Otis Redding remembered in his home town

Otis Redding remembered in his home town
(Wiki photo)
Annie Ruth Dennard
Annie Ruth Dennard
Mary James
Mary James

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Terrell County born Otis Redding, the legendary singer who penned the song "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay", died 48-years ago today.

Plans for a memorial in his hometown faded a few years ago... but hope still lives on that the county's most famous musician will one day be honored in his birth place.

Otis Redding died at just 26, but memories of him live on. "Oh yeah, I just love his music," said Annie Ruth Dennard. "I loved him! And to know that he was from Dawson! I just thought he was great!

75-year-old Annie Ruth Dennard, and her aunt, 77-year-old Mary James, have ties to the rock n roll great.

Annie Ruth is a cousin, and Mary's husband was a distant cousin. But both remember Otis as a young boy growing up in Terrell County.

 "He was a nice little guy, a nice little guy," Annie Ruth said.

"He left here around four years old, but my husband knew the family, like I said they were connected," Mary James said.

It's a connection that never died, even though the Redding family settled in Macon. And in September, the city of Gray, outside Macon, and where the family has a 100-acre ranch, erected this seven foot tall memorial to the legendary singer.

It's something people in his native town would like to see too.  "I think it would be nice, I wish we could have one, and show our appreciate for him," Annie Ruth said.

"They should, this is his hometown, this is where he was born, I think they should," said Mary.

There were plans to put a memorial here, near the History Museum in Dawson, off a busy four-lane road, where travelers wouldn't miss that Otis Redding was born in Terrell County. "It's just awesome to have someone that talented from our hometown," said Mary.

The committee to construct the Otis Redding Memorial stopped its work in 2012 because they couldn't come to an agreement with the family. Former committee members told us they think they could raise the money for the project and they hope it will come together one day.

Redding's Beechcraft H18 crashed into Lake Monona, on December 9, 1967,  four miles from their destination at Truax Field in Madison, Wisconsin, in bad weather. The cause of the crash was never determined.

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