new format, Doc Williams continued to perform at the Jamboree well into the 1980s. Rockabilly singer Bob Gallion began to sing country duets with Patti Powell in the 1970s. The yodeler Kenny Roberts left the Jamboree in 1973 after a 14-year stint.
A new roster of country music stars were tied to the Jamboree during the 1960s and 1970s including Freddy Carr, Jimmie Stephens, Darnell Miller, Junior Norman, Kenny Biggs, Gus Thomas, Slim Lehart, and Bud Cutright.
Also bluegrass groups like Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys, Charlie Moore & Bill Napier, Red Smiley and His Bluegrass Cutups, Tater Tate and the Shenadoah Cutups, and Frank Necessary and the Stone Mountain Boys became more common at the Jamboree. Even gospel groups like the Blue Ridge Quartet—who became the most popular act of 1970—and Walter Bailes Singers were regulars at the show.
In the early 1970s, "Trucker's Jamborees" were held at the Jamboree with performers such as Dick Curless, Dave Dudley, and Patti Powell. Homecoming reunions were arranged where the old-timers of yesterday like Bill Jones, Elmer Crowe, Doc Williams, and Grandpa Jones could gather. It is estimated that between 1933 and 1976, more than five million visitors attended The World's Original WWVA Jamboree.