Throughout much of 1962 Pat did not work as a radio announcer, nor as a musician. Don Holly had moved to California, in an attempt to advance his musical career in a larger market.
She continued to emcee concerts for promoter Phil Simon, however. Jim Reeves returned to the Civic Auditorium in late March for a show beginning at 10:30 P.M. Reeves’ appearance was part of a three city tour of Michigan, which also included Muskegon and Saginaw. 93 This was Reeves’ final appearance in Grand Rapids, as he tragically perished in an airplane crash during a thunderstorm on July 31, 1964.
Jim Reeves and Buck Owens were the headliners for a late show on March 24, 1962 94
In October, Johnny Cash returned again to Grand Rapids, accompanied this time by George Jones and Cash’s future (1968) wife, June Carter. In 1939, at age 10, she began performing with her mother and sisters in the Carter Family musical group. June was previously married to country singer Carl Smith, from 1952 to 1956.
10.6.62 Johnny Cash, George Jones and June Carter provided the entertainment for another late show on October 6, 1962. 95
Johnny Cash and his band at the Civic Auditorium on October 6, 1962. This time Cash was photographed holding a tire iron and an axe instead of his customary guitar.
Faron Young appeared at the Grand Rapids Civic Auditorium for a New Year’s Eve show. Although a number of Young’s recordings had previously reached the country music charts, his rendition of Willie Nelson’s ‘Hello Walls’ was a million selling record for Young in 1961.
Faron Young entertained country music lovers at the Civic Auditorium on December 31, 1962. 96
Faron Young and Pat Boyd (Pat Boyd Holton collection)
In the spring of 1963, Bobby Bare and Del Shannon shared top billing at the Civic Auditorium for a WGRD concert presentation, held on April 8th. Ten days later Bare was in Nashville recording the song that would make him famous, called ‘Detroit City (I Wanna Go Home).’ It was released in May and remained on the Billboard country music charts for eighteen weeks. 97
This is the top portion of a WGRD ‘Fabulous 50’ chart, essentially the station’s slightly expanded version of a ‘Top 40’ chart. It is dated April 5, and advertises the Bobby Bare and Del Shannon concert at the Civic Auditorium, to be held only three days later. 98 (Ron Beatty collection)
The August 31, 1963 issue of Billboard magazine announced that Pat was again employed as a D.J. This time she was piloting an evening program called ‘Hootenanny Country Style’ for WJEF. Her show was on the air every evening except for Sunday. WJEF’s studio was located on the tenth floor of the Pantlind Hotel. When Sonny James and Ferlin Husky came to Grand Rapids, they visited Pat at WJEF studios.
Pat displayed her characteristic determination during this same Billboard magazine interview. She regretted that “country music had died out locally during the last several months and was hoping that we can get it back to swinging again, right soon.” 99 Unfortunately, this job also turned out to be relatively short-lived. By mid-1964 she had changed stations again and was now working for Ed Fitzgerald’s new station, WERX, with Jack Stack. Pat Boyd estimates that she was with WERX for about one year. She worked there on Saturdays, beginning around June first. 100
Pat Boyd was working for WERX during June of 1965. ( Pat Boyd Holton collection)
Lee Lyons, who worked with Ed Fitzgerald at WMAX in the late 1950s, claims that Ed had invested in a few 1959 Rock and Roll Caravan shows held at the Civic, and netted a profit of roughly $10,000, which he eventually used to buy WERX.
William E. Walker and his son, Thomas A. Walker of Madison, Wisconsin bought WERX from Fitzgerald in 1965. After selling the station Ed went to The Dalles, Oregon, where his brother Anthony lived. Ed worked there briefly at a radio station located between The Dalles and Portland, Oregon.
