Singer, humanitarian Marlow Tackett dies over the weekend

By Kyle Lovern

May 12, 2014

Staff report

DORTON, Ky. - A well-known singer and humanitarian from Pike County, Marlow Tackett, died over the weekend.

Funeral services are planned this week for Tackett, a Pike County country music singer and songwriter who was long known as the “Mountain Santa Claus.” For many years, Tackett threw an annual Christmas party for needy families in the area.

He also visited nursing homes and other facilities during the holidays to bring a smile to the face of elderly patients.

Tackett, 70, died Saturday in Elizabethton, Tenn., where he had been living for a number of years.

A native of Dorton, he began holding Christmas parties for poor families in the 1970s at his Pikeville nightclub, Marlow’s Country Palace.

Tackett said it all began just before Christmas 1975, when he received a letter from a 12-year-old girl asking if he could help her and her five brothers and sisters have a good Christmas. Tackett and his band went to the girl’s home and found the children wearing tattered clothes with no electricity or running water, or presents for Christmas.

Tackett said he realized there had to be more children in need, so the next year he and his family and friends helped 340 needy families and the annual Christmas party was off and running.

Tackett apparently loved to perform and, while he never became a superstar, he remained an entertainer most of his life.

Services are tentatively set for Thursday at Pilgrim’s Prayer Old Regular Baptist Church, followed by burial at Tackett Cemetery at Dorton.

Hall & Jones Funeral Home in Virgie is in charge of arrangements.

(Information for this story came from http://www.kentucky.com)