Delight, Arkansas remembers their 'Rhinestone Cowboy'

Glen Campbell's hometown remembers him fondly

DELIGHT, ARK. (KTHV) -- A music legend, the “Rhinestone Cowboy” singer and Arkansas native, Glen Campbell, is being remembered across the world and in Arkansas where he was born and raised. He died Tuesday afternoon after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Born and raised in Delight, Arkansas, a population of less than 300, Glen Campbell left his mark in the music world, but before that, he was just a country boy with a guitar.

"This is the man that actually put Delight on the map," said Randy Abbott of Delight.

Campbell was a small town country boy who went on to win six Grammy awards and achieve every milestone a musician can reach. Inside the Delight library, librarian Carrie Tidwell calls it a sign from above that the day before Glen Campbell took his final breath, she felt inclined to paint a rock with his name on it to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s.

"It just says Delight, Arkansas home of Glen Campbell, has a guitar and the purple ribbon for Alzheimer’s," said Tidwell who plans to send the rock to California to see how long it will take to get back to Delight.

She hopes this mission will raise awareness of the disease. Some of Glen Campbell's earliest stories can be told by his cousin Harvey Edge.

“I never called Glen, Glen. His nickname was Harry. We always called him Harry,” said Edge.

He told us the story of rags to riches.

"We was poor," said Edge.

Maybe so, but talent is one thing the family has never lacked.

"All of our family was musically inclined," said Edge.

One of 12 children of a sharecropper, Glen Campbell first picked up a guitar at age four and his father soon bought him his first guitar for $5. The stories don’t stop there.

"I wasn’t about 12, 13, he wanted a tattoo and bless his heart he'll go to the grave with it too so I gave him a tattoo. Got me some old sewing needles," said Edge who gave Campbell a tattoo just like his at a young age.

Years later the story of that tattoo came up.

“I said ‘Glen, why don’t you get that thing covered up?’ He said ‘I’m going to keep that all the time, it will remind me of you.’ So that little dagger, now his daughter went and had one put on here," said Edge.

He saw Glen nearly two years ago after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2011.

“I played an old album that he did probably 35, 40 years ago and has sitting there in that chair and I played it and I said ‘you know who that is?’ ‘No,’ he said. I said ‘that’s you.’ He said ‘that’s me? I was pretty good wasn’t I?’” Edge recalled.

They say with Alzheimer’s, you don't lose the person once, but twice. But for this small town, they have a lasting legacy.

"We are trying to get a museum, a small one here," said Abbott.

For folks like Harvey Edge, it's those memories that can't be erased.

"Glen grew up hard just like everybody in this part of the country did. Everybody was sharecroppers, nobody had any money, but he never forgot what he was," said Edge.

After his diagnosis, Glen Campbell’s family said he felt an urgency to get in the studio one final time. Two months ago his farewell album was released. It’s titled “Adios.”

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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