Upon returning to Grand Rapids, he began working as the DJ for a big band jazz and ‘easy listening’ radio show. 101 He named his new program ‘Afterglow.’ It was aired on WYON in the evening, beginning in February of 1965. He worked on this show from Monday through Saturday. WYON studios were located near Ionia. ‘Afterglow’ was on the air for eleven years until WYON was purchased by Pathfinder Communications, owners of WCUZ. 102
(Editor’s note: Lack of clarity exists as it pertains to the chronology concerning when Ed Fitzgerald sold WERX and when he began at WYON. The timeline Fitzgerald presents for a Grand Rapids Press article (Grand Rapids Press, Sunday, December 12, 1976, Mike Firlik pp. 3-5) asserts that he was with WERX for two years, followed by a six month stay in Portland, Oregon. This same article proposes that upon his return to Grand Rapids from Portland, he began broadcasting at WYON in February of 1965. The website article located at: http://www.michiguide.com/dials/rad-a/wbfx.html also suggests that Ed was working at WYON by 1965.
However, a May 1964 Billboard article states that WERX was going to begin broadcasting around June 1, 1964. If Fitzgerald actually did own WERX for two years, and this Billboard article is accurate, this would place his sale of WERX around mid-1966. I am inclined to believe that he owned WERX for no more than one year, or that Ed Fitzgerald bought WERX well before the time they actually began broadcasting.)
Ed Fitzgerald during his decade with WMAX, from 1954 to 1964 103
Patricia Ann Boyd Holton
An announcement concerning Pat Boyd’s and Don ‘Holly’ Holton’s wedding appeared in the September 28,1963 issue of Billboard magazine. 104 “The wedding ceremony took place in her mother’s home.”
They both eventually quit playing for dances and concerts after they were married. Pat explains, “without my radio program on the air, things were ‘dead in the water.’ ” She was no longer in the ‘public spotlight,’ and it became much harder to obtain jobs and find an effective way to advertise the events they obtained. Don was employed as a long-distance truck driver, as well, which made it almost impossible to schedule his band’s engagements.
Although these newlyweds were both focused on their marriage and their full time jobs, their mutual appreciation of country music never wavered. To this day, much of their spare time is spent travelling to see concerts and club performances by country musicians. Some of these performers are good friends, like George Hawkins, who now lives and still performs near Orlando, Florida.
Although Pat was working at her evening radio show at WJEF at the time she married, it was not long before this position was eliminated. By late 1965 she had retired from radio announcing.
During the first four months of 1965, three more big country shows took place at the Civic Auditorium. In January, Hank Snow was the headliner. In mid-February Johnny Cash returned to Grand Rapids, as part of a five city tour of Michigan. Roger Miller and Carl Smith also appeared at the Civic in April.
In 1966, Pat was listed in the book of ‘Country Music’s Who’s Who.’ 105
Carrie Boyd returns to Boma
Pat lived with her mother until she married Don in 1963. Eventually, her mother sold her home and moved in with Pat and Don. They added a second story addition to their home to create a nice apartment for Carrie. Don showed great respect for his mother-in-law, and Carrie was always included in their family activities.
Pat’s mother was living with Pat and Don when she passed away on October 23, 1985.
After the funeral, Carrie was brought back home to be buried at Smellage Cemetary in Boma, Tennessee. Pat’s father and their good friend Larry Lee are also buried in the Roberts family cemetery plot.
Retirement from General Motors
When Pat Boyd started at General Motors in 1950, she was performing general secretarial work, as well as working with blueprints and photo static copying. Her subsequent duties were to work as a stenographer and typist. Upon receiving a promotion, she functioned as secretary for the sales manager and was then promoted again to executive secretary for the general sales manager. Her next role was to become a customer contact relations worker for production control. Her final occupation was to serve as the AC Rochester vehicle coordinator, beginning in 1986. Pat retired in late September of 1992, after working for General Motors for 42 years.
Function at the Junction
In 1995 Pat Boyd once again worked as a country radio DJ, for WBYW-FM radio station. She named her new show “Function at the Junction.” The name for her new show was suggested by a former colleague at WMAX. This Walker-based non-profit station was operated by a volunteer labor force. Pat was excited about her new opportunity to provide ‘good old-fashioned’ country music for her listeners. She was also pleased to be able to use her position to promote her favorite charities like the Humane Society, American Cancer Society and Habitat for Humanity. In 1997, the station went off the air.
