Country music star Tony Douglas is presented the “Key to the City” in commemoration of his 80th birthday, April 12. Mayor Randy Daniel read a proclamation declaring Saturday, Tony Douglas Day, in Athens.

Athens’ hometown country star is now an octogenarian.

Tony Douglas, celebrating his 80th birthday, was honored Friday at Athens City Hall with a proclamation declaring Saturday, April 18, Tony Douglas Day. Mayor Randy Daniel also presented Douglas with the “key to the city.”

“Thank you, Athens, for touching my life,” Douglas said.

Daniel said Athens’ best known country singer is proud to be an Athenian.

“In 1957 he was offered a three-year contract to perform every Saturday night on the Grand Old Opry but rather than move to Nashville, he turned it down,” Daniel said.

Although he calls Athens home, Douglas is no stranger to country fans across Texas. For more than 30 years he and his band the Shrimpers toured, singing songs like his 1962 hit “His and Hers” and the 1970 classic, “Thank You For Touching My Life.”

Douglas said he couldn’t have made it without his wife, Mim. The Douglases celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary March 6.

“He’s been blessed with good health,” Mim said. “We both have.

Douglas still hits the stage for concerts here and there, but today he’s also known as the man who runs the Papa T’s fruit and vegetable stand on State Highway 19 south. When he opened Papa T’s in 1993, it was like he had come full circle from his early days on a farm in Martins Mill.

Daniel said when candidates for the Athens Economic Development Corporation president came to Athens, one asked to see the house where Tony Douglas lives.

Douglas said country fans who come to Athens looking for a sprawling ranch or multi-room mansion will be disappointed.

“I don’t have a mansion here, but I’ve got mansion waiting up yonder,” Douglas said.

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