Tharp, Charly “Chuck”

Charly “Chuck” Lee Tharp, 65, of Clovis died Friday, March 17, 2006, at Plains Regional Medical Center.

He was born Feb. 3, 1941, in Ysleta, Texas, to James W. and Willie Blanch Tharp.

He was a founding member and the original vocalist of the Fireballs, an internationally known band. He penned numerous rock ‘n’ roll hits, including “Long, Long Ponytail” and “Sweet Country Woman.” He and George Tomsco began a rich history of musical collaboration in high school, where they were dubbed the Fireballs for their flawless rendition of “Great Balls of Fire” in 1958 during a high school talent show.

He served in the Navy and the Army and completed four tours in Vietnam.

He was preceded in death by his parents, three brothers and a sister.

He is survived by his wife, Belinda “Jo An” Tharp of Clovis; three daughters, Jamie Weren (and partner, Tamara) of Tucson, Ariz., Shellie Marrero (and husband, Jason) of Alpharetta, Ga., and Christie Bower (Robert) of Phoenix; two stepdaughters, Rachel Springer (David) of Rincon, Ga., and Gina Massengill of Clovis; a stepson, Sean Massengill of Albuquerque; and a brother, Marty Tharp (Sharon) of Atlanta.

A memorial fund has been established at the High Plains Credit Union at P.O. Box 2050, Clovis, NM 88101.

Arrangements are by Steed-Todd Funeral Home.