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|50 YRS AGO, PEPPER CALLED FOR MEMPHIS HONOUR
January 23, 2016 Memphis Daily News / Elvis Express Radio
1966, 50 years ago this week, Gary Pepper, president of the Memphis based Elvis Tankers Fan Club, makes the case to the City Commission calling for the city to rename the
Mid-South Coliseum the Elvis Presley Coliseum.
It's an idea that will resurface over the years, along with other proposals to rename Memphis International Airport and the section of Bellevue Boulevard/U.S. 51 in Whitehaven that
runs by Graceland. In the early 1970s the street is renamed Elvis Presley Boulevard.
Who was Gary Pepper?, Gary had cerebral palsy, he supported himself by running his own business. He would start each day by going through all the local papers and cut out any
articles that mentioned local businesses. These businesses would then pay money to Gary for every article he'd find.
Gary then started noticing articles about a new local singer with the strange and unusual name, Elvis Presley. In one of these articles, he read that Elvis' Mother, Mrs. Presley was
keeping a scrapbook of her boy Elvis and was trying to keep as many articles as she could find, and so not only did Gary take a liking to the local singer with the strange name, he
also started providing Gladys with all the news and magazine clippings he could find.
The kindnesses of Gary soon led to a solid friendship forming between Gary and Gladys Presley, and this friendship led to the whole Presley family became close with Gary,Elvis
really took a deep friendship with his and soon went on to buy Gary, his mother and his nurse, a new house on Dolan drive, with a back gate opening onto the Graceland property
for Elvis to visit at any time.
Elvis also hired Gary's father, Sterling Pepper, to work as a gate guard at Graceland.