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Remembering Jess Duboy, one of the most recognizable faces and voices in Richmond

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RICHMOND, Va. -- Jess Duboy had one of the most recognizable faces, and voices, in Richmond. Whether spinning records or selling sedans, Duboy was a master in the art of broadcasting.

In a career that lasted for more than half a century, he worked tirelessly as a musician, a disc jockey, an author and an ad man.

Jess Duboy

Jess Duboy

Born in the middle of the Great Depression, Duboy would spend his first ten years traveling across the globe. The son of a naval officer, he lived in Guam and California. He was even at Pearl Harbor on that infamous day when the Japanese attacked. When he was 11, his family settled in Virginia Beach.

Duboy was brought up to have a strong faith, a tireless work ethic and a passion for music. And early on, he knew his place was behind the microphone. He had his first radio show when he was just 13 years old.

In the 1950s, he was the lead singer of a local rock group. They had a couple of hits, and one of them, “Woo Hoo,” has been covered countless times over the years, appearing in numerous films and advertisements.

"The Hitch-Hikers"

"The Hitch-Hikers"

And it was in advertising where Duboy truly made a name for himself. He was the first person in the United States to produce videotaped commercials.

In fact, it`s estimated that he produced and appeared in more than 20,000 televised ads -- commercials that aired not just in Richmond, but all over the country.

Always an innovator, the Duboy name became synonymous with selling cars. He even coined the words “sellathon” and “Toyotathon” -- the latter considered one of the most successful auto dealership promotional campaigns ever.

Jess Duboy in a Kimnach Ford spot.

Jess Duboy in a Kimnach Ford spot.

Duboy retired in the mid-2000s, but that didn’t last long.

Full of energy and ideas, he and his son got back in the game and formed a new ad agency, one dedicated to helping Richmond-area businesses achieve the type of success that he had.

But as devoted as he was to his clients, he never neglected his duties as a loving husband, father and grandfather.

He was head over heels about his wife, Betty, a beauty queen who had been by his side since high school.

Betty and Jess Duboy.

Betty and Jess Duboy.

And his family was inspired by him. In fact, all three of his children followed in their father`s footsteps, and work in advertising.

Like so many other good men and women, Duboy died after a hard fought battle against cancer. A devout Christian, his family knows he`s in a better place.

And while Richmond has lost a true pioneer, his legacy will long be remembered, and that voice will never be forgotten.

Duboy's funeral will be held Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Hope Church at 12445 Patterson Avenue in Richmond.

Jess Duboy

Jess Duboy