Netterville remembers ‘kind’ singing governor

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 8, 2000

To most people, he was &uot;Singing Governor,&uot; whose death Sunday at age 101 made headlines throughout his native Louisiana.

But to DeCarla Netterville of Natchez, Jimmie Davis was simply a beloved grandfather.

&uot;Everything I’ve seen written about him is true. He had a really good sense of humor and did a lot for the state,&uot; Netterville said Tuesday.

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Davis will be buried this afternoon in the cemetery of the Jimmie Davis Tabernacle in Jonesboro, La.

Since Netterville’s mother and father divorced when she was very young, she did not have the chance to get to know her paternal grandfather until relatively recently. But in the last few years, she grew to know and love her grandfather as many others did.

&uot;He was a good person,&uot; said Netterville, the only child of Davis’ only child, Jimmie Jr. &uot;He would get on the phone up until his very last days to do something for someone.&uot;

She said Davis — who wrote more than 400 songs in his lifetime, including Louisiana’s state song, &uot;You Are My Sunshine&uot; — had a sunny view of life. &uot;He would still tell jokes,&uot; she said. &uot;He never got down. … even though, at the last, he couldn’t get around as well.&uot;

That kindness and optimism attracted friends to Davis, the kind of friends who stuck with him for many years.

Netterville said she saw an example of that at Davis’ 100th birthday celebration in his home of Baton Rouge.

&uot;It was gratifying to see, during all the celebrations, that so many people stuck with him,&uot; Netterville said.

&uot;He got up and sang on his 100th birthday. He sang ‘You Are My Sunshine.’ And everybody sang with him.&uot;