Three generations of Forsheys pay tribute to Elvis

PARKERSBURG – There’s another Elvis in the Forshey house.

This year, Devon Forshey, 6, has joined his grandfather and father, both named Jim, in performing as Elvis Presley tribute artists.

Grandfather Jim Forshey of Parkersburg started performing as Elvis in 1978, a year after “The King’s” death, said his son Jim. The elder Jim Forshey performed until about 1981, when he stopped his Elvis impersonation, only to pick it back up in the early 1990s for about a year, son Jim said.

Today, the original Elvis in the Forshey family will sing Elvis songs for special occasions, such as birthday parties and weddings.

The junior Jim Forshey of Parkersburg began his Elvis tribute career in 2004. Last year he performed in 38 shows and is on pace to reach that number this year.

His busiest times for Elvis performances are December for Christmas shows, around Elvis’ birthday on Jan. 8 and during the summer.

Forshey, 39, said he appreciated Elvis’ music while growing up but it took some persuading for him to sing as Elvis on stage.

He didn’t want people to think he was copying his father as an Elvis tribute artist.

A patient heard Forshey, a physical therapist assistant, sing an Elvis tune and told him he should sing in public.

Forshey sang as Elvis at a benefit and later decided to give regular performances a try. He hasn’t stopped singing since.

The junior Jim Forshey said his late mother, Sharon, was a huge Elvis Presley fan. His parents saw Elvis perform in the Charleston Civic Center in 1975.

Elvis Week activities are taking place this week in Memphis to mark the 36th anniversary of Presley’s death at the age of 42 on Aug. 16, 1977. Forshey wishes he could attend.

When asked to reveal his favorite Elvis song, Forshey paused and said he had many favorite songs before saying “Suspicious Minds” was his No. 1 selection.

Devon Forshey, a first-grader at Gihon Elementary School, has performed as a younger Elvis, from the 1950s, in four shows this year. His debut was in July in Parkersburg City Park.

Instead of donning an Elvis-style jumpsuit, Devon wears a sports jacket and dress shirt or Hawaiian shirt in his performances.

He doesn’t wear a wig, and gave up dyeing his hair after the first show, but tries to style his hair like Elvis.

The youngster caught the Elvis bug while listening to his father rehearse in the basement of the family’s home.

“He would come down to the basement to sing and learn,” Jim said of his son. After rehearsing with his father, Devon said he wanted to perform as Elvis on stage.

Devon said he was nervous before his first performance as Elvis but felt more at ease at the next three shows.

Devon said his favorite Elvis song is “Jailhouse Rock.”