Still carrying the tradition on
Pat and Don Holton are now in their 80s. In 2012, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. However, they are not slowing down. They have not forgotten the details concerning what has transpired over the course of their lives. Pat still approaches life in ‘full stride,’ much like she did while she was a DJ and handling a full time job at the same time. She always has a new project that she is working on, like helping me with this article.
Don and Pat have nearly travelled throughout the entire world, since they began taking long-distance trips in 1987.
They also enjoy planning and attending their high school class reunions and keeping in touch with their many friends.
Don loves to go fishing with his friends and family.
Pat and Don still attend South Grand Rapids Methodist Church.
Pat still reads everything she can track down concerning country musicians and the country music industry. She has a comprehensive library of books, magazines, articles and pictures which document the history of country music, including her own contributions. Pat is still working hard to stay well-connected with the country music ‘world,’ and she certainly keeps track of what is going on.
Pat and Don never tire of hearing good country music. They love to talk about the music and the musicians. They still make regular trips to Nashville to see the Grand Ole Opry and visit every other place which hosts good country music shows, regardless of how far away it is.
They also visit Pat’s relatives in Boma, Tennessee. “Boma has not really changed. Everyone that lives in Boma is my cousin,” Pat exaggerates.
This couple has carried on the ‘old-time’ country music tradition in every way they know how, and with all of their hearts.They have never ‘let the fire go out’ of their passion for country music. Much of what is peddled today in the name of country music is probably more accurately described as county-rock. But this does not distract Pat from her love and pursuit of what she honors and cherishes, and still known as her “magnificent obsession.”
Pat Boyd’s “Magnificent Obsession” – Part Two of Seven
Pat Boyd’s “Magnificent Obsession” – Part Three of Seven
Pat Boyd’s “Magnificent Obsession” – Part Four of Seven
Pat Boyd’s “Magnificent Obsession” – Part Five of Seven
Pat Boyd’s “Magnificent Obsession” – Part Six of Seven
Pat Boyd’s “Magnificent Obsession” – Part Seven of Seven
Footnotes and Credits
(Editor’s note: This manuscript contains many references from Billboard magazine. Their searchable ‘archive,’ which is located online within Google Books, served as an invaluable resource for this article. It helped me both construct and confirm the chronology for much of Pat’s radio and performance career, in particular. It appears that Pat Boyd as well as various other radio station employees submitted information concerning Pat’s activities to Billboard between 1955 and 1964.
The information obtained from my interviews with Pat Boyd (Holton) as well as the data gleaned from printed materials which Pat supplied was generally accurate and complete. Pat has done an incredible job of documenting her radio and performance career. Her memory of details is excellent, especially considering how busy she was while she was a radio announcer and also working full time at General Motors.
Nevertheless, it was very useful to be able to cross-reference Billboard magazine articles concerning events and dates relating to her story which appeared to be unclear, out of order, overlooked or forgotten.
None of these original Billboard excerpts which are cited in this article are more than one or two paragraphs in length. In an attempt to make this article more pleasant and readable, I have deposited most of the Billboard magazine reference information in the footnote section, located below.)
Footnotes and credits:
“Remembering the Ladies– A Salute to the Women of Early Radio, contributed by Donna L. Halper, from the January 1999 issue of Popular Communications
