Donald Choate

Born in Nashville, TN on May 30, 1933

Departed on September 12, 2011 and resided in Nashville, TN

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CHOATE, Donald William "Don Wayne" – age 78 of Nashville passed away surrounded by his family at home on September 12, 2011. Don Wayne was a member of The Song Writer Hall of Fame. One of his most famous songs was "Country Bumpkin" which was song of the year from 1974 through 1975. In his biography he wrote "Some of the happiest times of my childhood were spent listening to country music on the radio or playing records on an old wind-up Victrola. Some of my favorite singers then were Eddie Arnold, Ernest Tubb, and Roy Acuff. One summer day when I was about eleven years old, I was on my front porch pretending to play an old guitar someone had given me. The lady next door called me over and asked me if I knew "Rainbow at Midnight" by Ernest Tubb. I said yes, but I don't know if I can remember all the words. She went in the house and came out with an Ernest Tubb Song Folio, and we sat there having a great time singing a lot of those old Ernest Tubb hits. I suppose that was the beginning of my dream of someday doing something in country music. I think 'Country Bumpkin' is by far my best song and it will always be special cause "it" came along and picked me up at a very low point in my songwriting career. I love all my songs but I also feel a special affection for those recorded by the heroes I idolized as a youngster, among those are 'Don't Water Down the Bad News' by Ernest Tubb, 'What in Her World Did I Do' by Eddy Arnold and 'MacArthurs Hand' by Tex Ritter". Survived by his loving devoted wife of 56 years, Emily Sue Bennett Choate; children, Donna Choate Howell and Dwayne Choate Fiancé Donna Davis; grandchildren, Gregory Collins Fiancé Shannon Capps, Crystal Choate Kelly Max, Lani Choate and Emmie Choate; great-grandchildren, Connor Kelly, Cassie Kelly, Colin Kelly, Ryan Collins and Luke Collins. A Life Celebration will be held 2:30pm Thursday at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home with burial to follow at Harpeth Hills Memory Gardens. Visitation will be 4:00pm – 8:00pm Wednesday at HARPETH HILLS FUNERAL HOME, 9090 Hwy 100, Nashville, TN 615-646-9292.

16 Comments to Donald Choate

  1. Susan Caine
    September 13, 2011 12:00 am

    Uncle Don, I will always remember your soft spoken southern drawl and your laughter. I’ll never forget the family reunion when you sang “Country Bumpkin” for us before it was ever heard on the radio! Even though you and Emily are my great uncle and aunt, I always felt closer to you than that. You were a kind and wonderful person and Dan and I will truly miss you until we meet again. Rest in Peace.

  2. Lynn Gray
    September 13, 2011 12:00 am

    To Don’s family – thank you for sharing him and his great talent with all of us. There couldn’t be a nicer person in the music industry. God give you peace at this time.

  3. Carol Warren
    September 13, 2011 12:00 am

    Don was the finest man I have ever known and someone who I have been blessed to know. I admired Don for his songwriting ability but I admired him most for what a wonderful man he was. He has left a lasting impression on my life and I am better for knowing him. I love him and Emily with all my heart.

  4. Stephanie Farmer
    September 14, 2011 12:00 am

    Aunt Limly Loo,
    I love you very much and i know this loss is a big one. You and Don were always my perfect love story. One only needed to be around the two of you for a short time to see the love and devotion between you. I always said when I found someone like that I would know it was forever. There is no doubt that he was a very talented man but my memories will always be the sweet southern gentleman who had one of the kindest hearts. Don’s calm manner and sincere voice could make any situation better. Emily, Dwayne and Donna, your are in my prayers and I love you all.

  5. Rick Pilgreen
    September 14, 2011 12:00 am

    One of the finest men,inside or out of country music, that I have ever known. While I’ve not seen Don in a good 25 years,I was privileged to have known him. My sincere condolences.

