Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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April 25, 2013

Longtime entertainer Fluker passes away

Performer, historian leaves legacy of friendship, service

Corsicana — Long-time Navarro County historian, musician and entertainer Bobby Fluker passed away Thursday after a brief illness.

Fluker, 75, will be remembered as a popular entertainer and well known history buff. He was inducted into the Navarro County Historical Society’s Hall of Fame during Derrick Days week in 2009.

Fluker was born in Corsicana in 1937 to Clay and Josie May Fluker, who already had two sons. His mother had her heart set on a girl, so no name was selected for a boy. She told her other two sons, Clay Jr. and Alton, to come up with a name. Clay Jr. worked at the Palace Theater as an usher, so he chose Robert for Robert Taylor. Alton was too young to work, but he loved westerns, so he opted for Gene, in honor of Gene Autry. Young Robert Gene “Bobby” Fluker was destined to work in theaters and sing from an early age.

His first job was for Sidney Miller at the Hillside Drive-In Theater. He was also the relief projectionist at the Starlight Theater. Since his father passed away the summer before he entered high school, his part-time job became a full-time, seven day per week position.

Leaving the theater business in 1959, Bobby did several brief stints at local businesses before going to work for George Baum at the Big Four Shoe Store. As the first and only president of the Corsicana Fast Draw Club, Fluker and his brother Alton performed in many Christmas parades — Bobby continued to do so after Alton’s passing in 2000.

Bobby went to work for the National Life and Accident Insurance Company in 1965, mainly because they owned the Grand Ole Opry and Fluker was a huge country music fan. After time there and at Reliable Insurance Company, Bobby retired in 1999 after 34 years in insurance.

Fluker was instrumental in getting an oil derrick erected over the site of the first oil well in Navarro County, and in bringing the Lefty Frizzell Country Music Museum to fruition, along with the statue of Frizzell in Jester Park.

For over three years, beginning in 1997, Fluker did a Saturday morning radio show on KAND with the late Roy Miller, where Bobby supplied most of the music from his record collection.

An avid old movie enthusiast, with a penchant for Westerns, Fluker and his family attended film festivals in Memphis for many years, and made trips to California. There he was able to meet most of the western stars he once saw at the Ideal, Rio and Starlight Theaters as a kid.

Bobby’s involvement with the Navarro County Historical Society began in 1969, and included two terms as president.

His service to the community will long be remembered, a frequent entertainer and performer at dozens of events, including the Corsicana Opry Band, the Freestone Jamboree, and the Big C Jamboree in Corsicana.

Bobby married Lorna Territo in 1961, and the couple had three daughters: Myrla, Suzanne and Gena. Following the passing of Lorna, Fluker married Billie Giles in 2007.

Funeral services for Fluker will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 28, 2013, at Corley Funeral Home. A visitation is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, April 27, 2013, at the funeral home.

In a 2009 story on his induction into the Hall of Fame, Fluker paid homage to his hometown roots.

“And all this time, I’ve never lived one day of my life away from Corsicana,” Fluker said. “I never wanted to live anywhere else.”

—————

Daily Sun staff writer Deanna Kirk contributed to this story. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

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