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The Comedy Barn Theater® Loses Matriarch

Posted by webmaster | Posted in Comedy Barn, Comedy Barn Press Releases | Posted on 25-02-2014

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Debbie Bohanan Powers, longtime Comedy Barn performer, dies at 50

Debbie-Bohanan3PIGEON FORGE, Tenn., Feb. 25, 2014 — The Comedy Barn Theater® has lost one of its most well-known and beloved performers. Deborah Ann (Debbie) Bohanan Powers, singer, keyboard and guitar player, and member of The Comedy Barn Theater® Band for the past 19 years, died suddenly Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, from multiple blood clots in her lungs while vacationing in Florida. She was the Comedy Barn’s only female member of the band, and also worked as a straight “man” in many hillbilly comedy skits.

Bohanan Powers, of Sevierville, Tenn., 50, will be remembered by the many who knew her as a talented singer and instrument player, a good cook, and a dedicated, caring, active member of Jones Chapel Baptist Church, where she played the piano and sang in the choir. “The Comedy Barn has lost one of its most talented performers,” said David Fee, president and chief executive officer of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group. “Debbie was the eighth employee we hired and was there from the very beginning and was one of the most loved stars at The Comedy Barn. She will be missed.

“During her time at The Comedy Barn Theater Debbie performed in over 10,000 shows,” Fee said. “Fellow performers, employees, family, friends and fans are all mourning her death. She loved music and until the day she died, she was one of our star entertainers. Her beautiful voice was unmistakable. She was very grateful to all of her Comedy Barn fans and we hope that they will now share happy memories of her with us.”

Clare Lewis, general manager of The Comedy Barn said, “Debbie was everybody’s sister and cheerleader at The Comedy Barn and nobody’s birthday ever went unnoticed or a meal not coordinated. Debbie was my friend and there are no words that can express how I feel about not being able to see that person again in that environment. We will miss her greatly.”

“She was a ray of sunshine,” said Eric Lambert, comedian at The Comedy Barn and close friend. “Debbie was a wonderful, strong woman. She was a leader and a wonderful example of a Christian woman. She was busy feeding us all. She was always feeding people. She made sure no one went hungry.
“She was the queen bee, the matriarch of the show,” Lambert said. “She lived her life doing what she loved to do and she loved living on the lake. We were all family at The Comedy Barn Theater from the minute we met. The whole cast jelled so well that we knew this was going to be a long-term thing. We vacationed together and spent time together as a cast. We all loved her dearly. She was a Christian and was proud of her faith and a good example to others in deed and word.

“She was wonderful to have around.” Lambert said. “She would always cheer you up and was very supportive.”

Bohanan Powers grew up in South Knoxville and played piano at the age of 10 for Friendly Baptist Church. She graduated from Doyle High School in Knoxville in 1981.

Debbie-Bohanan1Before coming to The Comedy Barn Theater®, Bohanan was best known for performing with “Bonnie Lou and Buster” Moore (Margaret and Hubert Moore) both on their “Jim Walter Jubilee” television show and at the “Smoky Mountain Hayride” show at the Pigeon Forge Coliseum. She began performing Appalachian, country, bluegrass and gospel music on the show at age 13 and stayed with the show until she left for the Down Home Dixie Review in Gatlinburg in the early 1990s. Over the years she sang at many weddings and funerals and also worked at The Starlite Theater in Pigeon Forge, at The Carolina Opry in Myrtle Beach and in Phil Campbell’s “Hee Haw” show in Pigeon Forge before coming to The Comedy Barn Theater®. She recorded three albums and 12 cassettes including the album “Back Home In Tennessee” by Thunderhead Records.

Jim Hedrick, sr. vice president of Fee/Hedrick Family Entertainment Group and co-owner of The Comedy Barn said, “In 1980 when I first moved to Tennessee I would watch the “Bonnie Lou and Buster” show and she was a guitar picker and a great singer and I said at that point I would like to meet her someday. Years later I had the honor and pleasure to meet her and she came to work for us. She sang like an angel and now she is singing with them. She will be sorely missed.”

Bohanan Power’s hobbies included crocheting blankets and recreational boating. She loved to vacation in Key West, Fla., and spent her winters there.

Her father, Ralph Bohanan, preceded her in death. Survivors include her husband, Gary Lee Powers and his step-father, Charles Cline; her mother, Mae Bohanan; her brother, Eddie Bohanan and his wife, Marylin; her nephews, Adam Bohanan and wife, Tiffani, and Lucas Bohanan; and her great niece and nephew, Peyton and Cole Bohanan. Her mother said she was loved by many aunts, uncles and cousins, all of The Comedy Barn Theater® cast and fellow employees, and anyone who ever met her.

At her family’s request a celebration of her life will be held at The Comedy Barn Theater® on Sunday, March 2. The family will receive friends from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and the funeral will begin at 6:30 p.m., with Pastor Dan King officiating. In honor of Bohanan Powers, donations to the Jones Chapel Baptist Church for the new fellowship hall are preferred and may be sent to: Jones Chapel Baptist Church, 797 Flat Creek Road, Sevierville, Tenn., 37876.

Atchley Funeral Home, Sevierville, is handling arrangements. An online guest book can be signed at www.atchleyfuneralhome.com

The Comedy Barn Theater®, is an award winning clean family comedy variety show in the Smoky Mountains. The show features magicians, jugglers, ventriloquists, clean family comedians, live country and gospel music as well as fun barnyard animals. +++