2. This information is based on federal census reports from 1910 and 1920.
3. Tennessee Coal Mining, Railroading & Logging in Cumberland, Fentress, Overton & Putnam Counties by Jason Duke, page 41
4. Based on information obtained from Polk’s Grand Rapids city directories, 1927, 1929, and 1930
History of Popular Music, from a chapter entitled A Brief History of Country Music, Piero Scaruffi
Also see: There’s a Contest Coming and a Ticket to Nashville”: Hillbillies on the Radio at: http://xroads.virginia.edu/~1930s/radio/c_w/essay1.html
Also see: The Cowboy in Country Music: An Historical Survey with Artistic Profiles, Don Cusic, page 12
9. Music of the World War II Era, by William H. Young
The above article is excerpted from American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MP3, Larry Starr and Christopher Waterman, published by Oxford University Press, copyright 2003, 2007
11. youtube.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlULuyvMEJw
12. youtube.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TQuSLSrsdI&list=PL58A795AE74D077C5
13. Ten Things You Didn’t Know about the Origins of Country Music, Richard A. Peterson, author of Creating Country Music http://press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/662845.html
15. http://americanradiohistory.com/Archive-BC/BC-1951/BC-1951-01-29.pdf 1.29.1951, page 2 Broadcasting-Telecasting,) i.e. state fairs
16. Billboard 1.1.1949, page 65
17. Billboard, 6.25.1949, page 1
18. Billboard, 7.16.1949, p.33
19. Grand Rapids Press, 11.23.1951, p. 34
20. youtube.com http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idURSDVwIVE
21. The source of this photo is WSM’s Official Grand Ole Opry, (souvenir book), 1957, volume 1, number 1. This picture of Del Wood is located on the cover of this souvenir book.
22. This photo was obtained from the following webpage: http://bobmartzradio.com/
Also see: http://www.metromediaradio.net/ted-brown/
24. This photo was obtained from: http://www.waterwinterwonderland.com/movietheaters.aspx?id=1260&Type=5
26. Billboard, 11.5.1955, page 42
27. Grand Rapids Press, 12.9.1955, page 52
28. The Sparta Reminder, Saturday, 8.29.1957, page 1, volume 7 number 35.
Also: The Sparta Reminder, 9. 5.1957, volume 7, number 36, page 1.
29. The Music Reporter, 12.16.1957, page 1
The Music Reporter magazine was established in Nashville, Tennessee in 1956, initially as the Country Music Reporter.
Also: Billboard, 12.23.1957, p.46
30. The Grand Rapids Press, 12.9.1955, page 52
31. The Music Reporter, 9.1957, page 1
32. Billboard, 9.30.1957, p. 61
33. The Sparta Reminder, 8.29.1957, volume 7, number 35, page 1
37. Grand Rapids Press, 1.4.1958, page 22
38. WSM’s Official Grand Old Opry History-Picture Book, 1957, volume 1, number 1, page 51
39. Billboard, 1.13.1958, page 79
40. Grand Rapids Press, 2. 4.1958, page 14
41. Anne Janette Johnson, Ernest Tubb Biography,
42. Grand Rapids Press, 7.2.1958, p.18 Pat’s show was broadcast at 6 P.M on Wednesday, July 2, 1958
43. South Kent News, 7.31.1958, p.1
44. Radio TV Mirror, volume 51, number 3 (mid-west edition)
46. Grand Rapids Visitor Magazine, December 1958 issue (cover) (Courtesy of GRPL Local History collection)
47. Billboard, 1.19.1959, page 18. (Pat appeared on this radio show on the January 10th)
49. The Music Reporter 3.30.1959, page 16 and Billboard, 4.13.1959, page 51. Pat Boyd appeared for this show on 3.14.1959.
51. Billboard, 4.20.1959, page 72
52. Grand Rapids Press, 2.18.1960 page 22
53. Grand Rapids Press, 4.1.1959 page 45
54. Billboard, June 6.8.1959, page 50
55. Grand Rapids Press, 5.9.1959, page 9
56. Billboard, 6.22.1959, page 73
57. Folk and Country Songs magazine, August 1959, page 20
59. This is the cover art for a compact disc release which contains a compilation of recordings Roberts made between 1948 and 1959. Release Date is 1999, Bear Family, ASIN: B0000282R6)
