The will Faron Young signed three months before his suicide directed that everything be sold–from guns and clothing to publishing rights and song royalties.
Faron’s estate was purchased by Ed Gregory, whose United Shows of America (The Ultimate Midway) can be found at many state fairs.
My biography research includes reviewing Faron’s remaining possessions and papers. I persistently tried to contact the very busy Ed Gregory by letters and telephone calls.
On a 1999 Nashville visit, I made several attempts before he actually picked up the telephone and talked to me. He asked, “When do you want to come out?”
“How about this afternoon?”
“Fine, but you might have to wait if I have someone in my office.”
My sister, Kayo, and I hurried to Nolensville, prepared for a long wait.
Fortunately, he soon greeted us and led the way down a long hallway to his office.
He pointed out a few of the many autographed photos that lined the walls. President Clinton and Gene Autry appeared to be his favorites in the diverse collection of famous people.
Reaching a large office, we barely found a place to sit among the stacks of papers and momentos piled everywhere.
Ed sat down behind his cluttered king-sized desk and formally asked, “What can I do for you?”
Lacking published books to give me credibility, I used my military status. People seem to think someone who has gotten this far in the Navy must be trustworthy and reliable. I said, “I’m writing Faron Young’s biography. I probably should start by telling you I’m a Navy captain.”
Ed perked up at that comment and started asking questions about my Navy career.
He told us about his father being killed in a Japanese kamikaze attack in 1945, and that he’d served a Navy hitch himself.
Then Kayo mentioned her retirement from the Navy.
At that, Ed came out from behind his desk and moved papers to sit on the sofa near us.
We discussed country music and the Navy, which he told us are his two greatest loves.
Our knowledge of country music impressed him.
“What exactly can I do for you?” he asked again.
“I want to write the official biography and have access to all of Faron’s papers and records.”
I had brought no documentation of my ability to write a book, but our conversation must have convinced him to make an instant judgment.
He announced he would support my book and do whatever he could to assist.
He then invited us to be his guests backstage at the Grand Ole Opry that Saturday evening.
Ed allowed me to spend several hours in the warehouse that contained Faron’s possessions. I’m the only person he has trusted to be alone there.
On my next Nashville trip I hope to go through Faron’s papers. I’m learning that patience is a necessary attribute for a biographer.
Â© 2000 by Diane Diekman