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[WATCH NOW] Ms. Faye, of Faye’s Bar-B-Que in Sylacauga, remembers her good friend Jim Nabors

SYLACAUGA, Ala. – With the passing of Sylacauga native Jim Nabors on Thursday, many in the Sylacauga area are remembering the entertainment and television icon.

“He told me every time he came back home, this was his favorite restaurant to come and eat,” said Faye Finley, owner of Faye’s Bar-B-Que.

Ms. Faye, as she is known to many in Sylacauga, recalled fond memories of Nabors Thursday afternoon.

He loved, he kissed, he talked, he sang. He was just a down-to-earth man,” she said. “And I love him for that. You could tell he was real. He was real.”

The veteran restaurant owner has been in business for more than 21 years. For the last five, Nabors would visit Ms. Faye getting his fix of good ole southern cooking — something the former entertainer could not get near his Hawaii residence.

“He never came home without stopping by Faye’s Bar-B-Que,” said Finley. “The first time he came here was about 5 years ago. We were all in the kitchen and we heard him say “Golly! I smell turnip greens cooking!” We heard that from the front door to the kitchen and I looked through the window into the dining room and I told my husband, “that’s Jim Nabors!”

Mr. Finley did not believe her at first. But, ‘shazam,’ he walked in the door.

“Ever since then, he’s been coming, visiting with me, and eating with me. He happened to bring some people from Hawaii,” she said.

Finley said Nabors had a contagious personality, always socializing, singing, and of course smiling.

“We loved Mr. Nabors,” said Finley. “Every time he came in it was a joyful thing to see him and hear him. He was just a down-to-earth man. He didn’t act like he was a celebrity or anything. He just talked to us like I’m talking to you. Just down-to-earth.”

Even though Nabors had plenty of options from which to choose, he often settled on the same order.

“He loved meatloaf. He said he wished he could bundle ’em up and take ’em back to Hawaii with him,” she said laughing. “He loved my meatloaf.”

She said he would order different items off the extensive menu — not so much to finish, but just to sample.

“He loved Faye’s Bar-B-Que…and he let me know he loved Faye’s Bar-B-Que.”

Undoubtedly, Ms. Faye loves Jim Nabors.

Michael Brannon is a former news and sports anchor from Mobile, Ala. and serves as RadioAlabama's Executive Vice President, Managing Editor & Director of Digital Projects & Strategy.

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