When Deana Gregory Emmick prayed over her father’s collection of music, some amazing things happened. Her father, Damon Thomas Gregory, of Hawesville, who is very missed by all those who love him, passed away at 79, but left an absolute treasure of music behind. His music collection continues to bless his family, friends, and even those who never had the chance to meet him in person.
“God showed up in this story,” she said. “He had, we were guessing, 8,000 vinyl albums and 8,000 or more CDs. Once we started advertising the record sale, I had a woman reach out to me. She was looking for anything from one particular artist. After this artist had passed away, the lady had learned that he was her biological father. Sure enough, my dad had one CD by this artist and we were able to provide her with a little connection to her late father.”
That is just one of the miracles that occurred with Damon’s music and he is, no doubt, smiling about it in Heaven. Deana had listed the sales on social media and Dana, her sister, had listed them in her area as well (Louisville area). Dana was contacted by Aaron Rich, who is on the Southern Gospel Music Association Board of Directors and director for the research library based in Nashville, TN. Mr. Rich had said he wouldn’t be able to make it for the sale, and asked if he could schedule an appointment. He drove to Hawesville and when he met with Deana and went through the albums, decided to purchase over 200 of them.
“He goes through collections pulling what they need for their research library. A lot of the southern gospel music that my dad had was never digitized. What Mr. Rich purchased will be housed in Nashville with an accredited university so that people have access to it, and Dad’s name will be attached,” Deana explained with tears of joy.
She said before Aaron scheduled the appointment, she had gone over to better organize the gospel collection at her parents’ home in Hawesville, and prayed over them. “I prayed that they not just be discarded, and that they would end up in the hands of people who would cherish them. Mr. Rich couldn’t believe what he saw. He said, ‘I can’t believe this had been advertised before and I didn’t see it.’ I said, ‘Well, of course you didn’t. You didn’t see it until I organized this and I prayed over it.’ He said, ‘I guess God is the one who put it in front of me.’
He was there, primarily, for the vinyl. Dad had a small room in the garage for his CDs, in his music room. The top part of the wall had CDs, his personal collection, and some of his eBay business inventory. Mr. Rich said, ‘I’ve got to go in here and look around.’ He went in and said, ‘I love the way your dad put his name and address on all of his personal collection.’ I said, ‘Yes, he was very meticulous about how he packaged his eBay CDs that he was shipping to customers.
He had a system; he would get on the computer and print out a whole sheet of things that he would cut out and tape to every package.’ And before I could finish what I was saying, Mr. Rich said, ‘What was his eBay handle?’ And, I said, ‘He was CD Man.’ He said, ‘I bought from him! When you started describing his packaging I remember, he put – In God We Trust – on every package.’”
God works in mysterious ways! Aaron said he’s amassed thousands of gospel albums and Damon’s will be among those that will eventually be accessible to the public for generations to come. He said the hope with the research library is, “that when we find our permanent home, to work with the Smithsonian in helping fund the project. We’re in the middle of negotiations with 2 different universities in downtown Nashville and in that area.” Deana said some of the albums were from artists such as: The Chuck Wagon Gang, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Blackwood Brothers, and Kitty Wells.
Damon and his wife, Janice, shared 57 happy years together. Their three children, Dana, Brad and Deana, purchased the latest 45s when they were growing up, and they found out that he had saved all of them and had placed their names on them. Along with those 45s, they each have saved pieces from their dad’s collection that are special to them, and also have shared them with their own children.
“I had to have some humor,” Deana said, “so one that I took was Jerry Jordan’s Phone Call From God. I remember listening to that. I remember Dad sharing it on Sundays, or at family gatherings. He was one of 8 kids, so we used to get together every Sunday at my grandmother’s house. Dad was always trying to get us to listen to something funny or songs that told a story. Those are the things I was drawn to that reminded me of happy times growing up.”
Damon moved his family from Breckinridge to Hancock County in 1975 when the Houchens opened in Lewisport, and managed the store for a number of years. He owned Gambles Hardware Store and the Country Boy Restaurant. He worked for Commonwealth Aluminum, Willamette and Domtar before retiring in April of 2020. He developed his own pattern and built high-quality swings and picnic tables in the workshop behind his home in Hawesville, and also turned his music collecting hobby into a successful business on eBay. He has been greatly missed since his passing on November 6th, 2021, but the music he enjoyed will live on through his children, grandchildren, and many others.
They are having a 4th sale during the 2023 Hwy 60 Yard Sale, and will be open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, October 5th-7th, beginning at 8 a.m. at 645 Main Street in Hawesville. “There is still some of every genre,” Deana said. “We have vinyl, CDs – both from Dad’s personal collection as well his eBay inventory which are new CDs, some cassettes and 8 Tracks. We have country, gospel, a little bit of bluegrass, comedy, Christmas, pop, rock, jazz, easy listening, symphony, orchestra, waltz, polka, jazz, etc.”