Reba Jeanette Smith, Corbin KY, 1928. Born with a penchant for singing and acting, she was performing by the age of 4. She continued to follow her passion and her dreams through high school and college when big bands were thriving. Her voice was sweet yet sultry and she possessed an innocent sex appeal. She modeled. She won Miss Plug Horse Derby at the Kentucky State Fair in as well as winning 2nd place in the Miss Louisville and Miss Kentucky beauty pageants in 1948. Reba reveled in the attention and adulation. However it was her singing that motivated her to look beyond her life in Corbin. She changed her name to Debbie Smith and left for Nashville.
Through her own persistence she met and sang with many big band leaders in the forties and fifties. Jim Lounsbury, an up and coming disc jockey and concert promoter was visiting Nashville where Debbie was singing on a radio show. He was smitten by her looks, personality and musical talent. Jim, a pilot, had planned on renting a plane to fly back to his radio show in Chicago. As she was heading to Chicago to get some publicity photos taken, they decided to share the costs of the flight and a friendship began. A short while later they began to date and then marry in 1950.
An excerpt from Soul Free ~ The Debbie Dean Story. Click the link to the upper left to read the whole story