60. Billboard, 6.13.1960, page 46
61. Billboard, 8.15.1960, page 38
62. Billboard, 8.22.1960, page 42
63. Billboard, 9.7.1963, page 6
64. Billboard, 8.22.1960, page 42
65. Grand Rapids Press, 9.29.60, “Raid Ada Home”
66. Lowell Ledger-Suburban Life, Thursday, 7.29.1971, page 6
67. Grand Rapids Press, Thursday, 2.18.1960, page 22
68. Grand Rapids Press, 8.13.1960, page 18
69. Grand Rapids Press, 9.16.1960, page 40
70. WGRD music survey chart, 10.3.1960
71. Billboard 12.19.1960, page 166
72. Billboard 1.16.1961, page 56)
73. Billboard 5.26.1962, page 34.
Also Billboard, 11.10.1962, page 40. (The May 26, 1962 issue of Billboard magazine stated that “Cousin Ed Denkema is back on the air after a three year absence.”}
74. http://www.mcrfb.com/?cat=201 Also: Tarnished Gold, The Industry Revisited, R. Serge Denisoff, page 259
75. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_programming “ Block programming can simply be defined as arranging programs on radio or television so that similar programs or programs of the same sort of genre are aired one after another. The concept is to provide similar programming to keep the viewers interested in watching. Radio stations use it consistently, by programming the same type of music for long periods of time.”
Also: http://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-Miscellaneous/Archive-KOWH/Storz-Television-1957-May.pdf (Television Magazine, Radio study, ‘The Storz Bombshell,’ (about) Robert Todd Storz. Herman Land, executive editor, pp.85-92)
79. Billboard, 11.17.1958, page 2
80. Billboard, 1.16.1961, page 56
81. Billboard, 1.16.1961, page 56
82. Billboard, 3.6.1961, page 10
83. Billboard, 6.26.1961, page 14
84. Wyoming, Norma Lewis and Jay DeVrie, page 51
85. Wyoming, Norma Lewis and Jay DeVrie, page 51
86. http://articles.latimes.com/2002/may/03/local/me-passing3.2 Also: Billboard, 6.26.1961 page 14
87. Billboard, 8.28.1961, page 38
88. Billboard, 7.31.1961, page 8
89. Grand Rapids Press, 7.1.1961, page 7
90. Grand Rapids Press, 7.15.1961, page 7
91. South Kent News, 9.21.1961, page 8 Also: Billboard, 9.18.61, page 14
92. Billboard, 12.4.1961, page 31
93. Grand Rapids Press, 3.24.1962, page 3. The Jim Reeves Muskegon show was on 3.23.1962. The Grand Rapids concert was held on 3.24.1962, and on 3.25.1962 Jim Reeves appeared in Saginaw.
94. Grand Rapids Press, 3.24.1962, page 3
95. Grand Rapids Press, 10.2.1962, page 17
96. Grand Rapids Press, 12.31.1962, page 7
98. WGRD music chart, 4.5.1963, WGRD chart. (Ron Beatty collection)
99. Billboard, 8.31.1963, pages 16 and 47
100. Billboard, 5.23.1964, page 18
102, 103. Grand Rapids Press, Sunday, December 12, 1976, Mike Firlik, pages 3-5. My sincere thanks to Ed Fitzgerald’s granddaughter, Melanie Boyles, for sending me this article, as well as answering numerous questions about Ed’s career.
104. Billboard, 9.28. 1963, page 16
105. 1966 Country Music’s Who’s Who, Thurston Moore, page 81
- Ada Historical Society
- Bill Branz
- Bill Farrow
- Dick Fitzgerald (son of Ed Fitzgerald)
- Dick Wolf
- Don Holton
- Evans DeVries
- George Hawkins
- Lee Lyons
- Matt Weber
- Melanie Boyles (granddaughter of Ed Fitzgerald)
- Pat Boyd Holton
- Paul Collins
- Sandy Simon
- Steve Smith
- Tiffany Travis Bacon
- Tom Maas
- Marian Bolhuis– Ada Historical Society
- Dan DeVries
- Fred DeVries
- Tom Olejniczak
FS ~ 10-3-2014