  6. Kathy Smith
    September 14, 2011 12:00 am

    Uncle Don was soft spoken and I never ever heard him say an unkind word about any person, no matter how much I ranted! He would just smile that gentle smile and say “Oh no now he/she is a good one”. I will miss that gentle, sweet man and his love of music, but I know he is singing “She Talked a Lot About Texas” my favorite for Jesus right now.

  7. Sandra Bennett
    September 14, 2011 12:00 am

    I worked with Mr. Choates daughter, Donna, and when I found out her dad had written “Country Bumpkin” and “Saginaw Michigan”, I was thrilled. Everytime I heard one of these on the radio on my desk, I would call Donna and then lay the phone down next to the radio so she could listen to it with me.
    Donna would tell her dad and one year, as a surprise for my birthday, he sent me two cassettes of him singing these songs and others he had written. That was the one of the nicest and most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received.
    The world has lost not only a talented song writer but a kind and sweet man. I know he’ll be missed.
    My deepest condolences to all of his family.

  8. Joe Cruz
    September 14, 2011 12:00 am

    To Emily and family:
    We will miss Don so much. We love you all and wish we could do something to help ease your pain. Our prayers are with you.

  9. Peggy Fisher
    September 14, 2011 12:00 am

    Just want you to know that I am praying for you and thinking about you and family today. I remember Don entertaining at our class reunion, and it was so special. I do know that he was a blessed man to be married to you, Emily, for 56 years! We will pray for peace as you face this difficult time.
    Peggy & Wayne Fisher & Family

  10. Vera Lakey
    September 14, 2011 12:00 am

    Emily, please accept my deepest condolences. As you know, I was blessed to have been one of the Contry Bumpkin songwriters many years ago and Don was a wonderful friend and mentor during those days. His kindness to me and my daughter Penny meant more than he ever knew. We will certainly miss him.

  11. Anne Whitehead Archer
    September 14, 2011 12:00 am

    I never met Mr. Choate but am sorry that I did not. I am a ‘died in the wool’ country fan. One of my BsIL played w/ ET for 12 years, my best friend of 50+ yrs is married to a singer/songwriter and I baby sat Willie Nelson’s first 3 children in 1960-61; so I know a good bit about Country music, but never knew who wrote; ‘Country Bumpkin’ or ‘Saginaw Michigan’ although they are two of my favorites.
    I think that the fact that he stayed married to the same woman for 50+ years speaks volumes about the kind of man he was and I want to send Prayers and condolences out to his wife and all his family.
    May the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, wrap his loving arms around each of you and get you through this trying time. God Bless each of you is my prayer.

  12. Marty Martel
    September 14, 2011 12:00 am

    Emily and Family,

    My heart goes out to each of you as you grieve for the loss of Don. He was a special human being, and you can be sure that he will be missed by all of us who were honored to have him as a friend. He was a special person to me when I first started my career and I shall always remember how he treated me like I was going to be the next superstar in country music. He never forgot me when we had chances to meet at different functions.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers at this time. May God Bless and Keep You.

    Marty Martel
    A Friend

  13. Claude and Linda Smith
    September 14, 2011 12:00 am

    Don was the best Uncle in the world, and we are going to miss him dearly. He was a wonderful, kind gentleman, and a fine example to all of us Smith boys. We all looked up to him. I know now he is picking that guitar in heaven…

  14. Lou Anne Williams
    September 14, 2011 12:00 am

    Dear Emily and family,

    I was so saddened by the loss of such a great man and amazing songwriter and poet. His kindness, gentleness, sweet smile and wonderful voice will be missed! “The Ridge” will certainly never be the same without him.

    You are all in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you and give you solace with all the love, laughter and good memories you shared.

  15. Ruth & Charlotte Watts
    September 15, 2011 12:00 am

    When there are no words to soften the pain May your spirit be touched by the love that surrounds you and slowly May the healing begin.

  16. Monte Harding
    September 22, 2011 12:00 am

    Thanks for sharing your great talent with us all. We loved all your songs, my favorite was and is Country Bumpkin.