The death of Jim Nabors

The passing of Jim Nabors Thursday in Honolulu at age 87 was very sad news for our state and the nation.

The star who first made his mark as country bumpkin Gomer Pyle on “The Andy Griffith Show” in the early 1960s proved to be an enduring performer — for over five decades he graced television screens, Las Vegas showrooms and concert halls across the country.

He was also well known for opening the Indianapolis 500 for years by singing “Back Home Again in Indiana.”

While Nabors broke onto the national stage playing Gomer in the Griffith show and then on his own program, “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C,” his singing ability cemented his staying power. His rich baritone was comfortable singing everything from country ballads to opera. We particularly remember a stunning performance of “The Impossible Dream” from “Man of La Mancha” as a personal favorite.

His singing and comedic timing made him a natural guest for “The Carol Burnett Show” and he also went on to host his own variety show, “The Jim Nabors Show.”

He appeared in a series of movies with Burt Reynolds in the 1980s.

In addition to his home in Honolulu, Nabors also had ties to Maui. Tax records showed Thursday that the Jim Nabors Trust still owns 5 acres in Hana.

We met him in person at Christmastime 2000 when he hosted a holiday show at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center that this newspaper was co-sponsoring.

In 2013, Nabors married his longtime partner, Stan Cadwallader. Cadwallader survives Nabors on Oahu.

It is hard to think of Jim Nabors and not break into a smile. He was a gifted comedian and vocalist. He certainly gave every appearance of being a very nice person, too.

Rest in peace, Jim.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.