Dave Daughtry, R.I.P. A Close Friend, Mentor and Bon Vivant

When I moved to Northwest Florida, I formed a production services association to network with fellow production people. One of the first people I befriended was Denise Daughtry, who was the Pensacola film commissioner. When I was pregnant with Jack, she invited Dave Dorman and me over for lunch one day. As we sat in her fabulous kitchen, adorned with gorgeous antiques–my favorite thing–in walked her tall, gorgeous husband, bigger than life. He had this enormous stage presence, and reminded me a lot of western star Clu Gulager, but better looking.

Dave Daughtry, my friend, mentor, and someone who was just as beautiful on the inside as he was on the outside.

Dave Daughtry, my friend, mentor, and someone who was just as beautiful on the inside as he was on the outside.

It was then that I witnessed my Dave–who has met everyone from George Lucas to Guillermo del Toro–become starstruck. I’d never seen this before! Since I was new to the area, I didn’t realize Denise’s husband Dave Daughtry had been the nightly newscaster on the Pensacola TV station. But my Dave, who had lived there for 25 years, adored and admired him from afar. And now he was getting to know Dave Daughtry up close and personal.

For the remainder of the time I lived in Florida, they were an integral part of our social circle. They were with me at 5 p.m. on November 2nd when my first labor pains kicked in, and they were the first to meet newborn Jack in person, after Dave and my parents.

James Bond had nothing on Dave Daughtry.

James Bond had nothing on Dave Daughtry.

Last year I got to spend more time with the Daughtrys than usual. They hosted me in their lovely, historic home on many occasions as I traveled to the area on business. Dave would drive me to the airport with his two beloved standard poodles, Peachy and Pal, in his Jeep. We had great conversations and plenty of laughs. To say I will miss him is an understatement.

Without further adieu, here is his obit:

Services Saturday

Longtime broadcaster Dave Daughtry dies after more than 50 years in radio/TV

Funeral services will be held Saturday for Dave Daughtry, a popular figure in local radio and television for more than 30 years.

Mr. Daughtry died Tuesday at a Pensacola hospital. The native of Macon County, Ala. was 76.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at First Baptist Church in Pensacola. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m.

Mr. Daughtry, who got his start in broadcasting at a small radio station in Andalusia, Ala., had hosted the morning show on WEBY-AM in Milton for the past 14 years. In addition, he moderated a Sunday night BLAB-TV show, “Justice for All,” featuring attorneys Barry Beroset and Tommy Ratchford.

Although he also had been an anchor on WEAR-TV in Pensacola and a reporter-anchor on WALA-TV in Mobile, “radio was what he loved most,” said Denise Chenel Daughtry, his wife of 26 years.

His love meant long and early hours. He started preparing for his two-hour show at 2:30 a.m. and arrived at the Milton station at5 a.m. in order to go on the air at 6 a.m.

“He joined us in 2001 and he’s been our morning guy ever since,” said Mike Bates, owner of WEBY. “We even ran a promotion called ‘Wake Up With Dave’ and that’s what a lot of people did.”

In addition to delivering news, weather and sports, Mr. Daughtry created a whimsical character, “Farmer Dave,” who dispensed folksy bits of philosophy. The “Farmer Dave” title was tongue-in-cheek, his wife said, because he knew a lot about gardening but little about farming.

However, he knew a lot about broadcasting in a career that covered several states and innumerable assignments. From that first job in Andalusia Mr. Daughtry went to Huntsville and worked his way up at other stations before moving to Nashville, Tenn. and switching to television. He was news director and anchor for WSM television and dominated the ratings there for several years.

He was press secretary for the City of Knoxville and also worked at television stations in Memphis, Tenn. and Washington, D.C.

Mr. Daughtry came to Pensacola more than 30 years ago to anchor the news at WEAR-TV and then spent several years with WALA-TV.

Along with his love for newsgathering and writing, he had a strong voice and loved to belt out songs. His beloved dogs Peaches and Pal often accompanied him on trips from his home in the Historic Seville District in Pensacola.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by three children: Bonnie Daughtry Barazza (Mike), Michael Daughtry (Sheila) and Patrick Daughtry (Lynn), all of the Auburn, Ala. area. He also leaves behind seven grandchildren: Lindsey Seal, Shannon Barazza Hlcome, Evan Barazza, Patrick Houston Daughtry Jr., Amanda Daughtry Van Ausdal, Shelby Prestridge and Benjamin Daughtry. Mr. Daughtry also was eagerly awaiting the birth of his first great-grandchild by Amanda and Don Van Ausdal.

Advertisements