WOOD COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) – A gifted guitarist, songwriter and teacher was remembered in Mineola Wednesday afternoon.
The name John DeFoore Jr. strikes a chord with many East Texans and Wednesday, “June 8, 2022 be declared John DeFoore Jr. Day in the city of Mineola,” read Mineola Mayor Jayne Lankford. “And encourage all citizens to recognize John’s contribution to making our lives more musical, creative, and fulfilling.”
Friends, family, and students of John DeFoore Jr. gathered at the Mineola gazebo on Commerce Street to remember the late music legend. DeFoore passed away last August and today would have been his 76th birthday.
Owen Tiner with the city and a student of DeFoore said, “John left such an imprint on so many people in this town and really across the world. He’s left such an imprint and I wanted something to commemorate that he was here and this is where he did his business from him.
Randy Lewis Brown is a friend of DeFoore. The two met in 1992 during songwriter open mic nights and played all over Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas together.
“We did a couple CDs together, John was teaching here the whole time, we hung out at the hotel, it was just one of the coolest places to be. John has been so influential,” Lewis Brown said.
Two East Texans who’ve made it far in the music industry were also students of his. Kacey Musgraves and Miranda Lambert both attend lessons in his Beckham Hotel studio.
“How many young people, either in professional music nowadays or playing for the fun of it, which they all do, but all due to John DeFoore,” Lankford said. “We’re gonna miss that guy.”
Tiffani Watkins Kimble started taking lessons around 2015 for about two and a half years.
“I had written one song and so he had me play that, just to see where we were starting out because I came to him for songwriting,” she said. “But it turned into so much more than that so quickly. It became a friendship and John was the only person who could push me to write songs and I wouldn’t push back.”
Today was a day that allows DeFoore’s legacy to live on in Mineola for many generations to come.
“A lot of times people who kind of work in the background like that don’t really have that, aren’t shown the appreciation, especially when they’re alive,” Lewis Brown said. “We’re all busy. So I’m glad that the city decided to honor him by declaring this his day. I think it’s a great and deserved honor.”
Watkins Kimble said the proclamation means so much for future songwriters who never got the chance to know DeFoore.
“Hopefully they will be inspired to write songs and want to pitch themselves of, hey, I wonder what Mr. John would’ve thought about this,” Watkins Kimble said.
What stuck with Tiner, “The biggest legacy that John left with most people is creativity. He really wanted and challenged us all, all of his students from him to make something new, write songs to put out into the world. Somebody’s going to create something that touched you, or you’re going to create something that touched them.”
Tiner said the proclamation will be hung up in the Beckham Hotel, which DeFoore once owned and where he taught lessons.
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