Thirty-six Yalobusha Historical Society members and guests listened December 13, 2012 as former teenage Grenada WNAG radio star, Jackie Austin Weibly, and her brother, Bob Austin entertained with “Winter Wonderland,” “Let it Snow,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” and other Christmas tunes.
Jackie Austin was born in Grenada, MS in 1934. She began her singing career at eight years old singing in churches, weddings, civic clubs, and local productions. Jackie had her own radio show in her teens over W.N.A. G. in Grenada. At a very young age, she won an audition and appeared on Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour in Memphis, TN. As a result, she was chosen as one of the acts to go to New York City and appear on radio and T.V. shows there. Afterwards, W.M. P.S. offered Jackie a radio show in Memphis.
Jackie attended John Rundle High School in Grenada, but she graduated from Memphis Central High School in 1952. She joined Shep Fields Orchestra in 1953 and went on tour of the States. Growing tired of all the travel, Jackie settled in Houston, Texas where she started her own group. Shep Fields continued to be her agent the next twenty eight years as she worked most all the dinner clubs, hotels, private clubs, and country clubs in Houston and around the country, Shamrock Hilton Rice Hotel, One Shell Plaza, Top of the Mark, and many others.
In 1988, Jackie returned home to Grenada and still sings for churches, civic clubs, private parties, and her church, Lakewood Independent Methodist Church.
And, Jackie’s brother, Bob Austin also had an exciting career. Upon graduating from John Rundle High School in 1956, he joined the United States Army and served in Korea, Viet Nam, Japan, and Germany. Bob retired from services in 1982 as sergeant major after 25 years in the Army. Returning to Grenada, Bob went to work with the Mississippi Dept. of Transportation. He retired in 1999.
Bob always enjoyed singing, and he and Jackie said that their mom, Mary Austin, was their mentor and teacher.
Jackie concluded with “White Christmas” with Bob’s imitation of the one and only “Bing”.
Afterwards, Jackie let the members in Christmas songs accompanied by Emma Hovey at the piano.
Please come next December and entertain us, Jackie and Bob.
Memories were kindled as I remembered the “adults talking of the popular talented teenage W.N. A. G. star, Jackie Austin,” when my parents lived on Adams Street, and Jackie’s and Bob’s parents lived on Pecan Street in Grenada.
Other notes of interest:
Lawrence Litten voiced a prayer.
Mike Worsham welcomed members and guests and thanked Dot Criss for decorating the church building beautifully for Christmas along with Tom Moorman’s geraniums.
Senator Gray Tollison’s raffle ticket was drawn for the afghan.
Debbie Hughes gave the monthly financial report.
Julia Fernandez announced that Margaret and Kat King will be the guest speakers for the January meeting, and their topic will be “Growing Up As Twins”.
Attending: Joy Tippit, Richard Weibly, Jackie Weibly, Robert Austin, Tom Moorman, Francine Pinnix, Jimmie Pinnix, Emma Hovey, Dave Hovey, Carl Vick, Mae Vick, Bettie Litten, Lawrence Litten, Julia Fernandez, Pat Brooks, Betty Davis, Ruth Perkins, John E. Perkins, Opal Wright, Gilbert Sullivan, Fletcher Fly, Sue T. Fly, Helen Jones, Kay McCulley, Cliff Chandler, Alma Moorman, Louise Herron, Lucia Holloway, Mary Ann Wood, Jason Jordan, Alice Jordan, Dot Criss, Debby Hughes, Mike Worsham, Margaret D. Ross, Sarah Williams
Submitted by: Joy M. Tippit